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 2011 and 2017.


On July 5, the struggling Marshall & Ilsley Corp, founded in Milwaukee in 1847 and a founding institution of the WBA, is acquired by Canada’s BMO (Bank of Montreal) Financial Group for $4.1 billion. M&I is combined with BMO’s Harris Bank to become BMO Harris Bank.

Tens of thousands of protesters gather in Madison’s Capitol Square to protest Governor Scott Walker’s Act 10, legislation which stripped collective bargaining rights from nearly all public employees.

Rose Oswald Poels, WBA senior vice president and senior counsel, becomes the first woman to hold the position of WBA president/CEO.


On June 5, Gov. Walker becomes the first of three governors to survive a recall election, defeating Democratic opponent and Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett.


The Wisconsin Bankers Foundation is created to empower consumers through financial education and research.


On February 27, the Community Bankers of Wisconsin and the Wisconsin Bankers Association sign merger papers, finalizing the decision made in December with an overwhelming number of positive votes submitted by both association memberships. The combined associations merge to provide a united voice for Wisconsin’s banking industry.


The Republican presidential primary race attracts a record-breaking 17 major candidates, including Gov. Walker, who dropped out prior to the February 1 primary due to low polling numbers. On November 8, businessman Donald J. Trump becomes president-elect after an upset victory over Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton in the general election.

On June 1, Cynthia Erdman, president of Partnership Bank, Tomah, becomes the first woman to hold the position of WBA Chair.


As of January 5, there are 222 banks headquartered in Wisconsin. WBA celebrates 125 years of serving Wisconsin’s banking industry.

Each issue of Wisconsin Banker from 2017 featured historical events from the past 125 years. Thank you for taking this trip through history with us!