First Business Bank announces the funding of a $4.5 million accounts receivable factoring facility by its accounts receivable financing group. The new client is a successful transportation company facing growth challenges. This facility will support the client’s continued growth.

“This facility is an example of our rapidly expanding portfolio in the transportation sector,” said Bill Elliott, president – accounts receivable financing at First Business Specialty Finance, LLC, a subsidiary of First Business Bank. “We are committed to helping address the needs of brokers, carriers, logistics warehouses, and freight forwarders.”

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.

Cinnaire has announced the closing of a $145 million Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) equity fund that will finance the development or preservation of more than 1,600 affordable homes in five states. Nineteen investors, many of them repeat investors, are participating in the fund.

“Our LIHTC equity funds bring together public and private partners to advance healthy communities, creating opportunities for families, seniors, and residents with special needs,” said Brett Oumedian, Cinnaire chief financial officer. “We’re proud to have had such strong support of our mission to create collaborative financial solutions to expand the creation and preservation of affordable housing. We are grateful to our investors and 85% repeat developer partners that join Cinnaire in our goal to build healthy communities and provide more individuals and families with a safe, quality, and affordable place to call home.”

Cinnaire’s Fund for Housing Limited Partner 37 (Cinnaire F37) will support 22 properties in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. Ten percent of the overall investment support residents with special needs, including Prominence Commons which includes the acquisition and rehabilitation of several scattered sites in Portage, Ind., totaling 38 affordable units, and the new construction of a 12-unit building totaling 50 units. Thirty of these units will serve those who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. The fund will also support Red Caboose Apartments, the new construction of 38 affordable homes for families in Madison, Wis. Eight of these units will be held for households that include a family member with a disability. Movin’ Out, the project developer, will also be constructing a 28,000 square foot daycare facility for low- and moderate-income families.

“Our purpose at Cinnaire has always been about changing lives and transforming struggling neighborhoods into thriving communities,” said Mark McDaniel, Cinnaire president and CEO. “This fund builds on our strong history in the affordable housing industry while strengthening the foundation we have created to lift up and empower families and communities across the Midwest and MidAtlantic.”

The fund brings Cinnaire’s total equity raised since inception to $3.7 billion.

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Pictured left to right are: Prevail Bank professionals: Nick White, commercial lending officer; Ryan Ludy, mortgage loan originator; and David Johns, chief retail officer presented a check to John Dawson, executive director, and Janine Thull, board president, who accepted on behalf of Habitat of Humanity.

Prevail Bank donated $10,000 to support Habitat for Humanity of Chippewa County. The donated funds will purchase materials needed to build low-income housing for families in need of stable, safe and affordable housing.

“We have built over 40 homes and repaired dozens more in the Chippewa Valley,” said John Dawson, executive director. “The need continues to grow; Prevail Bank’s donation is very much appreciated.”

“Prevail Bank is a community bank that is passionate about economic development, and the financial stability and growth of individuals, families, and businesses,” said David Johns, chief retail officer for Prevail Bank. “We are proud to support Habitat for Humanity and the families of Chippewa and Eau Claire Counties.”

The Charitable Contributions program of Prevail Bank is available for local non-profits 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 an organization is interested in applying for funds for a major initiative, go to:

Curt Walth

Starion Bank is pleased to announce that longtime Executive Vice President Curt Walth has been elected as director emeritus to the Starion Bank board of directors. Walth has served on the bank’s board of directors for over 30 years and is the first director elected to this emeritus position.

The Starion board of directors created the emeritus position to honor former members who have left a legacy of serving with distinction and excellence, and made significant contributions to the bank’s strategy, culture, and interests. Emeritus members are provided the opportunity to remain engaged and provide their counsel to the board, including guidance in principle business matters and mergers and acquisitions.

“Curt has truly championed our mission throughout his career. He has spent more than three decades as an example of leading with understanding, integrity, and inspiring confidence in all we do. He’s tireless in his work for our customers and communities,” says Craig Larson, chairman of the Starion board of directors. “The board expresses our deep gratitude for his sound business advice, work ethic, high standards, and his steadfast commitment and loyalty to Starion Bank and to the Larson family.”

Walth began his career at Starion Bank in 1989 upon the purchase of the First Southwest Bank in Mandan where he was serving as a senior officer. In 1993, Starion opened its first Bismarck location with Walth serving as the bank’s first Bismarck market president. Since that time, he has served in numerous capacities culminating in his most recent role as executive vice president.

“Curt has been a mentor and partner to me throughout my Starion career, and especially during my time as CEO. He and I made a great team; I was able to focus on vision and strategy while Curt would flawlessly implement the key bank initiatives that allowed us to grow and prosper,” says Larson. “He’s been an amazing advocate for our culture and family values. Anyone would be lucky to have Curt Walth by their side.”

Community State Bank’s Kenosha Market President Robert Pieroni was recently awarded the 2021 Racine County Economic Development Corporation (RCEDC) Lender of the Year Award. Pieroni was presented with the award at RCEDC’s Annual Meeting on April 14th, 2022. This is the second consecutive year that Pieroni has received the award.

The RCEDC Lender of the Year Award is presented annually to an individual that assists small businesses in the community by partnering with RCEDC’s financial arm, Business Lending Partners, who facilitates low interest loans throughout Racine County.

“Being able to support and guide local business owners towards building their dream is one of the best parts of being a community banker,” said Pieroni. “RCEDC and Business Lending Partners have been great resources for our bank and local business owners. I appreciate their partnership and also am very grateful to be chosen once again for this award.”

Pieroni has been in the banking industry for over 20 years focusing in the Kenosha County area, but also assisting local businesses in the Racine and Kenosha corridor. He began at Community State Bank in 2018 as market president of the Kenosha location.

Pieroni also has a long history of being involved in the community by dedicating his time towards local organizations such as Kiwanis Breakfast Club of Kenosha (21 years), Cub Scout Pack 328 (6 years), Central Falcons Trap and Skeet Team, and also serving as commissioner for the Town of Brighton.

“At Community State Bank we seek ways to provide opportunity to our customers, businesses, and communities,” said CSB President and CEO Scott Huedepohl. “One of the ways we do this is by connecting local business owners to community organizations that can help their business succeed. Robert does a fantastic job of making those connections and realizing the impact it has on our community when we work together. Congratulations Robert on your award.”

Award winners were selected by the RCEDC board of directors. For more information about the RCEDC Annual Meeting and other award recipients please visit

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Oak Bank ranks at the top among Wisconsin banks of its size in the number of primary loans approved for small businesses in 2021

Oak Bank announced they are the recipient of the 2021 Wisconsin Small Business Administration (SBA) Volume Lender Award for banks with an asset size between $400 and $500 million.

Oak Bank received the honor for having the most approved 7(a) loans in the state among similar-sized banks. The 7(a) Loan Program is the SBA’s most common small business loan program that helps businesses cover a variety of needs, including working capital, purchasing new equipment and new building construction.

“The last couple of years have been a challenge, especially for small businesses,” said Terry Taylor, Oak Bank president. “We are proud to have partnered with our local businesses for the last 22 years, but especially as they’ve weathered the uncertainty of the pandemic. We strongly believe in building long-lasting relationships and are committed to helping all our businesses not only survive but thrive for years to come.”

Pictured from left to right are Oak Bank business banking team members: Linda Zimdars, senior vice president – business banking; Ty Beck, vice president – business banking; Matt Fink, senior vice president – business banking; Tanya Hammer, senior commercial loan specialist; Stephanie East, cash management specialist; Joe Broadfoot, assistant vice president – business banking; Terry Taylor, president; Jim McNulty, senior vice president – business banking.

“SBA programs help fuel economic growth and build strong communities,” said Linda Zimdars, Oak Bank senior vice president – business banking. “It gives me a great amount of pride to see our ‘Financing provided by Oak Bank’ signs on construction sites when I drive around the Madison area. That represents one of the ways businesses utilize SBA financing. I know that Oak Bank has made a difference to so many businesses in our community. We work hard for them, working side by side with business owners, and in the end, their success is our success.”

Another example of that commitment was evident during the pandemic when Oak Bank joined other financial institutions across Wisconsin in processing a collective total of 33,000 Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans worth a cumulative $2.2 billion.

“When the pandemic started, we wanted to help small businesses stay open. We worked many late nights to ensure funding of the PPP and other government programs,” said Zimdars. “We knew we needed to be there when our business clients needed us the most.”

In May, Oak Bank will receive the 2021 Wisconsin Small Business Administration (SBA) Volume Lender Award at the 32nd Annual Wisconsin Lenders Conference.

First State Bank recently announced the promotion of Brian Wood to vice president – loan operations. In his new role, Wood will oversee all aspects of application, processing, and servicing of First State Bank’s loan portfolio while ensuring adherence to loan policy and regulatory compliance.

Wood has held various credit and loan processing supervisory roles during his eleven years at the bank. Promoted in 2021 to senior credit analyst/assistant vice president – special projects, Wood led several process improvement initiatives in the bank’s credit and lending operations.

“Brian is a creative leader in our organization,” commented bank President Bob Van Asten. “He thoroughly understands the loan process and has great vision for balancing all of the behind-the-scenes details of lending with making the loan process as easy as possible for our customers.”

Wood is a 2010 graduate of the University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire where he received his bachelor’s degree in business administration with majors in finance and economics. He also graduated from the Graduate School of Banking at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2021. Wood is located at First State Bank’s new Stevens Point office at 5500 Carrie Frost Drive, which opened mid-April.

Rose Oswald PoelsBy Rose Oswald Poels

Earlier this year, the Wisconsin Bankers Association (WBA) board approved WBA’s participation as a partner in the newly created Society of Bank Executives. This initiative, first brought forth by the Utah Bankers Association, includes several partner trade associations throughout the U.S. aiming to provide bank leaders with opportunities to network and further develop the skills necessary for staying ahead of our ever-changing industry.

As the banking landscape continues to rapidly evolve, it remains ever so important that banking leaders continue to develop professionally and personally. These opportunities include engaging with peers outside of our markets and ongoing programs relating to shareholders, regulators, customers, and communities.

The Society, directed by Dr. Paul Godfrey — the William and Roceil Low Professor of Business Strategy at the Brigham Young University Marriott School of Business, will officially launch in January 2023. However, the application period for the pre-launch session opens May 1, 2022. I encourage all C-suite bank executives and bank executive teams from across Wisconsin to take advantage of this unique opportunity to not only become a founding member, but to further develop important skills regarding bank operation alongside bankers from across the country. A two-year discount is available through July 30, 2022.

The annual sessions, split into two four-month programs, feature three 60–90-minute online presentations/virtual meetings that incorporate self-paced elements and one, two-day, in-person meeting aimed at expanding bankers’ networks beyond their markets. The pre-launch session, scheduled for August through November 2022, will focus bank executives on the challenge of “Trust and Team Building.”

As recent events have proved, peer networks are critical to the success of our industry. The Society hopes to assist bank leaders in establishing and utilizing networks among bankers beyond state boundaries. The two-day, in-person meeting each session is designed as a networking-focused event at which bankers around the country are able to share information, ask questions, and give (or receive) advice around strategic decision-making. These conversations may or may not be related to the specific session focus.

The Society’s program — involving study, analysis, application, and interaction with peers — is unlike any other leadership seminar. Created with bank executives in mind, the Society of Bank Executives offers opportunities to acquire and develop skills and master the “art” of leading a bank. Again, I invite every Wisconsin bank C-suite leader to take advantage of the opportunities created by the Society of Bank Executives when the application period opens May 1, 2022.

Rendering provided by The Redmond Company, the architect and general contractor for the project.

Prevail Bank in Eau Claire is remodeling its lending offices, teller stations and adding several new amenities for its customers starting this spring.

“We are excited to announce that the remodeling of our customer service areas in our Eau Claire location will begin May 2,” said Nathan Quinnell, president of Prevail Bank. “We’re remodeling for three reasons. One, we want our customer spaces to be more representative of our Prevail brand and promise. Two, we want to provide a better experience for our customers. And three, Eau Claire is a growing community — we need to expand our office space to support its growing market and the local talent we plan to hire.”

To expedite the construction progress, Prevail Bank will temporarily relocate its in-person banking services during the week of April 25, just a few doors down in the same business center, to 2217A Fairfax Street. This will allow for a faster demolition and rebuild, while maximizing the safety of Prevail Bank customers and employees.

Drive-up services will be closed during construction. Customers are encouraged to establish online banking, utilize Prevail Bank’s Call Center or CHAT feature on the web, or visit its banking professionals just a few doors down during this time period.

“We do apologize for the inconvenience,” said Quinnell. “We are always looking for ways to improve our services, technology, and financial resources for our customers, small businesses and the communities we serve. This investment into our Eau Claire facility is proof of our commitment to the local community and will help us continue to grow in that market.”

Teller stations will be moved closer to the drive-up services area for productivity and efficiency purposes. The customer lounge area will include a coffee bar and a Tech Center.

In the new Tech Center area, Prevail Bank professionals will provide 1-on-1 set-up and assistance with online and mobile banking services. Digital banking allows customers to transfer funds, deposit checks through Prevail Bank’s mobile banking app, pay bills online securely and safely, and activate/deactivate debit cards — all from their computer or mobile device. An online chat feature with virtual conferencing capabilities, and the incorporation of online applications will further enhance and increase banker accessibility, responsiveness, and efficiencies.

“Current Prevail Bank customers can establish digital banking now, if so desired”, said Renee Leinfelder, Prevail Bank’s senior vice president – retail.

If a customer is unsure as to what to do, she encourages them to ask for assistance from a Prevail Bank employee.

“Digital banking provides you with the convenience of not having to drive in stormy weather, delaying dinner, or rushing to a branch office before it closes. Nearly every banking service can be conducted from the comfort of your home, if you establish yourself with online banking.”

“For our business customers, the Business Resource Manager software is a must have; I use it all the time,” continues Leinfelder. “The Tech Center can provide assistance with its functionality and time saving features as well.”

According to Quinnell, Prevail Bank is here to lend a hand, and not just through creative home loan and commercial loan solutions, but also through its community sponsorships and charitable giving program. Prevail Bank donates and/or invests approximately $100,000 to community organizations, economic development, and non-profits annually. Prevail plans to summarize its on-going contributions through a digital display that will be located in Eau Claire’s new lobby.

“Doing what’s right for the customers and the communities we serve is of the utmost importance to all of us at Prevail Bank,” said Quinnell

The estimated completion for Eau Claire’s remodel is fall 2022.

Mark Fillback

Community First Bank (CFB) is pleased to announce Mark Fillback, owner and operator of Fillback Family of Dealerships, was elected to Community First Bank’s board of directors at the March 2022 annual meeting. CFB President and CEO Dan Klahn said, “We are very pleased to have Mark join our board of directors. Mark is an astute business person who has locations in three of our existing branch markets. Mark’s business skills, market knowledge, and bank board experience will be a tremendous asset to our organization. We are fortunate to have him join our board.”

Mark Fillback was born in Dodgeville, Wis., and later was raised on a farm south of Cobb, where he lived with his parents and one sister. Growing up, he worked the family farm with his father. He attended Iowa Grant High School and went on to earn a business degree from UW–Platteville. While attending UWP full time, he also worked with his father at the original Fillback Ford location in Highland. In 1989, Fillback acquired the family car dealership from his father and took over the daily operations.

Fillback has worked hard since then to grow the business into what it is today. He expanded the Fillback Family of Dealerships by adding additional locations and domestic brands in Richland Center, Boscobel, and most recently, Prairie du Chien. Fillback now oversees all four locations and over 100 dedicated employees. Previous to joining the Community First Bank board, Fillback was a member of the American Bank & Trust board for five years, and was an advisory board member at MidWestOne Bank for an additional two years.

Fillback has been married to his wife, Tracy, for almost 25 years, and they have two children, Ellie (23) and Luke (19). Fillback is a member of St. Anthony’s Catholic Church and is an active outdoorsman, enjoying many hours in the woods, on the water, and with his family. He still enjoys being actively engaged in farming with his father, and is happy to now share those skills with his son.