Robert Zemple

First Business Bank is pleased to welcome Robert Zemple to First Business Bank’s northeast Wisconsin advisory board.

“Bob is highly respected in our northeast Wisconsin business community as a self-made leader,” said Rick Hearden, president of First Business Bank’s northeast Wisconsin market. “We are very lucky to have Bob’s input on our advisory board. He will be an integral part of helping our experienced team.”

Robert Zemple grew up on a family dairy farm in central Wisconsin where he first learned the meaning of hard work and motivation. After graduating from UW-Oshkosh in 1980 with a BBA in accounting, Zemple worked for Schumaker, Romenesko, and Associates (SR&A), a local public accounting firm in Appleton, where he was promoted to shareholder in 1993. SR&A merged in 1999 with Virchow, Krause, and Company (VK), a member firm with Baker Tilly. In 2008, VK adopted the Baker Tilly name, and Zemple retired from Baker Tilly in September 2021 as partner. He led the firm’s manufacturing/distribution industry team for 20 years.

Throughout his career, Zemple has been involved in various boards, including positions on church boards, Heart of the Valley Chamber board from 1989 to 2021, Fox Cities Chamber board from 2014 to 2021, and a member of the Wisconsin Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants since 1983.

Triangle Background

As the only tribe-owned bank in Wisconsin, it was only natural for Bay Bank to reach out and forge a strong relationship with the First American Capital Corporation, Inc. (FACC), a Native Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) organization, certified by the U.S. Department of the Treasury.

While Bay Bank offers a variety of loans and products to businesses, FACC works with many businesses initially unable to qualify for a traditional business loan.

“We share a similar mission — to help Native Americans through economic development,” said Nathan King, Bay Bank’s vice president. “We want to help FACC build its capacity since they can help more small businesses.”

FACC Co-Executive Director Gary Mejchar said working with Bay Bank allows the organization to assist more businesses, including expanding or newly formed tribally owned enterprises. FACC has been especially active in helping and growing construction industry-related firms, a market sector FACC has considerable experience and expertise working in. Those businesses will likely benefit from the 2021 federal infrastructure law since a portion of contracts will have participation goals for qualified businesses with Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) certifications. FACC aids businesses with the DBE and other local/state/federal minority certification programs.

“We can do more together,” Mejchar said. “There are some things Bay Bank cannot do, but we can,” such as providing in-depth pre-loan and post-loan technical services with clients as well as loan readiness assistance and helping businesses grow capacity so they eventually qualify for the credit standards of commercial banks. Likewise, Bay Bank, for example, provides both business and consumer banking services, while FACC can only serve business clients.

Another link between the two organizations is Bay Bank President Jeff Bowman, who helped found FACC and currently sits on the organization’s board of directors. “That’s a great connection between us,” Mejchar said.

Referrals also go between the two organizations. Bay Bank may recommend a customer without enough equity to receive a traditional business loan work with FACC first. Once FACC clients grow and can work with a traditional bank, Bay Bank hopes to be that option, King said.

“FACC fosters economic development in Native communities. They provide great technical assistance that helps businesses grow,” he said.

Based in Hales Corners, a Milwaukee suburb, FACC also provides its clients with business development services, such as assistance with business planning, business management assistance, and financial management assistance, along with application assistance for minority and disadvantaged business certifications.

Although Bay Bank works closely with FACC, King said it also has good relationships with the state’s three other Native-run CDFIs: Wisconsin Native Loan Fund in Lac du Flambeau; First Nations Community Financial in Black River Falls; and NiiJii Capital Partners Inc. in Keshena.

Triangle Background

Karen L. Riemer

Badger Bank is pleased to announce the hiring of Attorney Karen L. Riemer. Attorney Riemer is an experienced legal advisor and administrator with a diverse background in estate planning, business management, and trust administration tax return preparation, probate, and estate resolution. Attorney Riemer particularly enjoys assisting elders with care planning and addressing financial concerns, seeking to preserve relationships within the family, while being an advocate for seniors.

Ms. Riemer is a graduate with honors of The George Washington University in Washington, D.C. with a business administration major and concentration in human resource management. She graduated from Marquette University Law School in 1999. Attorney Riemer is also Certified Senior Professional in human resources by the Society for Human Resource Management.

Attorney Riemer is a member of the NAELA (National Association of Elder Law & Attorneys; Wisconsin Chapter. Riemer is also a member of five sections of the State Bar of Wisconsin, proud member of the Lake Mills Rotary Club, and a member of the Tyranena Ladies Service Club. Attorney Riemer has an extensive history of volunteer work.

“We are very pleased to have Karen join our Badger Bank team. Her talents as a practicing attorney and her local ties will be very beneficial to all our current and future customers. Karen brings a wealth of knowledge and professionalism to our Trust Investment Department and we look forward to her growing our relationships.” Stated CEO Steve Dehnert.

Attorney Riemer joins Certified Trust & Fiduciary Advisor, Ann Herdendorf, in providing Investment and Trust & Estate Services at Badger Bank.

We invite the community to join us in welcoming and congratulating Attorney Karen L. Riemer to Badger Bank.

WaterStone Bank has promoted an assistant branch manager to the role of community president.

Laura Christenson now serves as community president of the bank’s Pewaukee branch (1230 George Towne Dr). Before the promotion, she served as assistant branch manager of the Wauwatosa branch location. Christenson joined WaterStone Bank in September of 2021 from the restaurant industry, where she served in various leadership and training roles over the course of sixteen years.

Christenson’s involvement as a board member of Wauwatosa Crime Stoppers displays her commitment to community and volunteerism. In her spare time, she enjoys all sorts of outdoor activities including camping, hiking, kayaking, winter-skiing, and building snowmen with her 3-year-old. Christenson recently purchased a new home in Lannon and looks forward serving in her new role at Pewaukee branch.

Triangle Background

Luke Kasten

First Business Bank is pleased to welcome Luke Kasten as vice president – wealth advisor to the private wealth group.

“Luke’s outstanding experience and dedication to his clients and our community are great assets and for our growing private wealth team here at First Business Bank,” said Brendan Freeman, president – private wealth for First Business Bank. “We’re so pleased he joined us.”

As vice president – wealth advisor, Kasten strives to deliver unmatched financial insight to his clients and their families. He holds over 17 years of experience in banking, lending, and wealth management, focused on relationship management and development. In previous roles, Kasten served as vice president & senior banking advisor, as well as assistant vice president – private client group with PNC Private Bank and U.S. Bank Private Client Group, respectively.

He earned bachelor’s degrees in justice & public policy as well as accounting from Concordia University–Wisconsin, where he also played on the men’s basketball team.

Kasten enjoys volunteering in the community and he’s a member of the board of directors of PEARLS for Teen Girls, which is focused on improving quality of life and strengthening our community by empowering young women.

First National Bank and Trust Company’s Promise series, Tasha Schuh, visited students in Arcadia, Independence, and Whitehall, May 12–13, 2022.

Three Wisconsin schools recently filed into gymnasiums and auditoriums to hear from speaker, author, and resilience expert, Tasha Schuh, who educates, inspires, and builds resilience for mental and emotional health. The presentation was part of First National Bank and Trust Company’s Promise series visiting over 1,000 middle school and high school students in Arcadia, Independence, and Whitehall, May 12–13, 2022.

This year’s presenter was national speaker, Tasha Schuh, who sees lives impacted and empowered by teaching others how to live a life of resilience, through her speaking engagements and curriculum. Schuh makes an impact and inspires real progress with students’ mental health awareness, along with skill-based coping mechanisms.

Schuh pushed through a life-changing theater accident that left her paralyzed from the chest down at the age of 16 and though has struggled with depression has created a vibrant, fulfilling life. She has dedicated her life to helping youth navigate struggles with mental and emotional health — Schuh is a survivor, a believer, and a fighter.

“Our students need to hear Tasha’s message of hope and perseverance now, more than ever. She reminds us all that we have to develop a positive attitude to get through the tough times, and that it is possible to get through the tough times,” said Independence School District School Counselor Dawn Woychik.

Today, local youth need resiliency skills training. Schuh’s platform shares the need to be equipped with emotional knowledge, so that they can get through uncertain times. She reinforced the four keys to resilience, which are purpose, attitude, team, and hope. Schuh also encouraged anyone to sign up for her free weekly inspirational messages by texting PITCREW to 33222.

“Tasha is inspiring and her message reached so many of our students and staff. We loved having the opportunity to speak with her after the presentation to show appreciation for Tasha’s bravery to share her own story, but to also have our students and staff share their own stories and how they could relate to Tasha’s resilience,” said Whitehall School District Middle School Counselor Taylor Klemme. “Tasha and Doug (Tasha’s husband) do a fantastic job of trying to connect with every person they meet which makes their message even more impactful and personal.”

“Tasha’s message was spot on and did a phenomenal job relating to students and helping others to find their PATH (Purpose, Attitude, Team, Hope). Everyone in the room was able to relate to her message in some way,” said Arcadia Middle/High School Associate Principal and Athletic Director Wyatt Anderson.

Anderson added, “When I asked students about it, one of them said she was ‘The best speaker we’ve ever had.’ Another, when asked what they will take away from Tasha’s message, said ‘Surround yourself with good people,’ clearly referring to the “T” in PATH.”

Rendering of the interior of PWSB’s new Community Room provided by the Redmond Company.

Port Washington State Bank (PWSB) is excited to announce a renovation project involving the former Dairy Queen located at 218 E. Washington Street, just west of the bank’s headquarters in downtown Port Washington. With support from The Redmond Company of Waukesha, PWSB plans to create the PWSB Community Room for meetings and events. The new space will feature audio-visual equipment, a 30-person outdoor patio space, a catering kitchen, and ADA-compliant bathrooms and building access, all while maintaining a charming view of the harbor. The room will accommodate approximately 50 people depending upon the setup of the room.

James Schowalter, president and COO, shared his vision for the project. “Our Lakeview Room has been used frequently by non-profit groups and our internal teams for meetings and events, but our new detached room will be more functional and allow for better privacy.”

The new space will be similar in size to the bank’s Lakeview Room located in the Wilson House on the northeast intersection of Franklin and Main Street. The Lakeview Room will soon be converted to a multi-purpose space for the 80 employees that work at the bank’s Franklin street campus.

“As our bank has grown, so too have the number of employees who work here. Now that the pandemic has subsided and we can safely collaborate in person, it’s time to provide our teams with more open space for informal meetings, breaks, and lunches,” James added.

Information on renting the PWSB Community Room will be available on the bank’s website in late summer.

Ladysmith Federal Loan & Savings donated red oak trees to students in their communities.

In April, Ladysmith Federal Savings & Loan participated in two events that further showed their commitment to the communities they serve — WBA’s Power of Community Week (April 18–23) and Teach Children to Save Day (April 28).

During Power of Community Week, Ladysmith Federal had secure shred bins at their Ladysmith location during  for customers to shred old paperwork or billing statements containing sensitive information. In addition, Ladysmith Federal staff not only planted trees in their local community but gifted Ladysmith and Flambeau Elementary students red oak trees to bring home to plant and brought them snacks during their Earth Day activities. Flambeau School board member, Joel Taylor, visited the students to show them how to take care of and plant their new trees.

Ladysmith Federal’s Financial Literacy Coordinator, Kat Detloff, visited students in the community to teach about saving money.

For Teach Children to Save Day, Ladysmith Federal’s Financial Literacy Coordinator, Kat Detloff, visited Our Lady of Sorrows Elementary, Ladysmith Elementary, and Flambeau Elementary school students in Kindergarten through 2nd Grade. Detloff read the book “It’s a Habit, Sammy Rabbit!” written by Sam X Renick and illustrated by Juan Alvarado. Sammy learns from his Auntie Squirly that saving every day is a great habit that can really pay off in the future. Students discussed the story and learned about how important it is to save money, especially if they have a goal.

Students from the West Salem “Pink Panthers” test out their buzzers at the Finance and Investment Challenge Bowl State Tournament, hosted by the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions.

The Finance and Investment Challenge Bowl tournament for high school students across Wisconsin culminated in the state championship on Wednesday, May 18. The tournament is organized by the nonprofit organization Asset Builders and championship sponsors included the Wisconsin Bankers Foundation, Associated Bank, Huntington Bank, Old National Bank, and U.S. Bank.

Thank you to the WBA-member bankers who volunteered as quizmasters, scorekeepers, and judges at the championship tournament: Colin Brown, U.S. Bank; Lynn Boelter, First Federal Bank; Melissa Castillo, Monona Bank; Donna Cotter, Old National Bank; Leann Eddingsaas, First Federal Bank; and Matt Moore, U.S. Bank.

The Challenge Bowl is an opportunity for students to build upon their classroom learning in finance and economics in a fun and engaging environment. The spirit of friendly competition was evident as the teams competed for trophies and prizes.

Congratulations to this year’s winners (and their teachers):

  • First place – State Champion: Sun Prairie (Kurt Nickelsburg)
  • Second-place: Monroe (Erin Speth)
  • Final Four teams: Nicolet (Dan Schramka) and Monroe
  • Consolation Champion: Green Bay East (Scott Christy), with Stevens Point (Mike Olson) coming in second
  • Crowdpurr individual competition: students from Rhinelander (Patrick Kubeny), Milton (Nick Manogue), and Middleton (Shane Leadholm) finished in the top four spots.

Look for more information in the Wisconsin Banker Daily this fall on how to get involved with a regional tournament in your area.

Triangle Background

David Rouse to lead expansion of Ixonia Bank’s Mortgage Lending Program

Ixonia Bank, a full-service financial institution with assets approaching $560 million and seven locations, is expanding its footprint in the Metro Milwaukee area by opening a mortgage lending office in Brookfield this summer. Senior Vice President – Residential Lending David Rouse has been tasked with building and managing a successful lending team that will utilize cutting edge lending technology and combine with it the personal relationship that clients have come to expect when working with Ixonia Bank.

“This is a logical and strategic expansion for us,” states Dan Westrope, chairman and CEO of Ixonia Bank. “We expect this market to provide us with additional growth opportunities going forward and Dave is the ideal person to lead this effort.”

David Rouse adds, “I’m excited to lead the re-imagined Ixonia Bank mortgage lending division, not only in the communities we serve, but in all of southeast Wisconsin. ‘Helping You Succeed’ is not only our tagline, but something we’re committed to doing every day.”

The office will be in the Sendiks Towne Centre at 3815 N. Brookfield Road, Suite 103, in Brookfield. It will be devoted to lending activities and will include a space for client meetings and closings. The location will not accept customer deposits. Rouse can be reached at (414) 587-5870 to set up a meeting.

Rouse has more than 30 years of experience in the mortgage industry. He most recently served as single family housing group director at Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority (WHEDA).

Prior to that he has held many lending positions at local financial institutions. Well-known and trusted in the Wisconsin financial market, he has served on the Governor’s Council of Financial Literacy since 2017 and received a lifetime achievement award from the Wisconsin Mortgage Bankers Association in 2019.