Associated Bank provided a $250K grant to Golden House, a domestic violence program serving victims in Brown County for its On the Rise capital campaign.

Golden House On the Rise capital campaign kicked off to raise money for a new facility and support services. The campaign supports greater Green Bay needs in providing safety and support for victims of domestic abuse while leading efforts to end domestic violence in the community. The grant also supports the growing need to shelter traumatized families and children, enhance security and privacy, and adapt to changing care needs due to the pandemic. Golden House has a goal of raising $9.5 million and is currently at $7 million.

“Associated Bank supports Golden House and their efforts to end domestic violence in our community,” said Angie DeWitt, executive president, chief human resources officer, Associated Bank, current member of Golden House capital campaign cabinet and former Golden House board of director member.

In observation of Domestic Violence Awareness Month in October, Associated Bank’s Women’s Colleague Resource Group (CRG) will be offering colleagues opportunities to increase their awareness of domestic violence and support those in need. This includes an educational workshop in collaboration with Golden House, in-person and virtual collection drives for domestic violence centers across the bank’s footprint (Wisconsin, Illinois, and Minnesota), and volunteer opportunities to assemble tie blankets for local shelters.

“The safety and well-being of our colleagues is of the upmost importance. As a business leader, we need to recognize the warning signs of domestic violence, start the conversation and be educated on community resources,” said DeWitt.

Associated Bank’s grant will help Golden House:

  • Align with the mission of Golden House, to provide safety, support, and healing to victims of domestic abuse.
  • Serve more people and serve them better. Golden House will meet the growing need to shelter traumatized families and children by doubling its capacity.
  • Adapt to changing care needs due to the pandemic, including emergency off site shelter, advocacy and addressing health and safety needs with interim facility accommodations.
  • Increase outreach office space, which will provide more opportunity for advocacy and mental-health services, collaborative wellness and educational opportunities, prevention activities for children experiencing domestic violence, and survivor-driven supportive programming.

“Golden House is appreciative of Associated Bank’s commitment to support hundreds of people every year with counseling, advocacy, emergency shelter, and other services as clients begin their journey of healing,” said Dina Borremans, development director, Golden House.

Triangle Background

Pictured (left to right) are: WBA President and CEO Rose Oswald Poels and Darren Winkler.

On September 8, Darren Winkler, president and CEO of Bank of Deerfield was presented with WBA’s Lifetime of Service Award for this tenure in the banking industry. In total, Winkler has been with the bank for 30 years and had several years of prior banking experience. Congratulations, Darren!

Triangle Background

By Jennifer Sobotta

Attending and enjoying the June BOLT Summer Leadership Summit, listening to the speakers, and connecting with old and now new friends makes me think of how I got to be where I am today. This year’s BOLT Summer Leadership Summit made me think of it even more as we talked about career pathing. So much so, that during my next turn at the podium I introduced myself as “Jen, the Accidental Banker.”

During my studies at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point back in the 90s, I had no intention of going into banking. I wanted to be a marketer after all and didn’t (and still don’t) care for numbers enough to be a lender. That was how I looked at banking back then — only the positions that you would see walking in as a customer.

My senior year, with the help of UWSP Career Services, I sent over 80 resumes, had 30 interviews, nine second interviews, and three job offers. Not one was in the financial services industry.

My first real job was on a marketing team at a rural hospital/nursing home. It was very community focused and located in a lovely rural area. I had the chance to learn from an experienced leader more than tactical marketing, but the art of navigating internal meetings, public relations, and community events.

When it came time to look for more growth with another company, a friend recommended a local bank that was expanding. I took a chance and happily joined the team at the end of 1998 with a lot to learn. My mentor there had led teams at a few other banks previously and shared her expertise constantly. My path to where I am today wasn’t straight, but it was paved by leaders willing to share. That’s an important lesson.

Within two years, that mentor retired, and I took a leap of faith that I could be the next marketing director. The bank took a chance on me and invested in me as I grew as a leader. They sent me on to the ABA School of Bank Marketing & Management and countless other conferences and seminars to learn new methods and software to fine-tune my craft. Through the years, I built my team up to three in the marketing department, and the bank grew to $500 Million in assets and 14 locations. Yet, it was again time to move on to the next challenge.

I received a call from an old colleague, a lender who I didn’t always have a chance to talk with much. He told me about the opening at Forward and encouraged me to apply. That gentleman has risen to the role of president and is the leader I now report to. A great lesson that every interaction with people is important — you don’t know when and what is noticed.

The past 12 years have been a blur, much like when you are speeding down a highway. I’ve seen the same level of investment in me as a team member and more in all of us as leaders. We all challenge each other to innovate, to remove the traditional roadblocks, and push back at the naysayer mindset sometimes found in financial services. We understand that banking isn’t a transaction, it’s now an experience.

Forward is now approaching $1 billion in assets with 12 locations, seven insurance offices, and three investment offices. When I look around, there are many accidental bankers like me with the list growing each year.

As the current Building Our Leaders of Tomorrow (BOLT) Board chair and thinking of the time spent working with and learning from the Wisconsin Bankers Association (WBA), we are all lucky to have this resource. From serving on the Marketing Committee, then as its chair to being part of BOLT and now proud to be this year’s chair, I wonder what will be next. Where else can I continue to learn and lead through that process?

One final lesson that has stayed with me for over 20 years. My 90-year-old grandfather swung a golf club for the first time as I was practicing in the yard after his birthday party. Knowing he would never play a course, I asked him why even learn to swing the club. He told me, “you never stop learning until you leave this earth.” Best lesson ever.

I may not have chosen initially to be a banker, but the path I’ve taken has been created by the lessons of leaders around me. Good luck on your journey.

Interested in attending the next BOLT Summit?

Pictured (left to right) are: Ami Myrland, Justin Hart, and Ken Thompson.

The Board of Directors of Capitol Bank has announced an expansion of the bank’s leadership team. Justin Hart has been promoted to president and Ami Myrland to executive vice president. Ken Thompson will remain as CEO and chairman of the Board.

Hart has been with Capitol Bank since 2007 and most recently held the title of senior vice president – senior lender. As president, Hart will provide organizational leadership in all areas of the bank, with an emphasis on lending and commercial banking. Hart holds a B.S. in finance from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and an MBA from Edgewood College. He currently serves on the board of directors for American Family Children’s Hospital and Second Harvest Foodbank of Southern Wisconsin. Hart is a 2021 recipient of the Independent Community Bankers of America 40 Under 40 award. Following Jim Dolister and Ken Thompson’s leadership, Hart will be just the third person in the history of Capitol Bank to hold the title of president.

Myrland joined Capitol Bank as senior vice president – chief financial officer (CFO) in 2019 and has more than 20 years of banking experience. In her role as executive vice president, Myrland will retain the role of CFO and focus on the areas of retail, finance, marketing, technology, and human resources. Myrland holds a B.S. in Accounting and Finance from Edgewood College. She currently serves on the FHLB of Chicago member advisory committee and also on the boards of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and the Wisconsin Bankers Foundation. Myrland is also a 2022 recipient of the Independent Community Bankers of America 40 Under 40 award.

“With the growth Capitol Bank has experienced this year, reaching $520 million in assets and opening a third location, an expansion of the leadership team was in the bank’s best interest,” said Thompson. “Strong leadership that invests in our community while driving a customer-focused approach to banking is key to the future success of Capitol Bank. I’m honored to expand Justin and Ami’s roles within the bank and look forward to the positive impact these changes will have for our customers, employees, and shareholders”.

Triangle Background

Prevail Bank is pleased to announce that Brenda Trump has joined the Eau Claire team as branch manager and Scott Rannila has joined the Eau Claire team as a vice president & commercial banking officer.

Brenda Trump

Trump has over 20 years of banking experience, from business development and marketing, to mortgage underwriting and lending officer, to controller and branch management.

“I’m excited to have Brenda join our team,” said Renée Leinfelder, senior vice president of retail. “Her wealth of knowledge and years of customer service and banking experience will make her transition seamless. I look forward to working with her and watching her build relationships with our customers.”

“I chose Prevail Bank for many different reasons,” said Trump. “First and foremost, I support Prevail Bank’s mission 110%. I will always help customers, employees, and communities obtain their financial goals to the best of ability. It is so rewarding to be their trusted advisor and a part of their success.”

Trump and her husband, Bill, moved to Wisconsin from Arizona earlier this year. She’s already expressed an appreciation of Wisconsin’s cheeses and the abundance of freshwater lakes to fish.

“Moving to Eau Claire has been a great experience for us,” said Trump. “We have thoroughly enjoyed the farmers markets and what they have to offer, along with the lakes, the downtown murals, and the beautiful countryside.”

Trump enjoys reading, fishing, and spending time with family and friends. She’s a fan of the Bears, the Cubs, and the Blackhawks — a result of living in Illinois for numerous years prior to Arizona. Her two grown sons are split between those states; one lives in Buckeye, Ariz., the other in Peru, Ill.

Scott Rannila

Rannila, the bank’s newest vice president & commercial banking officer, brings decades of private banking, wealth management, and commercial lending experience to the full-service business team of Prevail Bank.

“We are excited to have Scott join our team,” said Craig Philipp, Prevail Bank’s chief commercial lender. “Scott has spent the past 20+ years in various roles working with families and businesses to achieve their financial goals. He has several professional designations and certifications, is a true advocate and strategist for his customers, results-oriented, and actively involved in the community. Scott’s talents and attributes will allow him to continue to meet and exceed customer expectations.”

“I chose Prevail Bank because I believe it offers the best of a community bank feel with the capabilities of a larger financial institution,” said Rannila. “I’m excited to help Prevail grow their presence and market share in the Chippewa Valley!”

Over the past 10+ years Rannila is or has served as a board director for Downtown Eau Claire, Inc., Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwest Wisconsin, and as a Rotarian with the Eau Claire Noon Club. Outside of the office, Rannila and his wife Jamie are busy raising three very active thirteen year olds; Jack, Jordan, and Addisontriplets! He is an active youth sports coach, enjoys cheering on his favorite sports teams, and a few rounds of golf every now and then.

Matt Fischer

Waukesha State Bank is pleased to announce the promotion of Matt Fischer to bank manager of its Sussex office and Tracy Moehle to bank manager of its Mukwonago office.

In their new positions, Fischer and Moehle will be responsible for all aspects of daily operations — including business development, personnel management, customer service, lending, relationship management, and community involvement at their respective offices.

“We applaud Matt and Tracy’s commitment and enthusiasm for taking on leadership roles in key markets we serve,” stated Devon Arnold, Waukesha State Bank senior vice president – retail banking manager. “These promotions are well deserved and reflective of the commitment they both make to their respective customers.”

Tracy Moehle

Fischer started his career with Waukesha State Bank in 2016 as a teller at the Oconomowoc office. In May of 2018, his exceptional customer service and teamwork earned him promotions to customer service representative and assistant team supervisor. Later that same year, he transferred to the bank’s Prairie Trust division as a trust associate, supporting Prairie’s personal trust administrators. In May of 2020, Fischer returned to the retail side of the bank, and in 2021 he was promoted to personal banker of the E. Main Street office in Waukesha.

Fischer earned his bachelor’s degree in marketing from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. He is active in the community serving as board chair for Waukesha State Bank’s internal volunteer group, Helping Hearts. Through the group, he organizes various volunteer projects and community service opportunities throughout the year. Fischer currently resides in Oconomowoc.

Moehle joined Waukesha State Bank in September of 2021 as a personal banker at the Downtown Waukesha office. She brought with her over 12 years of banking experience, including a year of Waukesha State Bank personal banking and loan servicing experience from 2018. She and her family currently reside in Greendale.

Pictured (left to right) are: Heather Tyler, One Community Bank; Carrie Schraeder, One Community Bank; Aaron Backer, WAGS; and Breeze (front).

One Community Bank is proud to continue investing in the surrounding communities. To celebrate its two-year anniversary as One Community Bank, colleagues selected the non-profit Wisconsin Academy for Graduate Service Dogs (WAGS) for a $1,000 donation.

The team at WAGS is passionate about promoting functional independence and improving the quality of life for people with physical disabilities with highly skilled service dogs. They have facilitated the partnership of more than 250 service dogs for people with physical disabilities such as multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injury, cerebral palsy, neuromuscular disease, and injuries associated with combat veterans.

“For our clients, a WAGS dog provides practical physical assistance and unconditional love and companionship. We are grateful to the team at One Community Bank for their donation. We plan to use the donation towards the purchase of our next puppy” said Aaron Backer, executive director of WAGS.

“One Community Bank is thrilled to deepen our relationship with WAGS and contribute to the impact they are making in our communities to help people with disabilities. We believe in investing in our communities and are excited to present WAGS with a $1,000 donation. This organization is very deserving of this donation” said Steve Peotter, president and CEO of One Community Bank.

One Community Bank remains committed to investing in our communities and is proud to support this feel good organization.

Bank policies, procedures assist in determining the risk associated with minors

By Scott Birrenkott

Q: Can Banks Contract with Minors

A: Yes, depending on policies and procedures.

WBA frequently receives questions regarding the ability of minors to enter into a contract. No rule or regulation prohibits a bank from contracting with a minor. However, a minor can escape liability under the contract. Meaning, a minor could avoid liability from a bank seeking to hold a minor accountable for terms under the contract. Thus, banks are free to enter into contracts with minors, but must decide so as a matter of risk.

The ability of a minor to escape liability or void a contract is often referred to as the doctrine of incapacity. This is a common law term, meaning, generally, a concept under the law that is derived from judicial precedent rather than statute. As such, there is no specific rule governing contracting with a minor. It also means that there is no specific point at which a minor is deemed “competent.” If a minor attempts to escape liability under contract, it would be up to the bank to attempt to enforce the contract against the minor, and up to a court to decide.

It is important to understand the theory behind the doctrine of incapacity. Generally speaking, the theory is that a minor has not developed enough to understand the significance of contracting and thus may potentially escape liability. Because it is not readily defined, a court could find that someone who has attained the age of 18, or older, still hasn’t matured enough to understand that significance and might be permitted to void the contract.

When it comes to minor accounts, WBA generally recommends that banks consider the use of a WUTMA account. A WUTMA account is created under Wisconsin’s Uniform Transfers to Minors Act, which provides certain requirements, procedures, and responsibilities. Thus, it creates a means for a bank to open an account with an understanding of what rules apply to the relationship between the minor, the adult custodian, and the bank. While WUTMA provides for this certainty, banks should be careful before opening custodial accounts that are not governed by WUTMA, as it would leave questions as to how the account would be handled.

As a result, banks must decide, as a matter of business and policy, whether they are willing to contract with minors. This includes both deposit and loan account relationships. For the above reasons, financial institutions should consult with their policies and procedures regarding contracting with minors.

For any questions on this, or other matters, you may reach WBA legal at wbalegal@wisbank.com or 608-441-1200.

Rose Oswald PoelsBy Rose Oswald Poels

The Society of Bank Executives, a nationwide organization for building new connections and accessing accelerated programing related to leadership, is looking ahead to the official launch in January 2023. Currently, the Society is comprised of over 120 executives from 15 states, including several from Wisconsin, and these bankers are participating in the pre-launch cohort this fall.

As I have announced in previous publications, the Society was established by several banking trade groups across the country — including WBA — to promote individual professional development. The initiative focuses specifically on granting C-suite bankers the opportunity to network among peers, attend relevant and flexible education seminars by experts, and enhance critical leadership competencies and skills.

As we all work to navigate within our ever-evolving industry, I encourage you to consider the importance of taking part in opportunities such as the Society of Bank Executives. Unlike other leadership seminars, the program offers bankers not just the education, but the relationships and soft skills necessary to masterfully lead our banks. In addition to studying, analyzing, and applying knowledge learned during the four-month program, bank executives will form invaluable networks among peers outside of our markets.

Although the pre-launch session is in full swing, Wisconsin bankers are invited to join the Society during its third meeting in Sun Valley, Idaho. The three-day event focuses specifically on the power of peer groups, and will kick off on October 19. I encourage bank executives who have not already registered for Society membership to consider utilizing this opportunity to garner a sneak peek of what’s in store for programing as the initiative formally launches in January.

Thank you to those Wisconsin bankers who have already registered as a member the Society. If you would like to learn more about the Society and how its program could impact your bank, please visit executives.bank/home. Additionally, if you are interested in taking part in the Society’s upcoming in-person educational event in Sun Valley, please click here for details on how to register.

Triangle Background

Pictured (left to right): Back – Cherie Lenz and Bobbi Taylor, Prevail Bank professionals. Front – Landon and Dakotah Patrie.

4-H-ers have to be in 3rd grade to sell their prize winning livestock from the Price County Fair at the “Market Animal Auction”. Dakotah and Landon Patrie knew this as they watched the older children parade their animals in the market ring. Cherie Lenz noticed their sad faces and witnessed the interaction between them and their grandmother as she explained the rules and said, “Someday you will be able to show your animals in the ring.” That comment prompted Lenz to step forward, politely introduce herself, and extend an offer to purchase Dakotah’s and Landon’s sheep for $1,000. Lenz, who was representing Prevail Bank that day, turned heartache to happiness.

But Prevail Bank didn’t stop there. The bank donated the 126 lbs. of lamb chops, burger, steaks, and roasts to St Vincent DePaul’s Food Pantry in Phillips to help provide a reprieve for the 211 households who struggle to make ends meet.

Pictured (left to right) are: Patricia Melby, St Vincent DePaul’s Food Pantry, and Bobbi Taylor, Prevail Bank professional.

“We are excited to support so many people through one action,” said Lenz, Prevail Bank branch manager. “We (Prevail Bank) supported two future farmers or young entrepreneurs through the purchase of their sheep; in addition to providing fresh meat for hundreds of people who are hungry in Price County. Solving problems, fulfilling dreams — that’s what we do at Prevail.”

Prevail Bank has heart and compassion,” said Kendal Patrie, mother of Dakotah and Landon. “It’s hard to put into words how much Cherie’s actions affected our family that day. It will always be remembered.”

Prevail Bank’s core values are: Put people first; be a solution seeker; do the right thing; take ownership. Cherie Lenz fulfilled all four of those philosophies on Friday, August 26.