Wisconsin banks started the year 2022 strong with total assets up 5.04% year over year from March 31, 2021 to March 31, 2022. Despite concerns about rising inflation, total deposits were up 7.08% for the same period. The financial health of consumers was also evidenced by a 20.88% year-over-year decrease in noncurrent loans and leases.

Notable indicators include:

  • Residential lending slowed only slightly as the housing market remained a hot sellers’ market.
  • Commercial lending decreased 14.42% year over year. Supply chain issues and worker shortages continue to inhibit business growth and cause hesitancy among business owners to take out loans.
  • Credit quality continues to improve as more borrowers are keeping up to date with their payments. Noncurrent loans and leases decreased 20.88% year over year and 5.69% quarter over quarter.

Statement on the release of first-quarter 2022 Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) numbers from Rose Oswald Poels, president and CEO of the Wisconsin Bankers Association:

“Wisconsin’s banking industry stands poised to meet the banking needs of Wisconsinites in 2022 as government pandemic relief funding phases out. Bankers will be keeping a close eye on global supply chain and geopolitical issues as well as the Fed’s rising interest rates going into the rest of the year.”

FDIC-Reported Wisconsin Numbers (Dollar Figures in Thousands)

Molly Knoll has been promoted to vice president – senior commercial lender at Forward Bank. In this role, she will continue to provide exceptional service to businesses in the Medford area and will mentor new commercial lenders in Medford, Phillips, and Park Falls.

Knoll has over 7 years of banking experience in the Medford area with Forward Bank. She joined the team as a relationship banker and quickly moved into the office manager role. In 2018, Knoll expanded her role even further becoming a commercial lender. She was promoted to assistant vice president in 2019 and to a senior commercial lender earlier this year.

She is currently active serving our community as a member of the Gilman Development Foundation, City of Medford Planning Commission, Northwest Regional Planning, Neighbor to Neighbor board, Aspirus Medford Patient Family advisory council, and as the vice president of the Tee-Hi board.

“Molly’s drive and dedication to community has been inspiring to the entire Forward team,” said Dave Clark, president of Forward Bank. “The career path that she has taken with our organization not only helps her provide a broad array of financial advice for her customers, but it also helps her teach and mentor others.”

Robert Zemple

First Business Bank is pleased to welcome Robert Zemple to First Business Bank’s northeast Wisconsin advisory board.

“Bob is highly respected in our northeast Wisconsin business community as a self-made leader,” said Rick Hearden, president of First Business Bank’s northeast Wisconsin market. “We are very lucky to have Bob’s input on our advisory board. He will be an integral part of helping our experienced team.”

Robert Zemple grew up on a family dairy farm in central Wisconsin where he first learned the meaning of hard work and motivation. After graduating from UW-Oshkosh in 1980 with a BBA in accounting, Zemple worked for Schumaker, Romenesko, and Associates (SR&A), a local public accounting firm in Appleton, where he was promoted to shareholder in 1993. SR&A merged in 1999 with Virchow, Krause, and Company (VK), a member firm with Baker Tilly. In 2008, VK adopted the Baker Tilly name, and Zemple retired from Baker Tilly in September 2021 as partner. He led the firm’s manufacturing/distribution industry team for 20 years.

Throughout his career, Zemple has been involved in various boards, including positions on church boards, Heart of the Valley Chamber board from 1989 to 2021, Fox Cities Chamber board from 2014 to 2021, and a member of the Wisconsin Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants since 1983.

Triangle Background

As the only tribe-owned bank in Wisconsin, it was only natural for Bay Bank to reach out and forge a strong relationship with the First American Capital Corporation, Inc. (FACC), a Native Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) organization, certified by the U.S. Department of the Treasury.

While Bay Bank offers a variety of loans and products to businesses, FACC works with many businesses initially unable to qualify for a traditional business loan.

“We share a similar mission — to help Native Americans through economic development,” said Nathan King, Bay Bank’s vice president. “We want to help FACC build its capacity since they can help more small businesses.”

FACC Co-Executive Director Gary Mejchar said working with Bay Bank allows the organization to assist more businesses, including expanding or newly formed tribally owned enterprises. FACC has been especially active in helping and growing construction industry-related firms, a market sector FACC has considerable experience and expertise working in. Those businesses will likely benefit from the 2021 federal infrastructure law since a portion of contracts will have participation goals for qualified businesses with Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) certifications. FACC aids businesses with the DBE and other local/state/federal minority certification programs.

“We can do more together,” Mejchar said. “There are some things Bay Bank cannot do, but we can,” such as providing in-depth pre-loan and post-loan technical services with clients as well as loan readiness assistance and helping businesses grow capacity so they eventually qualify for the credit standards of commercial banks. Likewise, Bay Bank, for example, provides both business and consumer banking services, while FACC can only serve business clients.

Another link between the two organizations is Bay Bank President Jeff Bowman, who helped found FACC and currently sits on the organization’s board of directors. “That’s a great connection between us,” Mejchar said.

Referrals also go between the two organizations. Bay Bank may recommend a customer without enough equity to receive a traditional business loan work with FACC first. Once FACC clients grow and can work with a traditional bank, Bay Bank hopes to be that option, King said.

“FACC fosters economic development in Native communities. They provide great technical assistance that helps businesses grow,” he said.

Based in Hales Corners, a Milwaukee suburb, FACC also provides its clients with business development services, such as assistance with business planning, business management assistance, and financial management assistance, along with application assistance for minority and disadvantaged business certifications.

Although Bay Bank works closely with FACC, King said it also has good relationships with the state’s three other Native-run CDFIs: Wisconsin Native Loan Fund in Lac du Flambeau; First Nations Community Financial in Black River Falls; and NiiJii Capital Partners Inc. in Keshena.

Triangle Background

Karen L. Riemer

Badger Bank is pleased to announce the hiring of Attorney Karen L. Riemer. Attorney Riemer is an experienced legal advisor and administrator with a diverse background in estate planning, business management, and trust administration tax return preparation, probate, and estate resolution. Attorney Riemer particularly enjoys assisting elders with care planning and addressing financial concerns, seeking to preserve relationships within the family, while being an advocate for seniors.

Ms. Riemer is a graduate with honors of The George Washington University in Washington, D.C. with a business administration major and concentration in human resource management. She graduated from Marquette University Law School in 1999. Attorney Riemer is also Certified Senior Professional in human resources by the Society for Human Resource Management.

Attorney Riemer is a member of the NAELA (National Association of Elder Law & Attorneys; Wisconsin Chapter. Riemer is also a member of five sections of the State Bar of Wisconsin, proud member of the Lake Mills Rotary Club, and a member of the Tyranena Ladies Service Club. Attorney Riemer has an extensive history of volunteer work.

“We are very pleased to have Karen join our Badger Bank team. Her talents as a practicing attorney and her local ties will be very beneficial to all our current and future customers. Karen brings a wealth of knowledge and professionalism to our Trust Investment Department and we look forward to her growing our relationships.” Stated CEO Steve Dehnert.

Attorney Riemer joins Certified Trust & Fiduciary Advisor, Ann Herdendorf, in providing Investment and Trust & Estate Services at Badger Bank.

We invite the community to join us in welcoming and congratulating Attorney Karen L. Riemer to Badger Bank.

WaterStone Bank has promoted an assistant branch manager to the role of community president.

Laura Christenson now serves as community president of the bank’s Pewaukee branch (1230 George Towne Dr). Before the promotion, she served as assistant branch manager of the Wauwatosa branch location. Christenson joined WaterStone Bank in September of 2021 from the restaurant industry, where she served in various leadership and training roles over the course of sixteen years.

Christenson’s involvement as a board member of Wauwatosa Crime Stoppers displays her commitment to community and volunteerism. In her spare time, she enjoys all sorts of outdoor activities including camping, hiking, kayaking, winter-skiing, and building snowmen with her 3-year-old. Christenson recently purchased a new home in Lannon and looks forward serving in her new role at Pewaukee branch.

Triangle Background

Luke Kasten

First Business Bank is pleased to welcome Luke Kasten as vice president – wealth advisor to the private wealth group.

“Luke’s outstanding experience and dedication to his clients and our community are great assets and for our growing private wealth team here at First Business Bank,” said Brendan Freeman, president – private wealth for First Business Bank. “We’re so pleased he joined us.”

As vice president – wealth advisor, Kasten strives to deliver unmatched financial insight to his clients and their families. He holds over 17 years of experience in banking, lending, and wealth management, focused on relationship management and development. In previous roles, Kasten served as vice president & senior banking advisor, as well as assistant vice president – private client group with PNC Private Bank and U.S. Bank Private Client Group, respectively.

He earned bachelor’s degrees in justice & public policy as well as accounting from Concordia University–Wisconsin, where he also played on the men’s basketball team.

Kasten enjoys volunteering in the community and he’s a member of the board of directors of PEARLS for Teen Girls, which is focused on improving quality of life and strengthening our community by empowering young women.

First National Bank and Trust Company’s Promise series, Tasha Schuh, visited students in Arcadia, Independence, and Whitehall, May 12–13, 2022.

Three Wisconsin schools recently filed into gymnasiums and auditoriums to hear from speaker, author, and resilience expert, Tasha Schuh, who educates, inspires, and builds resilience for mental and emotional health. The presentation was part of First National Bank and Trust Company’s Promise series visiting over 1,000 middle school and high school students in Arcadia, Independence, and Whitehall, May 12–13, 2022.

This year’s presenter was national speaker, Tasha Schuh, who sees lives impacted and empowered by teaching others how to live a life of resilience, through her speaking engagements and curriculum. Schuh makes an impact and inspires real progress with students’ mental health awareness, along with skill-based coping mechanisms.

Schuh pushed through a life-changing theater accident that left her paralyzed from the chest down at the age of 16 and though has struggled with depression has created a vibrant, fulfilling life. She has dedicated her life to helping youth navigate struggles with mental and emotional health — Schuh is a survivor, a believer, and a fighter.

“Our students need to hear Tasha’s message of hope and perseverance now, more than ever. She reminds us all that we have to develop a positive attitude to get through the tough times, and that it is possible to get through the tough times,” said Independence School District School Counselor Dawn Woychik.

Today, local youth need resiliency skills training. Schuh’s platform shares the need to be equipped with emotional knowledge, so that they can get through uncertain times. She reinforced the four keys to resilience, which are purpose, attitude, team, and hope. Schuh also encouraged anyone to sign up for her free weekly inspirational messages by texting PITCREW to 33222.

“Tasha is inspiring and her message reached so many of our students and staff. We loved having the opportunity to speak with her after the presentation to show appreciation for Tasha’s bravery to share her own story, but to also have our students and staff share their own stories and how they could relate to Tasha’s resilience,” said Whitehall School District Middle School Counselor Taylor Klemme. “Tasha and Doug (Tasha’s husband) do a fantastic job of trying to connect with every person they meet which makes their message even more impactful and personal.”

“Tasha’s message was spot on and did a phenomenal job relating to students and helping others to find their PATH (Purpose, Attitude, Team, Hope). Everyone in the room was able to relate to her message in some way,” said Arcadia Middle/High School Associate Principal and Athletic Director Wyatt Anderson.

Anderson added, “When I asked students about it, one of them said she was ‘The best speaker we’ve ever had.’ Another, when asked what they will take away from Tasha’s message, said ‘Surround yourself with good people,’ clearly referring to the “T” in PATH.”