Triangle Background

Community State Bank kicked off their 4th season of #Gift2Giving with a donation to Cops N’ Kids Reading Center in Racine. Left to Right: Carrie Hall (CSB), Julia Witherspoon (Founder of Cops N’ Kids), Shanandoor Kanter (CSB), Josh Audenby (CSB), Neil Buchanan (CSB), Also pictured are students and staff of Cops N’ Kids.

Community State Bank (CSB) recently began the 4th season of their employee driven donation campaign #Gift2Giving. In October each CSB employee was presented with $100 to donate back into the communities of Racine, Kenosha, and Walworth counties.

CSB is pleased to announce that all 87 employees are participating in this year’s program. Now, until the end of the year, CSB team members will be delivering their donations to non-profit organizations throughout Southeast Wisconsin.

“The #Gift2Giving campaign has had a remarkable impact on our staff and communities,” said CSB president and CEO, Scott Huedepohl. “It’s become a part of our culture and we look forward to it every year. We’re honored to be bringing it back for it’s fourth season.”

CSB employees were encouraged to work together and combine their #Gift2Giving funds to create a larger impact with their donations. In addition, employees were also given the opportunity to make a personal donation, which were also matched by CSB dollar for dollar. Over $10,000 in campaign funds are being distributed among 12 nonprofit organizations.

“Southeast Wisconsin is filled with unique non-profit organizations that make a tremendous difference to our community,” explained marketing communications coordinator, Eloissa Heigl. “#Gift2Giving provides our staff with the opportunity to thank these great organizations for what they do, while also providing a platform to share their story and hopefully inspire others to give back too.”

Community State Bank will be documenting a majority of the donations through videos, podcasts, photos and journal entries. The first donation to Cops N’ Kids Reading Center in Racine has already been posted to the #Gift2Giving blog.

For more information about #Gift2Giving or to read the #Gift2Giving blog visit CSB.bank/Gift2Giving or follow along on social media using #Gift2Giving.

The Wisconsin Bankers Association Advocacy Officer list just crested 100, and we are looking for 25 additional banks to designate an Advocacy Officer by the end of the year. The Advocacy Officer program is a leadership opportunity to coordinate regulatory, legislative, and community advocacy efforts for the bank by working with WBA. Advocacy Officers work with other bankers, WBA staff, state, local, and federal levels of government, and other state or national trade groups.

A major event for Advocacy Officers will be the upcoming WBA Capitol Day in Madison on January 18, 2022. Participants will receive training and support to meet with their elected officials in the State Capitol and share their stories about how legislative issues impact their professions and their communities. While this is an important opportunity for Advocacy Officers, you do not need to be an Advocacy Officer to participate in WBA Capitol Day.

If your bank has not yet designated an Advocacy Officer, consider someone who has an interest in public policy, a strong understanding of the banking industry (compliance, credit, external relations, etc.), the ability to speak for the bank on matters of regulatory or public policy, and a fairly flexible schedule that is at their own discretion.

More advocacy officer voices speaking together as one to advance WBA’s legislative agenda can make a meaningful impact on very important issues like credit union expansion of powers and interchange fee prohibition.

Thank you to the banks that have already signed up to participate in the Advocacy Officer program:

American Bank of Beaver Dam
American National Bank – Fox Cities
Associated Bank
Badger Bank
Bank Five Nine
Bank of Lake Mills
Bank of Luxemburg
Bank of Mauston
Bank of Milton
Bank of Prairie du Sac
Bank of Sun Prairie
Bank of Wisconsin Dells
Bankers’ Bank
Baraboo State Bank
BLC Community Bank
Bluff View Bank
BMO Harris Central National Association
Bristol Morgan Bank
Capitol Bank
Charter Bank
Citizens Bank
Citizens First Bank
Citizens State Bank
Citizens State Bank of La Crosse
Citizens State Bank of Loyal
Commerce State Bank
Community Bank of Cameron
Community First Bank
Community State Bank
Cornerstone Community Bank
Dairy State Bank
Denmark State Bank
East Wisconsin Savings Bank
Farmers & Merchants Bank of Kendall
Farmers & Merchants State Bank
First Business Bank
First Citizens State Bank
First Community Bank Milton
First Federal Bank of Wisconsin
First Midwest Bank
First National Community Bank
First State Bank
Flagstar Bank, FSB
Fortifi Bank
Forward Bank
GreenLeaf Bank
Greenwoods State Bank
Horicon Bank
Hustisford State Bank
Incrediblebank
Independence State Bank
Intercity State Bank
Investors Community Bank
Ixonia Bank
John Deere Financial, F.S.B.
Johnson Bank
JPMorgan Chase Bank
Ladysmith Federal Savings and Loan Association
Laona State Bank
mBank
MidWestOne Bank
Monona Bank
Mound City Bank
National Exchange Bank and Trust
Nicolet National Bank
North Shore Bank
Northwestern Bank
Oak Bank
Old National Bank
One Community Bank
Oostburg State Bank
Park Bank
Partners Bank of Wisconsin
Peoples State Bank
PNC Bank
Premier Community Bank
PyraMax Bank, FSB
Quad City Bank and Trust
River Falls State Bank
Royal Bank
SENB Bank
Settlers Bank
Spring Bank
State Bank Financial
State Bank of Chilton
State Bank of Cross Plains
The Bank of Brodhead
The Bank of New Glarus
The Equitable Bank, S.S.B.
The Farmers State Bank of Waupaca
The Huntington National Bank
The International Bank of Amherst
The Park Bank
The Peoples Community Bank
The Pineries Bank
The Port Washington State Bank
The Stephenson National Bank and Trust
Tomahawk Community Bank
Town Bank
U.S. Bank National Association
Unity Bank
Waldo State Bank
Waukesha State Bank
Wells Fargo Bank
Westbury Bank
Wisconsin Bank & Trust
Wolf River Community Bank
WoodTrust Bank

Laura Deuso, Medford branch manager of Prevail Bank (left), presents Rachel Stilwell, prevention services director (right) of Indianhead Community Action Agency, a check for $500 to support the operations of a new refrigerated mobile food pantry truck.

A donation of $500 was provided to the Indianhead Community Action Agency as part of Prevail Bank’s Charitable Contribution program. The donation will purchase boxes and bags for a new refrigerated mobile food pantry truck that will deliver food to those who live in smaller, rural communities throughout three Wisconsin counties to increase access to nutritious food, in addition to providing referrals to other services that will help increase equity for these individuals and families.

“We and our clients really appreciate Prevail Bank’s generosity,” said Rachel Stilwell, prevention services director. “Our mobile food pantry is a service that is especially appreciated by those individuals and families who lack transportation and would otherwise go hungry.”

Laura Deuso, Prevail Bank branch manager – Medford, shared, “Prevail Bank is proud to support the mobile food pantry that will deliver food to people in Taylor, Rusk, and Washburn counties. We’re committed to supporting those who are less fortunate, especially when it comes to finances and hunger.”

Indianhead Community Action Agency’s mission is to assist individuals in achieving self-sufficiency by providing the resources, education, and services necessary to develop healthy families, sustainable communities, and strong local businesses.

Prevail Bank’s goal is to pursue what’s possible within its local communities. Passionate about the advancement of community based projects and supporting local organization growth, Prevail Bank is a community bank that is continuously working to support the communities it serves.

Prevail Bank’s Charitable Contributions program is available for local non-profit organizations that help local people in need, especially those with low-to-moderate incomes; stimulate communities financially; and/or enhances the standard of living of those less fortunate. If your organization is interested in applying for funds for a major initiative in your community, go to: Prevail.bank/resources/community

LEAD360_Banner

Rose Oswald Poels (left) awards Dena Hineline (center) and Sue Krause (right) with prestigious awards.

On Wednesday morning, fourteen Wisconsin bankers and ten banks were honored by the Wisconsin Bankers Foundation (WBF) for their efforts in promoting financial literacy to Wisconsin’s consumers. WBF is the nonprofit arm of the Wisconsin Bankers Association (WBA) whose mission is to assist bankers in promoting financial literacy and financial responsibility to the public and to broaden consumer empowerment in the financial services industry through research, education, grants, and scholarships.

Sue Krause, Fox Valley Savings Bank, was awarded the prestigious Financial Literacy Banker of the Year Award and Dena Hineline, Bank of Sun Prairie, was honored with the Financial Literacy Banker Award. Both Krause and Hineline also were honored with the Certificate of Excellence for exceeding twenty financial education presentations in their local communities during the Foundation’s 2020–2021 fiscal year.

Twelve individuals received a Certificate of Recognition completing at least five financial education presentations. This year’s recipients are Pam Blattner, Jimmy Kauffman, and Rob Stelzer, Bank of Sun Prairie; Kelley Jensen and Amy Shorougian, Citizens Bank in Mukwonago; Joshua Pauling, Farmers State Bank of Waupaca; Rachael Danielson, Ryma Lindquist, and Erik Thompson, First Bank of Baldwin; Craig Much, Horicon Bank; and Beth Durow and Julie Matthews, The Stephenson National Bank & Trust.

Rose Oswald Poels (left) recognizes several award recipients at WBA’s LEAD360 on November 17.

The WBF Excellence in Financial Education Award was presented to 10 WBA-member banks for their bank-wide dedication to financial education during the 2020–2021 fiscal year which encouraged over 270 bankers to get involved for the wellbeing of their communities. The banks awarded include Bank of Sun Prairie, Citizens Bank in Mukwonago, Farmers State Bank of Waupaca, First Bank of Baldwin, Fox Valley Savings Bank, Horicon Bank, National Exchange Bank and Trust, Peoples State Bank – Prairie du Chien, PremierBank – Fort Atkinson, and The Stephenson National Bank & Trust.

The outstanding efforts of all honorees were celebrated at the recent WBA LEAD360 Conference held in Wisconsin Dells. During the 2020–2021 fiscal year, these fourteen individuals and 10 banks helped WBF expand its financial education reach to nearly 6,000 people throughout the state. As a result of the pandemic, many bankers have come up with creative ways to advocate for the importance of financial literacy to consumers of all ages.

“These individuals have truly gone above and beyond in the last year to ensure that Wisconsin communities continue to have access to invaluable financial education,” said Chair of the Wisconsin Bankers Foundation Rose Oswald Poels. “We thank everyone that participated for their commitment to their communities and their overall dedication in leading the strive towards a more financially responsible state!”

Triangle Background

The federal banking agencies (FRB, FDIC, and OCC) have issued their final rule to require banks to notify their primary federal regulatory of any “computer-security incident” that rises to the level of a “notification incident”, as soon as possible and no later than 36 hours after the bank determines that a notification incident has occurred.  

The rule defines a “computer-security incident” as an occurrence that results in actual harm to the confidentiality, integrity, or availability of an information system or the information that the system processes, stores, or transmits.  

“Notification incident” is defined as a computer-security incident that has materially disrupted or degraded, or is reasonably likely to materially disrupt or degrade, a banking organization’s: 

(i) Ability to carry out banking operations, activities, or processes, or deliver banking products  and services to a material portion of its customer base, in the ordinary course of business;  

(ii) Business line(s), including associated operations, services, functions, and support, that upon  failure would result in a material loss of revenue, profit, or franchise value; or  

(iii) Operations, including associated services, functions and support, as applicable, the failure or  discontinuance of which would pose a threat to the financial stability of the United States.  

The final rule is effective April 1, 2022 and has a compliance data of May 1, 2022. The full final rule may be viewed here.

Josh Ghena, senior vice president, equity business funding at Cinnaire.

Cinnaire has announced the promotion of Josh Ghena to senior vice president, equity business funding. Mike Witt has been promoted to senior vice president of asset management. In these leadership positions, Ghena and Witt will play a key role in supporting Cinnaire’s strategic plan and providing executive oversight for the organization’s $4.9 billion asset portfolio.

Ghena joined Cinnaire in 2014 and has held positions of increasing responsibility including vice president of asset management, asset stabilization expert, director of special assets and, asset manager. As senior vice president, equity business funding, Ghena manages Cinnaire’s investment strategies and provides oversight of the organization’s equity funds, investor due diligence, and fund modeling. He brings more than 10 years of experience to the position.

Prior to joining Cinnaire, Ghena provided technical assistance to distressed HUD Grantees. His work as a technical assistance provider specialized in CDBG, HOME, and NSP. Ghena earned his Bachelor of Science from Calvin College and his Master of Science from the University of Wisconsin.

Mike Witt, senior vice president, asset management at Cinnaire.

An affordable housing industry veteran, Witt joined Cinnaire in 2020. As senior vice president, asset management, he is charged with overseeing the growth and development of Cinnaire’s Asset Management team and overseeing investments made by Cinnaire in numerous multifamily developments across multiple business lines.

Witt previously served as acting chief of housing at the Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA), where he was responsible for oversight of all multifamily rental programs and community development decisions. He earned his Bachelor of Arts in Finance from Michigan State University. Witt serves on the board of directors for the Midwest Affordable Housing Management Association (MAHMA) and treasurer of his local homeowner’s association board.

Mound City Bank Take Your Legislator to Work Day

On Thursday, WBA VP of Government Relations Lorenzo Cruz and WBA Director of Government Relations John Cronin updated the Mound City Bank board of directors on state and federal legislative topics and banking industry advocacy. Cruz, Cronin, and bank President and CEO Donna Hoppenjan then hosted a presentation to the board by Representatives Todd Novak (R – Dodgeville) and Travis Tranel (R – Cuba City) as part of a Take Your Legislator to Work day.  

Take Your Legislator to Work days are win-wins for everyone involved. It is extremely beneficial for legislators to hear directly from their constituency about the issues concerning them the most while back home in their districts. Banks benefits by being able to convey valuable community and economic information to elected officials and provide real-world perspective on issues facing the banking industry. We also get the opportunity share our positions on bills before the Legislature and keep their attention on key items like credit unions.  

Legislators are always looking for ways to meet with key members of their communities (read: banks). If you would like to bring a legislator to your institution, please let Lorenzo or John know. 

Susan Hauke, CPA, celebrated 30 years of service to National Exchange Bank & Trust on October 28, 2021.

Hauke is the chief financial officer and works out of the Waukesha office. In her role, she directs and oversees all financial activities of the bank including strategic planning, budgeting and forecasting. Additionally, she provides management and the Board of Directors with financial information needed for their decision-making process.

Hauke grew up in Greenfield and graduated from St. Mary’s Academy in Milwaukee. She went on to earn her Accounting degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Additionally, Hauke has completed the Graduate School of Banking at UW-Madison.

Hauke now resides in Muskego with her husband, Mike. She has served on the Girl Scouts of Wisconsin audit committee and on her church’s endowment committee.

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.

Senior holding credit card

By Paul Gores

An elderly bank customer says she needs to send $10,000 to her grandson, who called from Mexico frantically claiming that’s how much money he needs to get out of jail.

A man suddenly has started appearing with his father-in-law on visits to the bank, assisting the senior, who sometimes seems nervous or confused, with making larger-than-normal withdrawals.

A man in his late 70s states he was notified he just won a lottery, but  needs to send money to cover the taxes before he can receive his prize.

Scenarios like these are among red flags bankers watch for as they try to prevent their customers from falling victim to the growing crime of financial exploitation of older adults.

According to the FBI, each year millions of elderly Americans are victimized by some type of financial fraud or confidence scheme,  draining seniors’ bank accounts of more than $3 billion.

In Wisconsin, a survey last year for the Wisconsin Department of Health Services indicated that more than $31 million was lost through financial exploitation of the elderly, said April DeValkenaere, a white collar crime paralegal for the Waukesha County District Attorney’s Office.

The problem is even worse than the available numbers indicate, she said. It’s estimated that only one in 44 cases of elder financial exploitation is ever reported, according to the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA).

That means almost every bank has customers who are in jeopardy of being duped by a scam or being exploited by a family member or caregiver.

“I do not have statistics for how large the problem is in Wisconsin, however we have eight locations, from Waunakee to Green Bay, and we have seen cases of elder abuse in all of our communities,” said Theresa Weckwerth, vice president and enterprise risk manager for Berlin-based Fortifi Bank. “No community is too large or too small to be free from elder abuse. I believe it is everywhere. The more we can educate our elders, the stronger we will be in fighting elder abuse as a whole.”

The list of online, email, and phone scams that target senior citizens is long, but they don’t account for most of the money lost through financial crimes that exploit the elderly, said DeValkenaere.

“In the overall scheme of things, scams of older adults are only 10% of the actual theft from older adults,” DeValkenaere said. “The other 90% of theft from older adults are actually from a trusted individual — someone they know and trust. Their family members, caregivers, powers of attorney, guardians, neighbors, or loved ones, all of those people essentially account for 90% of elder financial exploitation.”

Many banks train their employees to be on the lookout for changes in customer patterns and routines that might indicate someone has gained undue influence over them and their financial decisions. But it’s not always easy to detect.

“Sometimes if you have that overly helpful family member,” said Debby Bartolerio, chief operating officer at First Citizens State Bank in Whitewater. “Sometimes that’s good because they are actually assisting the elder. But sometimes, that is a family member who’s taking advantage of them. And that’s kind of a hard thing to determine, which side of the fence are they on.”

Weckwerth said caregivers — family members or a non-relatives hired to care for them — sometimes take advantage of the elderly.

“The victim is sometimes made to feel guilty if they try to confront the situation, or afraid that their needs will not be met if they say something,” said Weckwerth, who is a member of the Wisconsin Bankers Association’s Financial Crimes Committee. “Many times, the caregiver will make them feel like they ‘owe’ them for all they do, or threaten to not provide the basic things that are needed such as groceries or healthcare.”

Bartolerio, who also is a member of WBA’s Financial Crimes Committee, said a community bank like hers, where there are many longtime customers whom tellers have gotten to know, might be in a better position than some to identify trouble.

Tom Mews, president of FNC Bank in New Richmond, also said a community bank may have an edge in scouting out trouble because of the relationships the bank has with customers.

“We know our customers,” he said. “We’re not simply relying on a computer database to kick up red flags. We know what normal transactions are because we see them on a regular basis. We can spot these things just because we know who our customers are.”

According to the FBI, seniors become targets of financial crooks because they tend to be trusting and polite. In addition, they often have financial savings and good credit.

The FBI also says seniors may be less inclined to report fraud because they don’t know how, or they may be too ashamed at having been scammed.

An elderly victim of a romance scam, for instance, might be too embarrassed about being taken in by a scammer via an online dating service.

“We also see romance/companion scams where the elderly are lonely and seeking companionship,” Weckwerth said. “This is generally someone conning the elderly into sending them money for travel, or expenses to keep them out of trouble.”

A recent article by Katherine Skiba of AARP.org detailed how elderly customers of the online dating service Match.com lost hundreds of thousands of dollars to fake suitors.

DeValkenaere said many seniors are lonely, but sometimes too trusting. She cited “social isolation” as the source of their involvement in romance scams.

DeValkenaere said she believes banks generally have been doing a good job at keeping their eyes open for financial exploitation of the elderly.

“I think a lot of the financial institutions are training their people very well in regards to what to watch out for and some of these red flags,” she said.

Mews listed circumstances that should raise eyebrows for bankers who handle accounts for the elderly:

  • Sudden changes in bank account or banking practice
  • Unexplained withdrawal of large sums of money by a person accompanying the elder
  • Sudden non-sufficient fund activity
  • The inclusion of additional names on an elder’s bank signature card
  • Unexplained changes in power of attorney, will, or other legal documents
  • Missing checks or money
  • Debit transactions that are inconsistent for the older adult
  • Unauthorized withdrawal of the elder’s funds using the elder’s ATM card
  • Abrupt changes in financial documents
  • Unexplained disappearance of funds or valuable possessions
  • Unpaid bills despite the availability of adequate financial resources
  • Discovery of an elder’s signature being forged for financial transactions or for the title of possessions
  • Sudden appearance of previously uninvolved relatives claiming their rights to an elder’s affairs and possessions.

DeValkenaere said some scams against seniors are seasonal.

“Like the imposter scam. We’ve seen a lot of those lately because this is the enrollment period for Medicare. Fraudsters are calling saying they’re from Medicare or they’re from Social Security and you have to pay this money up front so that we can register you for your insurance. Victims are convinced they need to give money to these people to keep or acquire Medicare coverage,” DeValkenaere said. “Right now, Medicare scams are huge. Come the spring, it’s going to be IRS imposter scams. They’re huge in the spring because it’s tax time.”

In the hopes of tricking the elderly into turning over personal financial information or sending them money, crooks also pretend to be from a government agency.

“Now they are impersonating law enforcement, saying you missed jury duty and if you don’t pay up, we’re going to arrest you or send you to jail, that kind of thing,” DeValkenaere said. “People don’t realize that they’re scams. They are trying to abide by the authorities. It’s just the generation they grew up in. But if our younger tellers have no idea that these scams are even out there, or what they mean, or the timeframe of year they should be watching for them, they can’t educate their customers on it.”

Mews, chair of WBA’s Government Relations Committee, is among bankers hoping state legislation that would let a bank delay a transaction when fraud is suspected will advance and become law.

The bills, AB 45 and AB 46, would allow qualified individuals to temporarily pause transactions where they suspect elder fraud is taking place, refuse power of attorney in certain situations, and allow seniors to name a trusted contact as an extra layer of protection.

“I think community representatives have a really good handle on what should be paused and what shouldn’t be,” Mews said.

The bills also provide legal protection to bankers acting in good faith to prevent elder financial fraud. Both bills passed on voice votes in the full Assembly in May, but since have stalled.

“This would help us by allowing banks to refuse or delay any transaction when we suspect exploitation or abuse,” said Weckwerth.

DeValkenaere, who was a member of the Wisconsin Attorney General’s Task Force on Elder Abuse in 2018, said the legislation is needed.

“It gives the financial institution a pause button to start the investigation as to whether or not this specific transaction is fraudulent,” she said. “So if they are trying to wire $20,000 out of country, the financial institution can hit pause and they can do their own investigation. They can involve other people, meaning Adult Protective Services, law enforcement. They can look into some other options.”

Bankers and experts say the desire for companionship and unfamiliarity with technology contribute to the risk of fraud for the elderly. That vulnerability puts banks in a special role for protecting their customers.

“This is why it is so important for banks and other trusted advisers to continue to educate elders on fraud and how to identify it,” Weckwerth said. “It is important that we know our clients and help them feel comfortable talking to us. They should never be afraid to ask questions of their bankers or talk to us. Many times, the fraud is caught in the front line from a conversation or other indicators that lead us to believe there is a problem and ask more questions.”

Paul Gores is a journalist who covered business news for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel for 20 years.

Starion Bank welcomes Sara Patterson into our family as a Universal Banker III at our Sun Prairie location.

Patterson attended college at Rowan University in Glassboro, New Jersey, and has more than 12 years of experience in banking and bank management. She has worked in a variety of roles including personal banking, business development, service manager, and assistant branch manager. Patterson brings a broad personal banking and customer service skillset that augments the already strong line of bankers in Starion’s Madison-area branches.

“I help customers solve problems by finding the right fit for them. If they are not currently in a product that suits them, I will find one that works.” Patterson says, “My passion is helping you find the financial products and services you need and can use to make your lives better and easier.”

In her free time, Patterson spends time with her daughter, reading, and enjoying the outdoors.