A historic bank in Coffeyville, Kansas.

By Darla Sikora, Citizens State Bank of Loyal

Here’s to hoping that this month’s From the Fields finds your customers finally able to be out in their fields after what seems like a particularly long winter and slow-to-arrive spring! How can it be that in just one more month, the year will already be half over?

With June Dairy Month quickly approaching, complete with its many June Dairy Breakfasts and the appreciation it brings for our ag producers, I am reminded of the words of well-known WGN Farm Broadcaster Orion Samuelson. At the 2013 ABA National Ag Banker Conference in Minneapolis, he told us that he ends each day with this prayer: “Thank you God, for America’s farmers and ranchers: the people who put the food on my table, clothes on my back, a roof over my head and energy in my tank.” There is no doubt our customers have strong work ethics as they strive to provide the food and fiber for the rest of us, but we too all work hard, day-in and day-out, year-in and year-out. For us, the work entails providing an array of ag banking products, programs, and services along with a great deal of guidance, analysis, and direction for the ag producers of the fine state of Wisconsin. With summer (finally!) around the corner, I just want to remind everyone to make sure to carve some time out this year, and every year, for yourselves.

It’s important to take time away from the job to get “out of our heads,” out of our “normal” and to step out into something else. Recently I enjoyed a family road trip to the state of Texas, via some interesting byways. Taking the “scenic route” we also saw much of small town America. It is always interesting to see the agriculture in other parts of the country; from massive farm fields, to rows and rows of grain bins, to longhorn cattle right on the outskirts of town, to the Southwest Dairy Museum, and to “Rancho” proudly displayed in the titles on overhead signs leading to Texas ranches.

Tying just a bit of banking into the vacation, on a quiet, cloudy Sunday morning we drove through rural Coffeyville, Kansas where 130 years ago on October 5, 1892, the Dalton Gang rode into town attempting to make outlaw history by robbing not one, but two banks simultaneously. They were unsuccessful and after a 12-minute gunfight, four of the six members lay dead. The storied shoot-out also claimed the lives of four of Coffeyville’s courageous townspeople who defended against the Dalton’s last raid. (Interesting note: In 1876 John W. Cubine helped put Coffeyville on the map by creating a cowboy boot that fit the left and right foot individually. Before this, all boots were constructed exactly the same and didn’t have a specific fit for each foot. Think of that the next time you pull on your Ariats! John’s nephew, George Cubine, and another employee of the boot shop, Charles Brown, were both killed defending Coffeyville on the day of the Dalton Raid.)

There is so much out there to learn, to see, to experience. Life is short. Moments are fleeting. Time is precious. Remember to set the busy-ness and the demands of the daily routine aside every now and again to take a break and to spend time with those who mean the most to you. Years ago, on another road trip, I saw a sign outside of a church near Escanaba, Michigan that read, “families go on vacation to become families again”. Take the road less traveled, step outside the usual, make the connections, laugh more, and embrace those you love with all your might.

Darla Sikora is senior vice president of agricultural banking with Citizens State Bank of Loyal, and currently serves as the Past Chair on the WBA Agricultural Bankers Section Board of Directors.

Bankers’ Bank, a leading correspondent bank for community banks located in Wisconsin, Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, Michigan and Ohio, announces the addition of new talent to the team.

Chip Hansen – Bankers’ Bank is excited to welcome Chip Hansen as vice president – commercial banker. In this new role, Hansen is responsible for building, developing, and strengthening relationships with banks in Iowa and partnering with them to meet their commercial lending needs. He has more than 20 years of experience in the banking industry with a majority of his career spent as a community banker in Iowa. Hansen is excited to use his experience as a community banker to better assist and meet the needs of his customers. He holds a bachelor’s degree in finance from Iowa State University and is an Eagle Scout recipient.

Dan Dockendorff – Bankers’ Bank welcomes Dan Dockendorff as vice president – mortgage technology. In his new role, Dockendorff is responsible to administer the bank’s mortgage systems and ensure the technology runs at peak performance for customers. As part of the mortgage management team, he will identify and implement new solutions, recommend improvements within existing solutions, and implement efficiencies across internal teams. Dockendorff has over 25 years of technology experience, with 15 directly focused in the financial services field and working at banks. He’s held roles working on every aspect of mortgage technology solutions, from point-of-sale to origination to servicing/default activities to secondary marketing solutions. His background also includes Agile software development and Lean Six Sigma. He is most excited to bring innovation to Bankers’ Bank through efficiencies to the mortgage process to improve customer experience and move to a completely digitized mortgage solution. Dockendorff holds a master’s of software design and development and a bachelors of arts, computer science from the University of St. Thomas. He is a U.S. Army Veteran who was awarded the Department of Defense ESGR Patriot Award.

Sonja Cheadle – Bankers’ Bank welcomes Sonja Cheadle as vice president – wealth management. In her new role, she is responsible for working with community bank broker partners and their individual clients and supporting the wealth management department. Cheadle has more than 20 years of experience in the industry primarily in the private client side of a broker/dealer as an operations supervisor. She is excited to share her knowledge and experience with the Bankers’ Bank team as well as the bank’s partners. Cheadle holds a bachelor’s of arts in psychology and sociology and holds a Series 7, 63, 24 and just completed and passed her Series 65 exam.

Triangle Background

Pictured left to right are: Steve Donovan, CSB executive vice president and Becky McClelland, CSB assistant vice president – Burlington market president.

Community State Bank (CSB) was recently honored with the 2021 Wisconsin Small Business Administration (SBA) Volume Lender Award (Asset Size $500 million–$1 billion). CSB has once again been recognized for their commitment towards supporting small businesses through SBA loans and services. This is the second time that the bank has earned this mark of distinction.

CSB was presented with the award on Thursday, May 19 at the Wisconsin Lenders Conference in Wisconsin Dells. Becky McClelland (CSB AVP – market president), Jackie Kolbeck (CSB AVP – commercial loan processing), Nicholas Borth (CSB AVP – market president), and Steve Donovan (CSB executive vice president) were some of the Community State Bank staff in attendance to accept the award.

“I’m extremely proud of the efforts put forth by our business banking and loan operations teams,” said Donovan. “Our purpose is to provide opportunity for local business owners to grow and develop and I know our team is committed to accomplishing this in each of our market areas. Thank you to all of the businesses that chose CSB as their financial partner.”

Eighteen lenders were recognized by the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Wisconsin office in 15 volume and specialty categories for 2021. SBA-approved lenders made an unprecedented $1.074 billion via 1744 loans to Wisconsin small businesses from October 1, 2020 to Sept. 30, 2021. Community State Bank had 64 approved 7(a) loans totaling over $19 million, marking the second highest number of approved loans in the state of Wisconsin regardless of institution asset size.

In the next few weeks, CSB will be sharing success stories of featured SBA businesses on their Providing Opportunity blog, which can be viewed at CSB.bank/providing-opportunity.

Bank of Wisconsin Dells would like to extend their congratulations to Kevin Bernander and Lori Schultz for their 40th anniversaries with the bank!

Kevin Bernander

Senior Vice President and Chief Credit Officer Kevin Bernander began his career with Bank of Wisconsin Dells in 1981 as a consumer lender, eventually transitioning to the Lake Delton branch manager where he directed all branch operations and later served as the chief lending officer for a period of 13 years. In 2017, Bernander was promoted to senior VP – chief credit officer where he oversees and leads the credit department on behalf of Bank of Wisconsin Dells.

“It’s been a blast,” says Bernander. “Watching our customers and staff grow and become successful has been one of the many things I like most about working here. I am happy to be a part of it all.”

We are beyond grateful for Bernander’s dedication and service to the the BWD team and this community throughout his 40 years. Congratulations and thank you, Kevin!

Lori Schultz

Bank of Wisconsin Dells would also like to congratulate Assistant Vice President and Branch Manager of our Lake Delton Branch Lori Schultz. Schultz started her career at BWD as a customer service representative (CSR) at our Lake Delton Branch. In 1995, she became the CSR coordinator and in 1998 she became the CSR branch supervisor. Schultz added the role of branch operations manager in 2009 and then was promoted to her current role in 2012.

“I am very grateful for the opportunity to work at BWD,” says Schultz. “I have met so many wonderful customers and it has been a privilege to support them and the community. It has also been a pleasure to work with such great coworkers who have especially made all of these years a bonus and treasured time.”

Bank of Wisconsin Dells sincerely appreciates Schultz’s hard work and dedication to the Dells/Delton communities and congratulates her on her 40th anniversary!

Lisa Hower, financial literacy coordinator, showing a student how to use the eTeller on Future Fund Deposit Day.

Learning never stops. Some skills, such as money management, will always be essential — no matter the circumstances. The staff at The Stephenson National Bank & Trust (SNBT) believes that teaching children about saving money at a young age sets the groundwork for a successful financial feature. Finding creative ways to educate children and connect with the community is just one way SNBT celebrated National Teach Children to Save Day, which took place during Financial Literacy Month in April.

This year, staff members gave presentations at schools in Marinette, Menominee, Stephenson, Wausaukee, and Crivitz to share savings lessons with K–8th grade students. “This is such a rewarding experience for SNBT volunteers and myself. It is a joy to see the next generation getting excited about saving money for their future! I absolutely love this program and everything that it has to offer to our community schools. All of the time and effort put into Teach Children to Save is well worth it when we are in the classroom, engaging with the students and seeing them really process what saving money can do for their future.” said Lisa Hower, financial literacy coordinator.

SNBT continued teaching children about saving into the month of May by participating in the M&M Area Community Foundation’s Future Fund Deposit Day. SNBT offices in Pembine, Wausaukee, and Marinette welcomed local second grade classes into their branches to teach them how to deposit money and the importance of saving. Before leaving the bank, each student was given a coloring sheet that asked what they were saving for; these coloring sheets will be displayed in each branch through May.

Triangle Background

Allan Michalski

The Board of Directors of Forward Bank has voted to elect Allan Michalski to be the chairman of the Board at their April meeting.

Michalski joined the Board of Directors in June 17, 2008 and has served on numerous committees including Audit, Compensation, and Loan. He replaces outgoing Board Chair John Marshall who will continue as an active member of the bank and holding company Boards and has been formally appointed Past Chair.

Michalski is the chief financial officer of Felker Brothers Corp. in Marshfield. He lives the Forward Bank mission with his community activities in the Marshfield area including being a past board member of the United Way, Marshfield Economic Development, and Marshfield Area Chamber of Commerce & Industry as well as a past member of the Central WI Economic Development Revolving Loan Fund board.

“Al’s approach to leadership as a member of the Board has always been admired by the Executive team and employees of Forward,” said Bill Sennholz, CEO of Forward Bank. “He has a unique ability to question and support new initiatives at the same time, which makes our strategic planning process strong and helps drive us to new successes.”

Triangle Background

Headshot, Scott Birrenkott Assistant Director – LegalThe Wisconsin Bankers Association (WBA) is excited to announce that Scott Birrenkott has been promoted to director – legal. Birrenkott joined WBA in June of 2015 as assistant director – legal and over the past seven years has provided WBA members with current information on the banking industry’s constantly changing regulatory, legislative, and judicial requirements. As director – legal, Birrenkott will continue to collaborate with the WBA Government Relations team on advocacy efforts, speak at WBA education programs, and act as senior writer for the WBA Compliance Journal.

Triangle Background

Community State Bank (CSB) is pleased to announce the promotion of two team members to banking officers. Eloissa (Ellie) Heigl has been promoted to the position of media and communications director, and William (Bill) Fliess has been promoted to the position of assistant vice president – credit review manager.

Ellie Heigl

As media and communications director, Heigl is responsible for helping develop messaging, branding, content, and other communication pieces to help promote CSB, and Shepherds Community Café to our local communities. These communication channels include social media, podcasts, website development, and press releases regarding important information about the bank.

“Ellie has been an important part of CSB for nearly 10 years, and I’ve worked closely with her as part of the marketing team for the last seven,” said Gregory Wall, chief innovation officer for CSB. “She has an incredible ability to help tell the bank’s story, and the stories of our customers and communities. She connects with her audience in an authentic way and is able to really communicate how CSB is different. I want to congratulate Ellie on her accomplishments, and thank her for her dedication to our team.”

Bill Fliess

Bill Fliess joined CSB in 2017 and has been an integral part of the credit review team since that time. In his new role as credit review manager, Fliess will oversee and help develop other
members of the credit review team. Fliess is also responsible for reviewing credit worthiness of business loan applicants, and making recommendations to the Board of Directors for approval of loans. Fliess is also responsible for keeping the bank’s credit review policies up-to-date and in compliance with all local, state, and federal regulations.

“Bill is a dedicated and hard working member of this organization,” said CSB President & CEO Scott Huedepohl. “His area is critical to the success of Community State Bank, and I’m excited to see where he’ll lead his team.” Huedepohl continued, “I want to congratulate both Bill and Ellie on their new opportunities, and look forward to their continued success.”

Both promotions were announced internally to CSB team members in April 2022 and were effective immediately.

Jan Schmidt participating in Teach Children to Save Day on April 28.

Last month during Teach Children to Save Day, Mayville Savings Bank’s own Jan Schmidt, Customer Service Representative, participated by reading to students and teaching the importance of developing good saving and spending habits. After the reading, Schmidt provided the students with several worksheets and a “gold coin” chocolate treat.

Connect with peers, expand your compliance knowledge

As the Wisconsin Bankers Association (WBA) enters the 2022–2023 fiscal year beginning in June, do not forget to renew or join the membership of the WBA Compliance Forum. Whether you are looking for more opportunities to connect with your compliance peers or would like to gain CLE and other compliance certifications*, WBA’s annual Compliance Forum membership provides various opportunities to expand your network and further develop your understanding of state-specific and national compliance matters.

The registration fee includes attendance of all three forums for two individuals from each bank. Additionally, these two primary members will also gain access to the highly active WBA Compliance Forum Google group. All Wisconsin bank compliance professionals and bank legal counsel are encouraged to attend each of the sessions to gain in-depth information on key compliance issues. Any additional bank staff can be registered by the bank’s primary contacts for an additional fee.

“WBA’s Compliance Forum is the place to get updates on recent trends, hear from experts on emerging topics, and connect with other compliance professionals,” says Scott Birrenkott, WBA director – legal and session speaker. “Each session provides great networking opportunities and the ability to share experiences.”

WBA’s Compliance Forum is WBA’s premier Wisconsin-specific program focused on presenting updates and addressing the latest hot topics in compliance. The first session, to be held on June 28 at the Kalahari Convention Center in Wisconsin Dells, will include discussions on areas such as fair lending, disparate impact, cryptocurrency, and the recently revised Wisconsin Unclaimed Property Act.

“As a subject matter, banking compliance is unique in that it manages to be simultaneously vast, yet also nuanced. It can be tough to sift through, which is why opportunities to meet, stay abreast of trends, and discuss with peers are so valuable,” adds Birrenkott.

Those interested in joining a passionate group of compliance bankers or renewing their membership for WBA’s 2022–2023 Compliance Forum should visit wisbank.com/forum. Questions regarding membership opportunities or upcoming Compliance Forum sessions can be directed to Lori Kalscheuer, WBA director – education.