It seems inevitable that Charles Schmalz would be CEO of East Wisconsin Savings Bank. No, not because his father and grandfather both took turns steering the mutual savings institution. In fact, he’s rather surprised to be running the family business. But because one thing has always been true of banking—people want to give their money to someone they can trust—and in Kaukauna, Wis., that someone is Charlie.
A mutual bank, East Wisconsin Savings Bank has been servings its members since 1887. Changes in the past 131 years have been mostly cosmetic. The front entrance to the corporate office—a brightly-lit modern building situated on a classic small-town main street—remains in its original location. Charlie is the third Schmalz to start his day walking over that threshold, and he makes many loans on the same houses that his father and grandfather made loans on. If only he could keep doing business with a handshake instead of mountains of paperwork, he says with a chuckle.
He’d never say it himself, but that relational touch is what makes him exceptional at the job. “He’s very personable,” says colleague and friend Rose Oswald Poels, president and CEO of the Wisconsin Bankers Association. “He reaches out to people in the community and wants to help anybody when they’re in need. He cares a lot about his fellow community bankers.”
Read more in Banking Journal.