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Lisa Hower, financial literacy coordinator, showing a student how to use the eTeller on Future Fund Deposit Day.

Learning never stops. Some skills, such as money management, will always be essential — no matter the circumstances. The staff at The Stephenson National Bank & Trust (SNBT) believes that teaching children about saving money at a young age sets the groundwork for a successful financial feature. Finding creative ways to educate children and connect with the community is just one way SNBT celebrated National Teach Children to Save Day, which took place during Financial Literacy Month in April.

This year, staff members gave presentations at schools in Marinette, Menominee, Stephenson, Wausaukee, and Crivitz to share savings lessons with K–8th grade students. “This is such a rewarding experience for SNBT volunteers and myself. It is a joy to see the next generation getting excited about saving money for their future! I absolutely love this program and everything that it has to offer to our community schools. All of the time and effort put into Teach Children to Save is well worth it when we are in the classroom, engaging with the students and seeing them really process what saving money can do for their future.” said Lisa Hower, financial literacy coordinator.

SNBT continued teaching children about saving into the month of May by participating in the M&M Area Community Foundation’s Future Fund Deposit Day. SNBT offices in Pembine, Wausaukee, and Marinette welcomed local second grade classes into their branches to teach them how to deposit money and the importance of saving. Before leaving the bank, each student was given a coloring sheet that asked what they were saving for; these coloring sheets will be displayed in each branch through May.

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Allan Michalski

The Board of Directors of Forward Bank has voted to elect Allan Michalski to be the chairman of the Board at their April meeting.

Michalski joined the Board of Directors in June 17, 2008 and has served on numerous committees including Audit, Compensation, and Loan. He replaces outgoing Board Chair John Marshall who will continue as an active member of the bank and holding company Boards and has been formally appointed Past Chair.

Michalski is the chief financial officer of Felker Brothers Corp. in Marshfield. He lives the Forward Bank mission with his community activities in the Marshfield area including being a past board member of the United Way, Marshfield Economic Development, and Marshfield Area Chamber of Commerce & Industry as well as a past member of the Central WI Economic Development Revolving Loan Fund board.

“Al’s approach to leadership as a member of the Board has always been admired by the Executive team and employees of Forward,” said Bill Sennholz, CEO of Forward Bank. “He has a unique ability to question and support new initiatives at the same time, which makes our strategic planning process strong and helps drive us to new successes.”

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Headshot, Scott Birrenkott Assistant Director – LegalThe Wisconsin Bankers Association (WBA) is excited to announce that Scott Birrenkott has been promoted to director – legal. Birrenkott joined WBA in June of 2015 as assistant director – legal and over the past seven years has provided WBA members with current information on the banking industry’s constantly changing regulatory, legislative, and judicial requirements. As director – legal, Birrenkott will continue to collaborate with the WBA Government Relations team on advocacy efforts, speak at WBA education programs, and act as senior writer for the WBA Compliance Journal.

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Community State Bank (CSB) is pleased to announce the promotion of two team members to banking officers. Eloissa (Ellie) Heigl has been promoted to the position of media and communications director, and William (Bill) Fliess has been promoted to the position of assistant vice president – credit review manager.

Ellie Heigl

As media and communications director, Heigl is responsible for helping develop messaging, branding, content, and other communication pieces to help promote CSB, and Shepherds Community Café to our local communities. These communication channels include social media, podcasts, website development, and press releases regarding important information about the bank.

“Ellie has been an important part of CSB for nearly 10 years, and I’ve worked closely with her as part of the marketing team for the last seven,” said Gregory Wall, chief innovation officer for CSB. “She has an incredible ability to help tell the bank’s story, and the stories of our customers and communities. She connects with her audience in an authentic way and is able to really communicate how CSB is different. I want to congratulate Ellie on her accomplishments, and thank her for her dedication to our team.”

Bill Fliess

Bill Fliess joined CSB in 2017 and has been an integral part of the credit review team since that time. In his new role as credit review manager, Fliess will oversee and help develop other
members of the credit review team. Fliess is also responsible for reviewing credit worthiness of business loan applicants, and making recommendations to the Board of Directors for approval of loans. Fliess is also responsible for keeping the bank’s credit review policies up-to-date and in compliance with all local, state, and federal regulations.

“Bill is a dedicated and hard working member of this organization,” said CSB President & CEO Scott Huedepohl. “His area is critical to the success of Community State Bank, and I’m excited to see where he’ll lead his team.” Huedepohl continued, “I want to congratulate both Bill and Ellie on their new opportunities, and look forward to their continued success.”

Both promotions were announced internally to CSB team members in April 2022 and were effective immediately.

Jan Schmidt participating in Teach Children to Save Day on April 28.

Last month during Teach Children to Save Day, Mayville Savings Bank’s own Jan Schmidt, Customer Service Representative, participated by reading to students and teaching the importance of developing good saving and spending habits. After the reading, Schmidt provided the students with several worksheets and a “gold coin” chocolate treat.

Molly Knoll has been promoted to vice president – senior commercial lender at Forward Bank. In this role, she will continue to provide exceptional service to businesses in the Medford area and will mentor new commercial lenders in Medford, Phillips, and Park Falls.

Knoll has over 7 years of banking experience in the Medford area with Forward Bank. She joined the team as a relationship banker and quickly moved into the office manager role. In 2018, Knoll expanded her role even further becoming a commercial lender. She was promoted to assistant vice president in 2019 and to a senior commercial lender earlier this year.

She is currently active serving our community as a member of the Gilman Development Foundation, City of Medford Planning Commission, Northwest Regional Planning, Neighbor to Neighbor board, Aspirus Medford Patient Family advisory council, and as the vice president of the Tee-Hi board.

“Molly’s drive and dedication to community has been inspiring to the entire Forward team,” said Dave Clark, president of Forward Bank. “The career path that she has taken with our organization not only helps her provide a broad array of financial advice for her customers, but it also helps her teach and mentor others.”

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.

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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.

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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.