Mark Oldenberg, CEO of Security Financial Bank (SFB), is pleased to announce that Jennifer Moen has joined SFB as a treasury management officer. Moen’s position is an addition to the treasury management department. Her focus will be specific to the growth and development of a new portfolio of premier banking and cash management clients.

“This is an exciting opportunity to use my previous knowledge to impact businesses in a new way at SFB,” said Moen.

Moen has 15 years of retail and trust management experience as a branch manager along with seven years of treasury and cash management experience as a cash management specialist. She will be based in Eau Claire but will travel to all SFB markets to serve clients and grow the bank’s treasury management portfolio.

“Jen has valuable leadership and customer service skills that will move SFB forward in growing our treasury management clientele,” said Oldenberg.

Moen resides in Chippewa Falls with her husband and teenage daughter. She is involved with the YMCA of the Chippewa Valley as a board chair and is a Chippewa Falls Chamber ambassador.

Kurt Schaefer

The Bank of New Glarus is excited to announce the addition of Kurt Schaefer as vice president of retail sales.

“We feel very fortunate to have Kurt join our team. He comes with years of experience and we’re excited to see where that experience will take us as we navigate our successful future,” said Ron Schaaf, president of The Bank of New Glarus.

In his new role, Schaefer, a Monroe resident, with a degree in business administration, comes with 20+ years of banking experience. He will oversee all The Bank of New Glarus branches, including the new Monroe branch, slated to open late 2022.

“I am excited to join The Bank of New Glarus family,” said Schaefer. “The bank continues to build on a steep history of serving local communities and empowering employees and I look forward to being a part of what makes The Bank of New Glarus special.”

Creating a Welcoming Space for People With Underrepresented Identities in the Banking Industry

Rose Oswald PoelsBy Rose Oswald Poels

About two years ago, the Wisconsin Bankers Association board formalized a plan to build out the association’s diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) efforts. Since then, a DEI Advisory Group has been established and meeting regularly to help drive WBA’s initiatives, including the development of a sample DEI policy for banks, the production of the Diverse Voices in Banking video series, the publication of DEI-related articles and resources for bankers, various education sessions at conferences and stand-alone programs, and the formation of a WBA Connect DEI Peer Group. The horrific, racially motivated shooting this past weekend in Buffalo, New York underscores the need to double down on our efforts and do more for our colleagues of color and from other underrepresented backgrounds who are acutely experiencing the effects of yet another act of violence and hatred.

The next component of WBA’s DEI plan is the formation of an Employee Resource Group (ERG) for bankers from underrepresented backgrounds. The ERG is designed to be a safe space for bankers to meet virtually for one hour approximately once per month in an open-forum discussion to share feelings, concerns, and frustrations as well as positive developments related to DEI. A moderator will lead each session, and group members are encouraged to bring up topics that they would like to talk about with one another.

ERGs provide a space for groups of people who share a common identity to voluntarily network and engage in employee-led conversation. ERGs also attract new employees and retain existing employees. WBA members have expressed a desire for WBA to organize a group to serve bankers statewide, as many member banks do not have the resources to offer this type of group on their own. The ERG is open to employees of banks of all sizes. Employees of small banks can benefit from connecting with people from backgrounds that may not be widely represented at their own bank, while employees from large banks that may already have ERGs can benefit from perspectives outside their own organization. The ERG is a place to share experiences, ask questions, and find mentorship.

Through this ERG, WBA seeks to support inclusivity at a statewide level across the banking industry. The first meeting will be held virtually from 11:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m. on June 9, 2022. This meeting will aim to provide a discussion space and explore the ways the group can serve the members going forward. The first meeting will include people from a variety of underrepresented backgrounds and gauge interest in branching into more focused ERGs.

Our organizations benefit when we bring our authentic selves to the workplace, and I am excited about the ways this ERG will help bankers from underrepresented backgrounds build high-trust relationships and thrive in their careers. I encourage bank leaders to invite their staff to sign up to participate in this opportunity by filling out the form.

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Peoples State Bank has announced the hire of John Osorio to branch manager of its Waukesha location. Osorio will lead the retail operations and staff, assisting customers with their personal banking needs.

“Peoples has a great reputation as a bank whose employees provide customers with great service,” said Osorio. “With my previous experience as a branch manager, I will work with our retail bankers to help them continue to develop their customer service skills so that we always maintain top-notch assistance for all our customers.”

Osorio joined Peoples with more than ten years of banking experience, half of which was in the role of branch manager. In that role, Osorio guided personal banking teams in their efforts to assist and educate customers on the products that could help them with their unique financial situation.

“John’s background in banking points to an attention to detail and focus on customer service that fits naturally at Peoples,” said Barbara Jones, Peoples State Bank vice president – southeastern Wisconsin retail team leader. “Our retail staff at the Waukesha branch will see John bring fresh ideas and perspectives to all facets of our personal banking experience.”

“Ultimately, great customer relationships are built when our staff takes the time to get to know the person across from them,” said Osorio. “I’m excited to share my knowledge and know I’ll learn a thing or two in the process.”

Osorio has a degree in political science and a minor in business administration from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. He is a member of the Waukesha Rotary Club and the Greater Brookfield Chamber of Commerce.

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Joe Peikert, president & CEO of Wolf River Community Bank, leads story time at Hortonville Public Library in December of 2021. He will be leading the two story times at 10:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. during the Wolf River Community Bank Wolf Den Children’s Area Grand Opening on Friday, May 20.

Hortonville Public Library will be hosting a grand opening celebration for the new Wolf River Community Bank Wolf Den Children’s Area on Friday, May 20, 2022.

Community members are invited to visit the library from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. to view the new children’s area and take part in the event’s activities, which include:

  • Story time – 10 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.
  • Crafts – 10:15 a.m. and 3:45 p.m.
  • Library Scavenger Hunt
  • Raffle Drawing
  • Giveaways
  • Snacks and refreshments (while supplies last)

Allie Krause, Hortonville Public Library director, said, “I’m excited to have a part in the grand opening of the Wolf River Community Bank Wolf Den Children’s Area. This is the first time we’ve been able to fully enjoy our children’s area since the pandemic, and this space will allow so many families to create exciting and engaging library memories.”

Regular children’s programming at the library includes story time and “to-go” craft kits that are displayed in the children’s area. In the summer months, teachers from the Hortonville Area School District read to large groups in the building’s Community Room and help attendees choose books in the children’s area. Library events can be found on the library’s website at hortonvillelibrary.org and on their Facebook page.

The children’s area is supported by Wolf River Community Bank, which has been sponsoring the library since 2014 when it opened its new location at 531 N. Nash Street. This new children’s venture, The Wolf River Community Bank Wolf Den Children’s Area, hosts a new visual and interactive space, featuring a cartoon wolf and a forest-themed environment, where kids are welcomed in for reading and play.

“The Wolf River Community Bank Wolf Den Children’s Area is great for the community as it will help fund more children’s programming,” said Nathan Treadwell, Village of Hortonville administrator. “We are excited for the continued partnership with Wolf River Community Bank.”

View more information about the grand opening event on the Hortonville Public Library website at hortonvillelibrary.org or the Wolf River Community Bank website at wolfriverbank.com. Community members can also add the event to their Facebook calendars using the Facebook event page which is located on the library and bank Facebook pages.

Joe Weber, mortgage loan officer at the National Exchange Bank & Trust office located on Busse Road, is now serving the home loan needs of the Waukesha area. 

 

Joe has 17 years of experience in mortgage lending. In his role, he helps customers with mortgage loans, construction loans, lot purchase loans, and home equity lines of credit. Joe grew up in Delafield, where he attended Arrowhead High School. He went on to obtain his Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh. 

 

Joe currently resides in Greenfield with his family where he is active in the community as a coach and volunteer with Greendale Jr. Panthers Athletics, Greendale Twi-Nite, Wisconsin Youth Basketball League, and Major Youth Baseball League. 

By Lorenzo Cruz

Most political operatives prognosticated that the U.S. Supreme Court would not reverse the Wisconsin Supreme Court’s decision on the redistricting court case. In early March, the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled on a 4–3 decision to adopt Governor Tony Evers’ legislative and congressional maps rather than use the GOP-controlled state Legislature’s version of the maps. 

The majority in the split state Supreme Court decision viewed the Governor’s configured maps as more closely aligned to the ‘least change’ approach, which was used to develop the existing legislative and congressional boundaries drawn a decade ago. The state Supreme Court decision was considered a victory for Democrats and a setback for the GOP.

The Governor’s maps had 55 GOP seats and 44 Dem seats in the State Assembly and 20 GOP seats and 13 Dem seats in the State Senate. By contrast, the GOP maps had 64 Assembly GOP seats and 35 Dem seats and 22 Senate GOP seats and 12 Dem seats. Even under the Governor’s new maps, Democrats still had an arduous path to regaining majorities in both houses of the state Legislature.

In what many capitol observers considered a surprising move, the nation’s highest court in a 7–2 majority overturned the ruling and found that the state court erred in its application of the Voters Rights Act (VRA), which led to the creation of a seventh majority Black Assembly district. Currently, there are six majority Black districts on the map. The GOP-designed maps contained five majority Black districts. The U.S. Supreme Court also rejected the GOP’s request to overturn the Governor’s congressional maps. 

In the appeal, GOP lawmakers contended that Evers’ plan violated the U.S. Constitution Equal Protection Clause because it improperly applied the federal VRA when drawing seven majority Black Assembly districts in the Milwaukee area. The U.S. Supreme Court conservative block sided with the GOP position and sent the issue back to the state court. The Supreme Court’s reversal in the case meant more rounds of court activity around what the maps should look like.

The state Supreme Court’s decision could have brought resolution or more litigation at the federal court. In early April, Wisconsin was under a cloud of uncertainty and momentarily waiting in limbo on the maps. However, the judicial winds changed swiftly again in mid-April with the state Supreme Court in a 4–3 decision approving the GOP’s version of the legislative maps. With the elections looming in the fall and nomination papers set to circulate on April 15, the state Supreme Court acted decisively on the case. The Wisconsin Supreme Court found the Wisconsin Legislature’s maps complied with the Equal Protection Clause, along with all other applicable federal and state legal requirements. Furthermore, the state Supreme Court concluded the Legislature’s maps were race neutral and followed the ‘least change’ approach, which the state’s highest court adopted a decade ago.

WBA expected interested parties on both sides to fight vigorously and exhaust all avenues in the judicial process to secure legal, legislative, and congressional maps that support their desired political outcomes. Barring any more legal challenges, the state Supreme Court’s action brings closure to the redistricting court case in 2022.

The political stakes are extremely high with control of the U.S. Congress and state Legislature as well as Wisconsin’s Gubernatorial seat in play. The Badger State could again be a battleground
and a bellwether for the rest of the country for hotly contested races. Stay tuned for more political developments as the drama continues to unfold in the primary and general elections.

Bank Five Nine has been awarded the 2022 Top Workplace honor by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel for the 13th year in a row. The list is based solely on employee feedback gathered through a third-party survey administered by employee engagement technology partner Energage LLC.

Highlights of the Bank Five Nine award include:

  • Bank Five Nine is one of only nine companies in Southeast Wisconsin to have earned this recognition for 13 straight years.
  • Within the medium-sized company category, they ranked #9, and are the highest-ranked bank.
  • They earned a Specialty Award for Managers, which was based on employee feedback that their managers help employees learn and grow, make it easier to do their job well, and care about concerns.

“Because of the personal efforts of our employees to make lives better each day for our customers as well as their coworkers, we have earned a reputation of being a great place to work.  We have created something unique and our employees’ hard work and dedication have helped shape this company into who we are today, and what we will become tomorrow. This award is truly a team accomplishment” said Mark W. Mohr, Bank Five Nine president and CEO.

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Ken Thompson HeadshotBy Kenneth D. Thompson

As my time as WBA Chair comes to a close on May 31, and I prepare to hand the baton over to Daniel Peterson, I wish to reflect upon the remarkable efforts bankers throughout our state have made this year to ensure the success of our industry. Even as we continue to feel the residual impacts of the pandemic, Wisconsin bankers continue to face every challenge in stride and stand as trusted partners in their communities.

 

Advocacy

This year, over 100 bankers from around the state attended WBA’s annual Capitol Day at the State Capitol in Madison. In addition to hearing from Wisconsin political leaders, bankers met with legislators to convey how issues like credit union expansion, banking regulatory modernization, interchange fee legislation, and elder fraud directly impact their local economies and consumers.

Similarly, many bankers have testified on several WBA key issues in the last year. Your grassroot involvement was critical in preventing bills such as those allowing for the expansion of credit unions from moving past either House. Your engagement in testifying, commenting, and supporting WBA’s efforts further unites our industry.

Education

As bankers continue to embrace new post-pandemic realities, WBA staff too is learning and shifting to best meet the needs of WBA members. Between new hybrid approaches to specific conferences and events geared at keeping our bankers informed — thousands of bankers from throughout the state have benefited from WBA’s adaptability in times of uncertainty which has allowed banks across the state to continue to grow and embrace each challenge faced.

These challenges, though difficult, have also been extremely rewarding. Bankers have shown their innovation and flexibility not only for the sake of their team members, but for their communities. This year, over 100 banks participated in WBA’s fifth annual Power of Community Week to engage with members of their communities through various service events. Throughout the year, the efforts bankers make in establishing connections within the communities they serve prove valuable in aiding the financial wellbeing of our neighbors. Additionally, your efforts assist in shaping the public’s opinion of the banking industry — a valuable perspective to hold especially as we approach election season — continue to explore new ways of embracing technology, and evolve as an industry.

I would also like to extend a sincere ‘thank you’ to WBA President and CEO Rose Oswald Poels and her staff — I speak for many of us when I say I am deeply grateful for the work that the association does for the banking community in Wisconsin and beyond.