Triangle Background

First Business Bank announces the funding of a $12 million ledgered line accounts receivable finance facility by its accounts receivable financing group. The facility will allow existing management to purchase 100% of the company and will also support increasing working capital needs.

As a transportation broker, the company is experiencing significant growth opportunities. The First Business Bank facility will allow the company to double in size.

“We had to move quickly on this transaction in order to comply with the terms of the stock purchase agreement,” said Bill Elliott, president – accounts receivable financing at First Business Specialty Finance, LLC, a subsidiary of First Business Bank. “We issued our proposal within 24 hours of our initial call, met personally with the company two days later, and completed underwriting within two weeks. Our experienced staff allow us to identify and address underwriting issues very quickly, accelerating the entire process.”

The accounts receivable financing team provides funding in amounts of $100,000 to $15,000,000 to companies seeking to improve cash flow and take advantage of every business opportunity.

Steve Leaman

The board of directors of Horicon Bank recently promoted four employees. Steve Leaman and David Kruck were promoted to senior vice president; Lisa Zarling and Kerry Murphy were promoted to officers of the Bank.

Steve Leaman started his banking career in 1998 and joined Horicon Bank in 2011. As active member of the Fond du Lac community, Leaman has been recognized for his commitment by being named Volunteer of the Year by Envision Greater Fond du Lac, an honorary Paul Harris Fellow by Fond du Lac Noon Rotary, and the Donald G. Jones Leadership Alumni Award.

David Kruck

“By being active in the community through volunteer work and my professional position, I have grown to care deeply about the success of the Fond du Lac community and its local businesses, and it is an honor to work for an institution that feels the same way,” said Leaman.

David Kruck began his banking career in 2003, and joined Horicon Bank in 2016. Kruck is active in the Wisconsin Bankers Association’s Government Relations Committee. He is considered a SBA lending resource for our business lenders.

Lisa Zarling

Lisa Zarling originally joined Horicon Bank’s deposit operation department in 1998. Zarling moved to a treasury and commercial payment solutions support role and continues to provide excellent support to the Bank’s valued business customers.

Kerry Murphy joined Horicon Bank in 2006 as a barista in the Bank’s coffee house. She later became a teller, universal banker, and eventually universal banker trainer. Murphy has served on the Bank’s acquisitions and merger’s team and continues to develop training for new programs. Murphy also serves as the chair of the Fond du Lac County Money Smart Week Committee.

Kerry Murphy

“We are happy to promote these talented employees,” said Horicon Bank President, Fred F. Schwertfeger. “Our vision at Horicon Bank is to be bankers who care about our communities, our associates, and our relationships. Steve, David, Lisa, and Kerry do just that in our Fond du Lac, Oshkosh, and Horicon communities.”

Person holding Covid 19 Vaccination card

By Rose Oswald Poels

On Thursday January 13, the Supreme Court blocked enforcement of an OSHA requirement that employees of certain businesses be vaccinated against COVID-19 or undergo weekly testing and wear a mask on the job. Simultaneously, the Court has allowed a vaccine mandate for most health care workers. Links to the Court’s opinions in both matters are included below.

The Court disagreed with the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals recent decision lifting the previous stay of OSHA’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate emergency temporary standard (ETS). In its decision staying the ETS, the Court found that OSHA’s mandate exceeded its authority, stating that “OSHA has never before imposed such a mandate. Nor has Congress. Indeed, although Congress has enacted significant legislation addressing the COVID-19 pandemic, it has declined to enact any measure similar to what OSHA has promulgated here.”

While the Court’s opinion stays OSHA’s vaccine mandate, employers including banks are still required to follow any local mask mandates.


Biden v. Missouri:

Sheri Dick

Sheri Dick has joined Forward Bank as the assistant vice president – digital banking director and leads the team providing support to all the bank’s digital banking customers.

In joining the digital banking team, Dick will lead the staff in enhancing the use of digital banking services and develop new opportunities for serving customers through the digital channel. She will also work closely with all areas of the Forward organization to determine customer needs and connect with technology providers to find solutions.

“It’s been exciting joining a new team and learning a new industry,” commented Sheri Dick, AVP – digital banking director at Forward Bank. “I’m looking forward to bringing my e-commerce experience to the bank and exploring how we can make the customer journey more satisfying on our digital platforms. The speed at which Fintech advancements will continues gives Forward Bank many opportunities to add value to our customer relationships.”

Dick has her bachelor of business administration from the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire. She has been very active in the Marshfield community while working at Figi’s and most recently the Marshfield Clinic Foundation. Her community activities include serving on the YMCA board of directors, the Columbus Catholic School Education Commission, as well as a MACCI ambassador and a member of the Marshfield Rotary Club. When not at work or volunteering, Dick enjoys travelling and spending time her family and friends.

“Sheri is a great addition to our digital banking team,” said Dave Clark, president of Forward Bank. “Her extensive experience outside of the banking industry will add a new perspective to how we provide services to our customers. Sheri’s track record in collaborating with many departments will benefit Forward and ultimately all of our customers.

Bryan Troyer

Bryan Troyer has also joined Forward Insurance as the vice president – insurance services and will lead the team helping customers to protect their businesses, farms, homes, lives, and vehicles.

In joining the Forward Insurance team, Troyer will lead the staff in outreach to our communities, current clients, and prospects to match the appropriate solution to their needs. He will coordinate with the operational team in Forward to create efficiencies to help the agents serve clients faster. Additionally, Troyer will coordinate with the bank and investment teams of Forward to foster seamless handoffs in meeting customer needs.

“I am excited to be joining a great organization and a great team of insurance professionals.,” commented Bryan Troyer, VP – insurance services. “The Agency has achieved tremendous growth over the past few years and will continue to grow by providing the best coverages and solutions for our clients.”

Troyer brings over 30 years of experience in the insurance industry in various leadership roles while directly assisting his clients with their insurance needs. He is a Certified Employee Benefits Specialist and is licensed for Life, Health , Property, and Casualty Insurance and has received the Stephen J Foster Professional Excellence Award. Troyer has been dedicated to his community throughout his career as demonstrated by his service as a United Way of Marathon County board member and member of other Wausau area organizations.

“Bryan will be a great addition to our Forward Insurance team,” said Clark. “His experience with bank-owned insurance companies will be valuable as we plan for future growth in all of our markets. He shares our purpose in creating lasting relationships with clients, adding value to banking relationships by offering insurance services, and reaching out to the community to help our non-profits.

Prevail Bank branch manager of Wausau, Jarrod Spinnato (left), presented Bob Grady, coordinator of the Catholic Charities’ Wausau Community Warming Center, with a check in the amount of $2,210.

Between public donations and Prevail Bank matching up to $1,000 at each branch location where donations were collected, a total of $15,162.54 was gifted to nine local nonprofits as part of Prevail Bank’s Holiday Matching Funds campaign this December.

Prevail Bank recognizes the importance of local nonprofits and the resources they provide for those less fortunate in the communities of central Wisconsin. Each of Prevail Bank’s branches chose a different organization to support.

Those gifted with monetary funds and non-perishable gifts included:

  • Sauk County Children’s Giving Tree (Prevail Bank – Baraboo) $1,330
  • Christmas is for Children (Eau Claire) $2,625 (estimated value of 75 wrapped gifts)
  • Ronald McDonald House Charities (Marshfield) $2,500.77
  • Taylor County Supportive Housings (Medford) $2,099.66
  • W-O-W Kid’s Meals Program (Owen) $1,590 (includes a $530 contribution from the
    Owen-Withee Lions Club)
  • Santa’s Elves Foundation (Phillips) $2,235.11
  • United Way of Portage County (Stevens Point) $402
  • Catholic Charities – Wausau Community Warming Center (Wausau) $2,120
  • Park Place Adult Day Services (Wisconsin Rapids) $260

Prevail Bank’s goal is to pursue what’s possible within the communities it serves. It is passionate about economic development; financial stability; and growth for individuals, families, and businesses. Prevail Bank is a community bank that is continuously looking for ways to give back, support those pursuing dreams, and make things better in central Wisconsin.

Cindy Hartman (center) is awarded a lifetime service award.

Badger Bank brings in the new year celebrating the retirement of Cindy Hartman, a valued member of Badger Bank for 43 years. Hartman started her career August 21, 1968 as a new full-time employee then known as Bank of Cambridge. Through the years Cindy experienced six name changes in the same building. Now proudly known as Badger Bank.

“Cindy has been a valuable member of the Badger Bank family”, said Steve Dehnert, CEO of Badger Bank. “She has evolved with the bank over many years. From working with customers and known by all in the community. She has been an important member of our team. We wish her all the best in her retirement.”

Hartman was recently recognized by Daryll Lund, executive vice president and chief operations officer of the Wisconsin Bankers Association, for a lifetime achievement award. “Cindy is widely recognized in the banking world for her selfless service to the customers and communities she had served, she will be missed by many”, said Lund

Hartman will be enjoying spending time with family and once the weather warms up, you will be sure to see her on the golf course.

Triangle Background

By Rose Oswald Poels

In a four-three opinion filed late last week, the Wisconsin Supreme Court concluded that a “dwelling used by the customer as a residence” under the Wisconsin Consumer Act (WCA) includes a garage attached to the residential building in which the customer lives for purposes of rules that need be followed when creditors proceed with nonjudicial repossession.

On behalf of the membership, WBA participated as an amicus curie in the case of Duncan v Asset Recovery Specialists, Inc. as the case involved the interpretation of statutory language used within the repossession rules of the WCA.

The facts of the case were undisputed by the parties and include that Duncan purchased a vehicle from a dealership; she financed the purchase with a loan. Duncan failed to make payments that came due and eventually was in default. The vehicle served as collateral for the loan, and the bank followed the procedure allowed under Wisconsin law for a “nonjudicial” repossession under Wis. Stat. §425.206(1)(d). The bank met all statutory requirements to proceed with nonjudicial repossession and ultimately retained Asset Recovery Specialists to repossess Duncan’s vehicle. At the time, Duncan rented an apartment unit in a multi-story apartment building. The ground floor of the building consisted entirely of a private parking garage for tenants, and Duncan sometimes kept her vehicle in it.

The central dispute between the parties is whether Asset Recovery Specialists violated Wis. Stat. §425.206(2)(b) when they entered the garage shared by residents in Duncan’s apartment building to repossess her vehicle. The court reviewed language within §425.206(2) which provides in full: In taking possession of collateral or leased goods, no merchant may do any of the following: (a) Commit a breach of the peace. (b) Enter a dwelling used by the customer as a residence except at the voluntary request of a customer. The court focused its review on the statutory language in italics.

Although “dwelling” is undefined in the WCA, the court looked to the word’s ordinary, dictionary definition, and to the use of the word in other sections of the WCA and its Administrative Code. In taking that approach, the court concluded a “dwelling” means, at minimum, a building in which at least one person lives. In proceeding in this manner, the court concluded that “dwelling used by the customer as a residence” in Wis. Stat. §425.206(2)(b) includes a garage attached to the residential building in which the customer lives. In making its conclusion, Asset Recovery Specialists was found to have violated §425.206(2)(b) when they repossessed Duncan’s car from the parking garage of her apartment building without her consent.

While I am disappointed in the court’s opinion, I do not regret WBA’s involvement in the case as an amicus on behalf of the membership as the court’s opinion does offer clarity of the term “dwelling.” This in turn helps members further fine-tune any nonjudicial repossession procedures. Fortunately, Wisconsin’s banks are not heavily engaged in nonjudicial repossession of vehicles, so the impact of the court’s decision in this context I believe is likely minimum. That said, as the effect of the court’s decision broadens the plain language of Wis. Stat. §425.206(2)(b), banks need be aware of the court’s new interpretation to ensure there is no violation of the WCA when repossessing vehicles in a similar setting.

The Wisconsin Supreme Court opinion may be viewed here.

Triangle Background

WBA has welcomed nine new Associate Members since the start of 2022. The WBA Associate Member program connects service providers with member banks throughout the state in an effort to make the most out of your WBA membership. Thank you again to Arctic Wolf, Agrograph Inc., Bank Holding Company Association, Community Bank Mortgage, DCI – Data Center Inc., Hilltop Securities, Inc., Open Lending, Primax, and WIN Technology for the services offered to our members.

Arctic Wolf is the global leader in security operations, delivering the first cloud-native security operations platform to end cyber risk.

Agrograph Inc. is a global agrifinance company focused on data-based solutions that help industries supporting farmers. Our powerful A.I. solutions help companies anticipate trends, manage risk, and trigger important business decisions with our Boundless technology.

Bank Holding Company Association exists to provide education and business connections critical to the vitality of bank holding companies.

Community Bank Mortgage is a full-service mortgage origination, fulfillment, and servicing company that works with financial institutions throughout the United States.

DCI – Data Center Inc. provides private ATM network/card management, FrontLine™ teller software, custom analysis, risk/vendor management, and more.

Hilltop Securities, Inc. provides an array of financial products and services through our broker-dealer, mortgage origination and insurance segments. Hilltop has four primary lines of business: (i) public finance services, (ii) structured finance, (iii) fixed income services, and (iv) wealth management.

Open Lending (NASDAQ: LPRO) provides loan analytics, risk-based pricing, risk modeling and default insurance to auto lenders throughout the United States.

Primax provides community banks with payment processing services and an expansive array of value-added technology and solutions.

WIN Technology delivers an uncommon blend of private fiber-line network transport combined with IT professional services, managed services, and cybersecurity to the upper-Midwest.

WBA Associate membership should not be construed as an endorsement of the company’s products or services by the WBA. Visit the WBA Associate Member directory to learn more about member services.

Triangle Background

Christie Gutknecht

Cornerstone Community Bank is pleased to announce the promotion of Christie Gutknecht to vice president – loan operations. Gutknecht has been with Cornerstone Community Bank for 22 years. “Christie has contributed much to our lending success by providing knowledgeable support, a strong work ethic and a can-do attitude,” said Paul Foy, president of Cornerstone Community Bank. “Her versatility, loyalty and dependability over the years are much appreciated and have been especially evident through the recent PPP and mortgage loan booms.”

Cornerstone’s loan portfolio has grown from $40 million to over $200 million during Gutknecht’s time at the bank. “Christie has been a key player in documenting, processing, and administering thousands of loans and is keenly aware of the history and details involved with nearly all of our loans,” added Foy. “She has become an expert in loan administration, and her strong organizational skills and attention to details have kept our loan documents in good order, winning praise from examiners, auditors, and the officer team.”

Bryan Swanson

First Business Bank is pleased to welcome Bryan Swanson as senior vice president – director of commercial and industrial lending with more than 20 years of experience in banking.

Swanson began his career as a senior analyst then progressed to a credit officer role before transitioning into a commercial banking relationship manager position in 2005. Since 2014, he has held positions of leadership and management responsibilities. In his current position, Swanson enjoys helping our commercial banking team assist clients as they execute business strategies with the latest financial solutions, resources, and connections to grow.

He earned his bachelor’s degree and master of business administration from Iowa State and lives in Brookfield, Wis., with his wife and three children. In his free time, he enjoys golf, tennis, and hiking all the national parks. He volunteers as director of Safe & Sound, a nonprofit serving Greater Milwaukee whose mission is to unite residents, youth, law enforcement, and community resources to build safe and empowered neighborhoods.

“I’m very pleased to have Bryan on board at First Business Bank,” said Kevin Kane, president – Southeast Wisconsin market for First Business Bank. “His experience, leadership, and dedication to our communities’ success is well known, and we’re very happy to have him leading our commercial lending team in our Greater Milwaukee footprint.”

Matt Krutza

First Business Bank is also pleased to welcome Matt Krutza as vice president – director of private wealth and wealth advisor.

Krutza joins First Business Bank’s private wealth team with more than 12 years of experience in the financial industry. Krutza’s experience includes significant work with clients in the areas of investment management, private banking, and financial and estate planning. He has earned an Accredited Wealth Management Advisor (AMWA®) designation, Wisconsin Life Insurance license, Wisconsin Health Insurance license, FINRA 6 Securities license, and a FINRA 66 license.

Originally from Monroe, Wis., Krutza earned a bachelor’s degree from Edgewood College in marketing and finance and currently serves on United Way of Greater Milwaukee and Waukesha County’s Emerging Leaders Council. In his free time, he also enjoys spending time with his family, golfing, and exercising.

“Our team is so pleased that Matt joined us to lead our team of wealth advisors throughout Wisconsin and work directly with our clients,” said Brendan Freeman, president – private wealth. “Matt has a reputation in the community as a hard-working client advocate and team-focused individual. His demonstrated experience, leadership, motivation, and empathy already have proven to be an incredible resource for our private wealth clients and our team.”