As part of its 125th Anniversary celebration, WBA is digging deep into its archives to share a variety of historic gems. In this particular case, we’ve created a timeline of significant events related to Wisconsin’s banking industry that occurred between 1981 and 1990.

Farm land values begin plummeting, but Wisconsin's rural banks persevere despite many failures in other states. Wisconsin's first bank-owned bank opens for business after WBA and individual bankers cooperate to draft legislation and issue stock. 

Major banks work to head off the Third World debt crisis. 

A flurry of acquisitions and other activity strikes Wisconsin banking; the state reports 11 consolidations, 20 name and location changes, 18 new branches, and one new state bank. 

The changes from the previous year continue; the state reports nine branch openings, one new state charter, 21 name changes and nine consolidations. Another 32 banks increase their capital stock. 

Wisconsin's 173 farm banks escape the loan deterioration problems plaguing banks in the agricultural regions of other states. A surge in real estate sales and mortgage refinancing improves Wisconsin bank loan portfolios. 

Wisconsin Governor Anthony Earl signs a bill allowing reciprocal interstate banking with eight states; First Wisconsin buys an Illinois bank group under the new regional banking compact. The average Wisconsin state bank holds $53 million in assets; the average Wisconsin national bank holds $139 million. The first hints of the savings-and-loan debacle reach the federal government as U.S. senators begin debating a bailout. 

Banc One of Ohio acquires Wisconsin's Marine Corporation in a major interstate merger. Despite the stock crash and plunge in nationwide profits, Wisconsin banks improve in condition; the number of problem banks actually declines by almost 30 percent. 

Total Wisconsin bank assets grow by 5 percent (to $42.7 billion) despite the problems pervading financial institutions elsewhere. The Office of the Commissioner of Banking gets new powers, including cease and desist authority. 

The Wisconsin Legislature allows statewide branch banking. The total number of banking offices continues to increase while the number of chartered banks decreases from 530 to 519. 

Historical events compiled from "Good as Gold - A History of Banking in Wisconsin," Copyright © 1992 by Wisconsin Bankers Association.