Wisconsin’s bankers are the definition of “community advocates” in all that you do every day to improve your local economy through your bank’s products and services, as well as through your generous philanthropy of time and money. This column shares and celebrates the diverse backgrounds, experiences, perspectives, and innovation of some of the extraordinary bankers in this state.
The following is a brief interview between WBA President and CEO Rose Oswald Poels and Bonduel Bank President David D. Schultz.
Rose: How did you first get into the banking industry?
Dave: My father was a banker in Weyauwega, as was his father-in-law, so I am not sure it was fate or just not thinking too hard about a career in banking when I graduated from Carroll College (now University) in 1981. I did find out quite quickly that there were not many jobs out there at that time. I was offered a job with a finance company after several interviews but was told I probably wouldn’t last with them as I would jump to a bank when the chance came. I felt that was probably true and decided to pass and hope for the best. Fortunately, Tom Martin with the Independence Bank group in Waukesha had checked with Carroll College for a candidate for their bank in Elkhorn. After five years there and a couple mergers, I was contacted about a position at Bonduel state Bank and have been here ever since.
What is your favorite aspect of your role at your bank?
Even though I never worked with my father at his bank, I was very aware of what he did and could see how much he enjoyed working with and being a part of the community. I am sure this is the biggest reason I got into the business. There is no doubt that in a bank, especially a small community bank, you have to like working with your customers and fellow employees.
What do you wish the general public understood about the banking industry?
As enjoyable as working with people to accomplish their goals is, it is not as much fun trying to inform them of all the regulations and red tape that we have to go through to get the job done for them. Most don’t want to hear why they have to give us their life history, wait so long and sign so many forms. As I tell them, this is banking, common sense has nothing to do with it.
Where do you believe the industry’s greatest challenges are in the next three to five years?
I believe that the greatest challenges our industry is facing is non-bank competition and cyber security.
Please describe your current role at your bank and share with us one of your more rewarding experiences.
I have been president here for about 10 years now and continue to wear many hats as everyone at a small bank does. Lending continues to be the most rewarding part of the job as it is fun help a young couple buy their first car or first house. The smiles on their faces make it all worthwhile. And being in a small town you have to be a part of the community and work with the people who are your customers and the reason you have the job at the bank. Without those people there would be no bank. It has been most enjoyable getting to know all the family connections and history in the area, even though I will always be an outsider even after 35 years here.
Do you know a banker who should be recognized as a Community Advocate for the work that they do? Nominate them today by emailing Rose!