A historic bank in Coffeyville, Kansas.

By Darla Sikora, Citizens State Bank of Loyal

Here’s to hoping that this month’s From the Fields finds your customers finally able to be out in their fields after what seems like a particularly long winter and slow-to-arrive spring! How can it be that in just one more month, the year will already be half over?

With June Dairy Month quickly approaching, complete with its many June Dairy Breakfasts and the appreciation it brings for our ag producers, I am reminded of the words of well-known WGN Farm Broadcaster Orion Samuelson. At the 2013 ABA National Ag Banker Conference in Minneapolis, he told us that he ends each day with this prayer: “Thank you God, for America’s farmers and ranchers: the people who put the food on my table, clothes on my back, a roof over my head and energy in my tank.” There is no doubt our customers have strong work ethics as they strive to provide the food and fiber for the rest of us, but we too all work hard, day-in and day-out, year-in and year-out. For us, the work entails providing an array of ag banking products, programs, and services along with a great deal of guidance, analysis, and direction for the ag producers of the fine state of Wisconsin. With summer (finally!) around the corner, I just want to remind everyone to make sure to carve some time out this year, and every year, for yourselves.

It’s important to take time away from the job to get “out of our heads,” out of our “normal” and to step out into something else. Recently I enjoyed a family road trip to the state of Texas, via some interesting byways. Taking the “scenic route” we also saw much of small town America. It is always interesting to see the agriculture in other parts of the country; from massive farm fields, to rows and rows of grain bins, to longhorn cattle right on the outskirts of town, to the Southwest Dairy Museum, and to “Rancho” proudly displayed in the titles on overhead signs leading to Texas ranches.

Tying just a bit of banking into the vacation, on a quiet, cloudy Sunday morning we drove through rural Coffeyville, Kansas where 130 years ago on October 5, 1892, the Dalton Gang rode into town attempting to make outlaw history by robbing not one, but two banks simultaneously. They were unsuccessful and after a 12-minute gunfight, four of the six members lay dead. The storied shoot-out also claimed the lives of four of Coffeyville’s courageous townspeople who defended against the Dalton’s last raid. (Interesting note: In 1876 John W. Cubine helped put Coffeyville on the map by creating a cowboy boot that fit the left and right foot individually. Before this, all boots were constructed exactly the same and didn’t have a specific fit for each foot. Think of that the next time you pull on your Ariats! John’s nephew, George Cubine, and another employee of the boot shop, Charles Brown, were both killed defending Coffeyville on the day of the Dalton Raid.)

There is so much out there to learn, to see, to experience. Life is short. Moments are fleeting. Time is precious. Remember to set the busy-ness and the demands of the daily routine aside every now and again to take a break and to spend time with those who mean the most to you. Years ago, on another road trip, I saw a sign outside of a church near Escanaba, Michigan that read, “families go on vacation to become families again”. Take the road less traveled, step outside the usual, make the connections, laugh more, and embrace those you love with all your might.

Darla Sikora is senior vice president of agricultural banking with Citizens State Bank of Loyal, and currently serves as the Past Chair on the WBA Agricultural Bankers Section Board of Directors.

Moves come as community bank continues to grow in Waukesha and Walworth Counties

Citizens Bank is pleased to announce the following promotions and new hire:

Adam Raychel has been named senior vice president – chief financial officer. He is responsible for overseeing the areas of finance and IT, along with the deposit and loan support areas. Adam received a master’s in accounting at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and has over 16 years of experience in the banking industry. He currently holds a CPA credential in the state of Wisconsin.

 

 

 

Ryan Lilly has been named first vice president – business banker. Ryan joined Citizens Bank in 2015 and has 15 years of banking experience. He has developed a customer-first philosophy that guides him to provide the best experience possible for each of his clients while helping them find and unlock the keys to their growth. Ryan is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.

 

 

 

Frank Sterbin is welcomed as chief credit officer. In his role, he will be responsible for managing the bank’s Commercial Credit Team. Frank earned his bachelor’s in finance from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater and his MBA from Marquette University. He is also a board member of RAMAC and is involved with other non-profit organizations.

Kendra Anderson with members of the De Pere Police Department

In an effort to celebrate the strong bond and relationship between local businesses, schools, and families and their hometown community bank, The Stephenson National Bank & Trust (SNBT) recognized the Power of CommUNITY Week April 18–23 during National Community Banking Month and National Financial Literacy and Capability Month.

The purpose of Power of CommUNITY Week is to highlight the longstanding tradition of local hometown community banking. We urge consumers, small business owners, farmers, and community leaders to learn more about the relationship community banks have with the communities that are not home only to our bank, but our families and our livelihoods. The role banks play in building strong communities, and the quality products and personal services we provide give our customers the support they need to succeed.

Below are the ways each SNBT Office participated in the Power of CommUNITY week:

  • The Marinette Office bought lunch for the Peshtigo Fire Department and donated money to help families recovering after a fire.
  • The Menominee Office donated to the Emergency Rescue Squad of Marinette.
  • The Oconto Office gave $50 Gift Certificates from Brubaker’s, along with other essentials to 16 Oconto foster families.
  • The Crivitz Office donated to Operation Bandshell – to help build a bandshell in the community park. They also donated to the Crivitz Middle School, in their efforts to build an outside area for children.
  • The Wausaukee Office donated to the Wausaukee Rescue Squad and Wausaukee Fire Department.
  • The Pembine Office donated money to help with improvements to the American Legion Park.
  • The Green Bay Office brought a meal to Ashwaubenon’s Police and Fire Department. In addition, they will fill the De Pere Soccer concession stand and organize SNBT volunteers to help.

“On a regular basis, we dedicate time, effort, and resources to strengthening our community. This is our way of joining together with the rest of the Wisconsin banking industry to show the tangible ways in which we empower the communities we serve,” said Dan Peterson, SNBT president & CEO.

First State Bank recently announced the promotion of Brian Wood to vice president – loan operations. In his new role, Wood will oversee all aspects of application, processing, and servicing of First State Bank’s loan portfolio while ensuring adherence to loan policy and regulatory compliance.

Wood has held various credit and loan processing supervisory roles during his eleven years at the bank. Promoted in 2021 to senior credit analyst/assistant vice president – special projects, Wood led several process improvement initiatives in the bank’s credit and lending operations.

“Brian is a creative leader in our organization,” commented bank President Bob Van Asten. “He thoroughly understands the loan process and has great vision for balancing all of the behind-the-scenes details of lending with making the loan process as easy as possible for our customers.”

Wood is a 2010 graduate of the University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire where he received his bachelor’s degree in business administration with majors in finance and economics. He also graduated from the Graduate School of Banking at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2021. Wood is located at First State Bank’s new Stevens Point office at 5500 Carrie Frost Drive, which opened mid-April.

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Prevail Bank is proud to announce that its own, Ryan Ludy, mortgage loan originator in Eau Claire received the Eau Claire Area Chamber of Commerce’s 2021 Above & Beyond Rookie Member Award.

“We are very proud to have Ryan on the Prevail Bank team and as a volunteer with the Chamber,” said Brent Arndt, Prevail Bank’s senior vice president mortgage manager. “He is a great asset to his community and his efforts are appreciated by Prevail Bank and those he works with.”

“I joined the chamber to connect with my peers that share the same passion for giving back to our communities and supporting the great things that Eau Claire and the Chippewa Valley has to offer,” said Ludy. “I am honored to be selected for this award; every one of my ambassador family members are equally deserving. I am extremely proud to be part of this group!”

Chamber Ambassadors are a positive group of business community volunteers, who facilitate and promote the Chamber at various events throughout the year. They host professional networking events, volunteer at many of the Chamber’s larger events, as well as facilitate and represent the Chamber at ribbon cutting and ground breaking ceremonies.

Ludy joined Prevail Bank with a strong desire to help customers make smart financial decisions that positively impact their financial future. He is a devoted Wisconsin sports fan and enjoys the many activities that the Chippewa Valley has to offer with his wife and three children.

Ken Thompson, president and CEO of Capitol Bank, is pleased to announce the following promotions:

Dina Aybazova has been promoted to office coordinator. Dina joined Capitol Bank over two years ago. In that time, she has grown in her role by taking on additional responsibilities with the day-to-day coordination of the bank’s internal needs. Dina’s hobbies include hiking, anything outdoorsy, trying new food and coffee, traveling with family and friends, meeting new people, exploring new cultures, good movies, listening/singing to 60s music, and Bon Jovi. Congratulations, Dina!

 

Evan Bauer has been promoted to assistant branch manager – Verona. Evan has been with Capitol Bank for over a year. In his time, he has taken on additional responsibilities by tracking the bank’s referral program and he continues to pursue banking courses to mold his skillset into what best serves customers. In Evan’s free time, he enjoys basketball, football, soccer, weightlifting, and has taken various mission trips with his church to help rebuild areas after disasters. Congratulations, Evan!

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Last spring, Jenna Raisbeck was awarded the Wisconsin Bankers Foundation’s (WBF) Agricultural Banking Scholarship. Originally from Lancaster, Wisconsin, Raisbeck is now a junior at the University of Wisconsin–Platteville and holds a position as a credit analyst and branch marketing liaison at Community First Bank in Platteville.

This inaugural scholarship awarded two individuals attending accredited Wisconsin universities with career interests related to agricultural banking/finance a $1,000 scholarship towards their education. WBF is excited to soon announce the recipients of 2021’s Agricultural Banking Scholarship, which accepted applications in the fall.

Raisbeck was raised understanding the importance of agriculture to her local community, despite not living on a farm herself. As a credit analyst, she works closely with farmers and their credit and has come to realize the need for having good agricultural finance professionals and resources for farmers. Not only does her current position allow her to explore finance and banking, but it also combines her interests in the agricultural industry and helping her community.

Along with receiving the scholarship from WBF, Raisbeck also had the unique opportunity to enter the bank as an intern. “Most companies target graduating seniors for full-time positions, but hiring younger students as interns or tellers can be just as important,” she says. “In my experience, the bank has been able to teach me a lot since I started out so young and with little experience. They know what areas I am interested in and eventually can help me prepare for the right position.”

Following her graduation this January, Raisbeck plans to continue her banking career long term. Through opportunities such as job shadowing, she has decided to pursue lending because it will allow her to work closely with customers, utilize the financial skills established through her time as a credit analyst, and help customers reach their goals.

“Being the recipient of the Wisconsin Bankers Foundation Agricultural Banking Scholarship has benefited me by helping lighten my financial burden that comes with attending college,” says Raisbeck, “This has allowed me to focus more time on my courses which is important to my career. Without successfully completing these finance-focused courses, I would not be able to pursue the career I want long-term, nor would I be able to be in the position that I am now. Getting this recognition for all my hard work from the WBF means a great deal to me and motivates me to continue to push myself to be the best I can be.”

Earlier this year the CFPB issued its long-awaited proposal for implementing Section 1071 of the Dodd-Frank Act, which requires collection of credit application data for small businesses, including women-owned and minority-owned small businesses. Comments on the proposal are due January 6, 2022. WBA will be creating a draft comment letter for use by members to reply to CFPB regarding concerns and impact of the proposal on banks. WBA encourages each bank to consider submitting its own letter reflecting bank-specific information. In preparation for these comments, WBA has prepared the following considerations regarding the rule.

What specific burdens will your institution face as a result the proposal? Some examples might include:

  • Costs, technology, training, staffing, customer-facing educational information needs.
  • Review of application process (based upon the rule’s definition of application).
  • Is the proposed “firewall” process workable for the bank?
  • What sort of implementation period will be necessary?

More specifically you might consider:

  • Will bank need to hire new staff (compliance, processor, etc.)?
  • Technology costs, such as a new platform, or 1071 data software.
  • Costs associated with updating existing systems, testing, applications, training, development of new policies and procedures, legal consultation, review of implementation, etc.
  • New annual costs related to collection such as customer service, data management, resolution of errors, exam prep, etc.

In preparation for filing comments, banks should plan to provide specific estimates where possible. For example, if bank predicts new software will be necessary to capture the data, be prepared to provide CFPB with a specific cost if possible.

As mentioned above, WBA will be creating a draft comment letter for use by members to reply to CFPB. The letter will be released shortly to allow banks time to personalize their letter with bank-specific information. For more information about CFPB’s Section 1071 proposal, please see the WBA Toolkit and PowerPoint materials.

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Pictured left to right are: Ali Hansen (Southern Lakes Area Love, Inc.), Pat Yakes (Southern Lakes Area Love, Inc.), Jen Lavery (Southern Lakes Area Love, Inc.), Hunter Baumstark (Southern Lakes Area Love, Inc.), Becky McClelland (Community State Bank), Amanda Seifert (Rotary Club of Burlington)

Community State Bank (CSB), Rotary Club of Burlington and the Burlington Rotary Rescue Squad Fund have raised funds to donate a total of 237 meals to the 2021 Love, Inc. and Rotary Club of Burlington Thanksgiving Meal Campaign. This campaign is hosted annually by the club and has been providing meals to local families in need for over 20 years.

“Our annual drive is about community,” said Rotary Club of Burlington president, Amanda Seifert. “Burlington has given much to us, and we have a responsibility to pay that forward. We want our neighbors to have the same wonderful holiday we share with our families. Having Community State Bank and the Burlington Rotary Rescue Squad Fund join this effort shows that Burlington feels the same way. The assistance from CSB nearly doubled our reach!”

Community State Bank employees, along with the bank, donated a total of 64 meals and members of the Rotary Club of Burlington collected a total of 70 meals. The Burlington Rotary Rescue Squad Fund then agreed to match those donations up to $3000 for a grand total of 237 Thanksgiving meals.

“This is our second year participating in the campaign and it’s just as exciting as the last,” said CSB Burlington market president, Becky McClelland. “Our bank team rallies together with their very own funds to provide as many meals as we can. Community State Bank then matches our personal employee donations. It’s a group effort and we’re grateful to be a part of it.”

Thanksgiving boxes were distributed to families mid-November at Love, Inc. where families had the choice of a ham or turkey, an apple or pumpkin pie, and all the fixings.

In addition to the Thanksgiving boxes, for the second year, Love, Inc. was able to hand out grab-and-go style meals on Thanksgiving Day to ensure that the needs of the community are met. In years past, St. John’s held a Thanksgiving Day meal, but COVID restrictions prevented them from being able to safely serve.

“Our mission here at Love is to be a community network helping our neighbors in need,” said Southern Lakes Area Love, Inc. executive director, Patti Wojciechowski. “This partnership is a great illustration of our mission in action. We are truly grateful to be able to provide a positive experience for our guests.”