By Craig Rogan, Investors Community Bank

Craig Rogan, Investors Community BankAs the 2021 harvest season comes to an end, a new beginning is in the horizon. As we reflect on the second year of increased feed inventory throughout most of the state for dairy farmers, our producers may be facing a decision on how to best capitalize on excess feed inventory. The farmer, with the help of his team of advisors (nutritionist, agronomist, vet, consultant, banker), may consider the following options:

Should excess feed be sold as another revenue stream?

Does the farmer consider alternative crops such as oats to sell and harvest the straw to sell or keep for their own use?

Can the herd be expanded in existing facilities to increase milk production with more animals on feed?

If an expansion is looked at, be sure to consider whether it will affect a quota with the milk plant or if the milk plant will even take the additional milk.

Does the increase in feed inventory provide an opportunity to reduce cropping costs in 2022?

Feed and cropping expenses increased throughout 2021 and appear to be on an upward trend into 2022. Does the excess feed inventory provide opportunity to save on fertilizer cost, for example, knowing they can reduce spread on the field despite a potential negative effect on 2022 yield?

The importance of making a robust plan with the help of advisors will be a key to success for our farms in 2022. 

As bankers, we can help our customers navigate through making these decisions by providing financial analysis help in working through various scenarios and the impact each has on the client’s cost of production.

As feed and fertilizer cost increase heading into 2022, maximizing this excess feed inventory will be the key to 2022 cash profitability. One notable aspect that can be completed now to assist in mitigating continued rising costs is fall tillage. Future fuel costs are expected to be higher than today and it could be prudent to do tillage along with manure application in the fall. Optimum 2021 fall weather conditions are ideal for completing tillage. By completing fall tillage this will allow for less work, stress and timely planting in 2022. Not completing fall tillage will be a missed opportunity. Communication is the key in any relationship. Continue to work with your customers to be proactive in their planning for the upcoming year.

Craig Rogan is vice president, ag banking officer with Investors Community Bank in Stevens Point and serves on the WBA Agricultural Bankers Section Board of Directors.

By Daryll J. Lund

With the Building Our Leaders of Tomorrow (BOLT) Winter Leadership Summit just days away on November 4, it’s a good time to share more about what WBA’s BOLT section has to offer. We now have 507 BOLT members from 137 banks out of 210 WBA-member banks. That works out to about 65% of the member banks having at least one BOLT member. There is no cost to the bank to join — in fact, many banks have multiple individuals from their organization as BOLT members. The section is popular in part because of the access to the biannual Leadership Summits, and because of the year-round connections and opportunities it provides.

As existing bank leaders approach retirement, BOLT can provide the networking and leadership skills to prepare your next leaders faster. Succession planning is key to the long-term success of any bank. Through BOLT, bankers are exposed to education that touches on every role in community banking and helps them to round out their skills. After events, attendees often speak of the spark that was ignited in them. They bring back new ideas and renewed motivation to their banks.

Networking opportunities are another big draw of the BOLT section. The ability to connect with peers and converse about important topics provides value that can’t be found in call reports. Being a part of the BOLT community is a unique benchmarking opportunity that enables bankers to better understand the market and where their peers are. Members are also able to support each other through shared successes and challenges.

Becoming a strong advocate is an important attribute for bank leaders, both in their communities and in their civic engagement. The BOLT section is integral in planning and promoting WBA’s annual Power of Community Week, during which all members are encouraged to engage in community service activities. BOLT members can also participate in the annual WBA Capitol Day and Washington Summits, which include training and materials to develop effective advocacy skills.

With all that BOLT members bring back to their banks, it’s easy to make the case for participation. Also, in today’s tight labor market, it is essential that banks invest in their people. Feeling valued and having a bright career path are key factors in employees’ decisions to join or stay with an employer. BOLT is a WBA program that stands ready to partner with our members on helping banks to develop their most important asset — their people.

The AbbyBank Foundation, Inc. is pleased to announce the donation of $100,000 to the Children’s Imaginarium to fund an exhibit in their “Farm to Fork” gallery.

The Children’s Imaginarium will be part of the downtown Wausau redevelopment and will feature 10,000 square feet of space filled with highly interactive hands-on exhibits. All exhibits will be rooted in STEM and will be a place for all children and families to spend time together, interacting, learning, and playing. During their capital campaign, AbbyBank earmarked $100,000 for the exhibit. Today, the Imaginarium has raised 90% of the funds.

The AbbyBank Foundation was formed in 1986 as a private charitable foundation of AbbyBank, which has contributed over $1,462,300 to the foundation. Since 1986, the foundation has made donations to Abbotsford, Appleton, Gresham, Medford, Shawano, Wausau, Weston, and neighboring area organizations totaling over $1,034,267.37.

For more information regarding AbbyBank and its charitable foundation, visit their website at www.abbybank.com, call 715-223-2345 or stop at one of our locations in Abbotsford, Appleton, Gresham, Medford, Shawano, Wausau, or Weston locations.

Featured image left to right: Craig Stuedemann – President and CEO, AbbyBank, Hillary Strebe – Executive Assistant, AbbyBank Foundation, Maggie Gordon – President, Children’s Imaginarium, Jenelle Thompson – Wausau AbbyBank Branch Manager, Tammy Szekeress – Vice President, Children’s Imaginarium, and Ann Werth – Board Member, Children’s Imaginarium.

Triangle Background

Dan Peterson

By Daniel J. Peterson, president and CEO of The Stephenson National Bank & Trust

We typically do not raise issues occurring in Washington with the public, but because the people in our community are important to us, we want to inform our neighbors of proposed legislation that could significantly impact millions of families and small businesses.

There is currently proposed legislation that, if enacted, would require all financial institutions to report to the IRS the gross financial inflows and outflows of every business and personal customer account above $10,000. The proposal would use banks as a third-party information source to find and report taxpayers’ income.

As a bank, The Stephenson National Bank & Trust strongly believes in protecting our customers’ private financial information. We only collect personal, financial data for the purpose of serving consumers and businesses – and we do our utmost to safeguard their money and their privacy. The proposal would require financial institutions to transfer a large amount of personal data to the IRS, significantly more data than has been shared with the IRS before. The IRS is already a common target for cyberattacks (approximately 1.4 billion attacks annually) due to the amount of personal data currently in its control. Therefore, adding a new set of sensitive consumer data puts the privacy and financial data of millions of Americans at greater risk.

We felt it was important to share this information with the public so each individual can determine whether to take action. If a person would like to express their opinion, they may contact their member of Congress.

Triangle Background

Scott Dienes has joined Associated Bank as senior vice president & head of equipment finance and leasing. He is responsible for collaborating with internal and external partners to build this new business vertical with the bank. In addition, he is responsible for driving the equipment finance and leasing strategy and team that aligns with the bank’s growth goals by originating and structuring equipment loans and leases that provide significant value to existing and new clients.

Dienes brings more than 25 years of industry experience to Associated Bank. Previously, he held various leadership positions with Wells Fargo for nine years, along with GE Capital for 13 years.

Dienes holds a bachelor’s degree in finance from the Leeds School of Business at the University of Colorado.

He is located at 525 W. Monroe in Chicago.

Rose Oswald PoelsBy Rose Oswald Poels

Each year, I’m humbled by the work of bankers as leaders in our community. It is my honor to celebrate their achievements and commend them in their services not only as industry leaders but through their commitments to the banking industry and Wisconsin communities.

I am pleased to announce that the Wisconsin Bankers Association is now accepting nominations for the 2021 Banker of the Year Award. Annually, this award recognizes someone who has made an outstanding effort in service to their bank, to their community, and to the banking profession.

To qualify, nominees must be an employee of a Wisconsin bank and a member of the WBA. Additionally, the individual should be a bank president/CEO, or have held this role in the recent past. Nominations may be submitted by any person who is able to describe the banker’s civic and professional accomplishments. The award will be presented during the WBA Bank Executives Conference on February 10, 2022 in the Wisconsin Dells. The conference is the largest banking event in Wisconsin and will take place February 9–11, 2022.

If you know anyone who qualifies, I encourage you to download a nomination form to recognize their efforts in their banks and communities. Year after year, we are fortunate to receive nominations for many qualified individuals. If you have nominated someone in the past who was not selected, please do not hesitate to re-submit your nomination. The form must be returned by December 10, 2021.

The stories we hear about the positive work bankers are doing around our state inspire all of us in the industry. I look forward to learning more about the many ways the nominees are making an impact and to recognizing an outstanding individual at the Bank Executives Conference in February.

Triangle Background

Polly Tomczak, eBanking consumer specialist at the South Main Office, celebrated 25 years of service to National Exchange Bank & Trust on September 30, 2021. In her role, Tomczak helps answer questions regarding consumer electronic banking, monitors fraud and serves as support for a variety of areas of the bank.

Tomczak grew up in Bloomer, Wisconsin, where she attended Bloomer High School. She currently resides in Fond du Lac.

National Exchange Bank & Trust is an independent bank with convenient locations throughout Southeastern Wisconsin. For more information, visit the bank’s website at nebat.com.

Julie Roth, vice president – lending at the bank’s Campbellsport office, celebrated 30 years of service with National Exchange Bank & Trust on September 30, 2021.

Roth manages mortgage and consumer lending, and brought with her more than 10 years of banking experience when joining NEBAT.

Roth and her family live in her hometown of Campbellsport where she attended Campbellsport High School. She is active in the community as a part of the Fond du Lac Area YScreen, a program offering emotional health screening for youth, the Campbellsport Chamber of Commerce and the advisory board for St. Matthew’s School.

National Exchange Bank & Trust is an independent bank with convenient locations throughout Southeastern Wisconsin. For more information, visit the bank’s website at nebat.com.

A Graduate Profile of Tionne Riley, Bank Five Nine
By Hannah Flanders

Tionne Riley leads life with ambition for anything she sets her mind to. A former customer service representative at a local grocery store, Riley was ready for a change. When her stepmother gave her a Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development flyer for BankWork$, it was meant to be.

Riley graduated from Primavera Online High School with a passion for math, networking, and finances but wasn’t entirely sure where her path would take her. However, her dedication and persistence allowed her to develop even more skills, such as customer service and cash handling, that would make her the ideal candidate for the BankWork$ program and ultimately a career in retail banking.

After completing two interviews and allowing program directors to get to know her, she was accepted to participate in the eight-week program which covered topics ranging from customer relationships and the fundamentals of finances to preparing for employment. Riley described the program as “extremely hands–on” and the small class sizes allowed for one-on-one learning within a team-oriented environment.

“I was looking for a career rather than a job” said Riley, who graduated from BankWork$ in June 2021. After the graduation ceremony, a hiring event is held for banks to connect with qualified talent. “We have been incredibly impressed with the program, its leaders, its instructors, and of course, the students!” said Ann Knutson, senior vice president, human resources director at Bank Five Nine. At this event, Riley was recruited by Bank Five Nine’s Brookfield branch as a universal banker. With her interests in finance and service to her community, she was a wonderful fit for their team.

“Tionne has been a great addition to the team,” said Bank Five Nine branch manager Michelle Kurth. “I feel the BankWork$ program has allowed her to adapt very quickly to her surroundings, which allows her to accurately process her transactions, assist our customers in a professional convenient manner, and even assist her peers!”

“Bank Five Nine has been involved with the BankWork$ program since its inception in 2018,” told Knutson. Alongside fellow advisory committee members from around the U.S., Knutson has been able to offer guidance and input into the program and offerings at BankWork$ to help create graduates that are ready to succeed at any bank.

Riley spoke of both BankWork$ and Bank Five Nine with pride, “Everybody here wants to see you win.” She has gained mentors throughout the industry, even in a short time, and has enjoyed working with like-minded, focused individuals who encourage her to consider the possibilities of her future in banking.

Riley perfectly exemplifies quality talent that needed the right opportunity, as offered by BankWork$ and Bank Five Nine, to help turn their interests into something more. “Completing the BankWork$ program really gave [Tionne] a sense of pride and accomplishment in a work environment that maybe she would not have otherwise explored or realized she would be successful in,” said Kurth. For banks looking to recruit talented, young individuals to join their organizations or even those looking into connecting with BankWork$, Riley offered some words of advice from her experience in completing the interview process.

“My advice for banks would be to make sure the people you hire are dedicated,” she said. “This job is not for everyone, and we are changing people’s lives, make sure you have a team to execute the goals of the industry.”

Soldiers serving overseas and Wisconsin’s veterans in need of assistance will benefit from a military care donation drive hosted by Peoples State Bank’s ten retail locations in central, northern, and southeastern Wisconsin. The donation drive runs through Veterans Day, November 11.

The collection serves as a way for everyone to honor veterans and active military for their service. The public is encouraged to participate by dropping off items in donation bins located at all central, northern, and southeastern Wisconsin Peoples State Bank branches. Donation items needed include non-perishable food items, batteries, blankets, stamps, and toiletries. Donations are given to the Rhinelander Military Support Group, which sends them to soldiers overseas and to agencies serving veterans in Wisconsin.

“Peoples is again proud to collect donations to support Wisconsin’s active military service personnel and veterans,” said President and CEO Scott Cattanach. “We often take for granted their sacrifice—but enjoy our country’s freedoms and security.”

“I know firsthand how incredibly uplifting these packages can be, having received one from the Rhinelander Military Support Group while I served in Iraq,” said Craig Lau, northern market president of Peoples State Bank. “This is one small way that we can show our veterans and active military members that we appreciate everything that they do or have done for our country.”
A full list of needed items can be found on the Peoples State Bank website at www.bankpeoples.com, or at each location.