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David Schuelke

The following is a brief interview between WBA President and CEO Rose Oswald Poels and Spring Bank, Brookfield CEO David Schuelke.

Rose: How did you first get into the banking industry?

David: I was born into a banking family. Even though my father, Don Schuelke, was a banker, he didn’t encourage me to pursue a banking career and it wasn’t an original career goal for me. I graduated college with an accounting degree intending to enter public accounting. However, I accepted a good offer from First Wisconsin Bank to start my professional career. At First Wisconsin, I joined an outstanding culture and a talented team of professionals. Those colleagues and that culture led me to want to remain in the banking field.

What is your favorite aspect of your role at your bank?

The most rewarding aspect for me is helping businesses. I’ve always been intrigued and fascinated by different businesses — how they operate, how similar businesses do things differently but all reach success in their own way. It’s also meeting people and the variety. But nothing is better than somebody telling you that you came up with an idea that helped them improve their business.

I also enjoy watching my colleagues advance in their careers and sharing news of our strong financial results with my fellow shareholders. I’m very proud to have played a key role in developing a successful bank — from raising the capital to open to forming a team that executes our business plan of being a locally owned, locally operated bank focused on providing the personal attention our customers deserve.

What do you wish the general public understood about the banking industry?

I wish the public had a better understanding of how banks operate within very narrow interest rate margins and about the costs to maintain the infrastructure needed to deliver high quality service and products. This lack of understanding leads a few clients to expect bank services to be delivered at little or no cost.

Where do you believe the industry’s greatest challenges are in the next three to five years?

Our industry’s greatest challenges include changing technology, a sometimes-oppressive regulatory environment, and potential economic challenges.

Technology will continue to evolve rapidly. Figuring out how to adopt new or changing technologies is a constant challenge. The cost to keep up with regulatory pressures has easily doubled, and possibly tripled or more, since we opened Spring Bank in 2008. Managing these increasing costs and requirements is a big challenge.

Lastly, current levels of inflation, supply chain disruptions, and a shortage of workers have resulted in expectations of a recession after many years of economic growth. When the next recession arrives, banks will need to focus on credit quality and work to resolve problem loan situations that arise. Fortunately, the banking industry is better capitalized today than it was at the start of the last recession.

Every day, bankers serve their local communities by helping their customers achieve their financial dreams. Please describe your current role at your bank and share with us one of your more rewarding experiences.

With regard to community involvement, one of the most impactful days of my life was joining a group of over 100 World War II veterans on a trip to Washington D.C. to view the WWII Memorial as part of the Stars & Stripes Honor Flight program. Spring Bank has supported this effort for many years as part of our pride and appreciation for our nation’s veterans. Speaking with many heroes that day, watching them interact with their peers, and experiencing the welcome home celebration at the end of the day is a memory I will never forget.

Triangle Background

Michael Bock

The following is a brief interview between WBA President and CEO Rose Oswald Poels and Dairy State Bank CEO Michael Bock.

Rose: How did you first get into the banking industry?

Michael: After graduating from college with an accounting degree, my career started in public accounting. After eight years spending significant time in the bank audit, exam, and tax area learning about the banking industry, an opportunity presented itself with Dairy State Bank. After 33 years, I continue to say it was a very good decision to come to the banker’s side of the desk.

What is your favorite aspect of your role at your bank?

Without a doubt, interacting with so many great people is what makes this job fun. This comes in the form of helping customers and businesses meet their financial goals as well as solve challenges they sometimes encounter. It also comes from working with a very dedicated and committed staff that are constantly doing their best to make banking easy and rewarding for everyone interacting with us.

What do you wish the general public understood about the banking industry?

To the public — yes, we know it takes a lot of paper to open a new checking account, complete a home mortgage, and do so many other things in the bank, but there are higher forces requiring the paperwork. As bankers, we are all for making sure customers know what they are signing up for. However, the amount of paper is getting so deep it is sometimes overwhelming. If you do get overwhelmed, please ask questions! As community bankers, we commit ourselves to making sure you understand the banking services you use.

Where do you believe the industry’s greatest challenges are in the next three to five years?

This list could be long — including cybersecurity threats, a constantly changing regulatory and political environment, the increased cost of doing business, and what seems like the perpetual effort by the credit unions to expand their footprint while having the huge advantage of no income taxes. But I think one of our greatest challenges is going to be introducing young people to banking as a profession. This business is very satisfying in so many ways as we have a unique opportunity help our communities and customers thrive. Many young people only see the bank as a place to deposit a check or get a debit card and don’t understand the positive impact we make in so many ways.

Every day, bankers serve their local communities by helping their customers achieve their financial dreams. Please describe your current role at your bank and share with us one of your more rewarding experiences.

From making hundreds of PPP loans in the teeth of COVID to donating time and money to community projects that enhance the places we live and lending money to a startup business that grows to become a major employer in the area, the list of rewarding experiences we, as community bankers, have could go on and on.

But I think one of the most satisfying and rewarding acts we do is taking the time to work with a customer to understand when they are being scammed. These are not always easy conversations, because no one wants to admit they may be in a bad situation. However, many times through our observations, conversations, and coaching, our customers keep the money that is rightfully theirs. Assisting our community members like this makes me proud to be a community banker.

The following is a brief interview between WBA President and CEO Rose Oswald Poels and Black River Country Bank, Black River Falls President and CEO Bob Becker.

Rose: How did you first get into the banking industry?

Bob: When I enrolled at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville, I had plans of becoming an engineer, but like many young adults, I changed my mind and ultimately decided to obtain a degree in business administration. During that time, I became especially interested in the economic classes I was taking, and that helped me start thinking about a career in banking. Fortunately for me, when I graduated, my local bank was looking for a loan officer, and I was lucky enough to be chosen for the job.

What is your favorite aspect of your role at your bank?

I have two favorite aspects of my role with our bank. The first is the ability to interact within our local community. Starting out as a loan officer, I was able to help people make some of the most important decisions in their lives happen. Helping people with buying a new car, buying a home, starting a business, or expanding the family farm — it is extremely enjoyable to help them reach their goals and dreams. As my career progressed and my leadership role in the bank expanded, it has been a joy to expand that interaction to larger community initiatives. I take great pride in what we have been able to do to help the Jackson County communities thrive and prosper. The second is leading a great group of fellow employees and helping them establish the foundation for a commitment to our bank and our community. These commitments help us establish a true family amongst our employees and customers. I was fortunate to have three great mentors when I started in banking, Winston Zeman, Glen Goeman, and Steve Zeman. Each was a great community banker, and I can only hope that I have been able to pass on some of what they willingly passed on to me.

What do you wish the general public understood about the banking industry?

I would like the general public to understand what a good, strong community bank can do for a local economy. It is a strong employer for the local economy. It reinvests in the local economy. It supports the local charitable organizations in the local economy. It lends leadership to many of the local organizations. It supports youth organizations and activities with sponsorships. It supports young adults with college scholarships. And it supplies the banking services that you need, in the convenient fashion that you would like, and at the lowest possible cost that is maintainable. In today’s world, we all have more and more options for our needs and services, but if we look at all the good that a local community bank does for its community, why would we ever consider the financial services choices we can make that don’t include a great personal relationship with your local community banker.

Where do you believe the industry’s greatest challenges are in the next three to five years?

I believe the industry’s greatest challenge in the next 3–5 years is continuing to safeguard the personal information and financial assets of our customers. The ever-expanding desire and need for instant and convenient access to our money and financial information is a huge challenge for the industry. We are committed to delivering as much of this to our customers as possible, but it comes with added challenges. It seems like the financial and cyber exploitation business is growing by leaps and bounds. Trying to stay in front of these organizations is a daunting task.

Every day, bankers serve their local communities by helping their customers achieve their financial dreams. Please describe your current role at your bank and share with us one of your more rewarding experiences.

I have been with the Black River Country Bank for 35 years, and I currently serve as president and chief executive officer, along with being the president of the bank’s holding company, BRAD, Inc.

My most rewarding experience is our Community Good Neighbor Day. This is a day that we as a group choose to participate in and help out our community members who need a helping hand. We have a local organization that we work with that allows us to identify local households that may need help with fall cleanup of their property. Our bank family breaks up into small groups and participates in a day of helping clean yards, some that were planned ahead of time and some that just happen on the spur of the moment. The joy of the day is not only seeing the good you do, but seeing how the employee family works together to accomplish as many things as possible and also the joy that is delivered to the recipients who can have one worry taken off their shoulders.

Triangle Background

The following is a brief interview between WBA President and CEO Rose Oswald Poels and Farmers & Merchants Bank of Kendall President Cynthia Erdman.

Rose: How did you first get into the banking industry?

Cynthia: I first wanted to become a Certified Public Accountant. As I started college and had little money, I found a part-time job at a bank as a teller with the hopes of getting into their accounting department. As time progressed, I began to learn all the other opportunities for a career that the banking industry offered. I did, however, leave for an internship at an accounting firm. Fast forward, I decided that was not the path that I found the most interesting and rewarding, so back to banking I went. Now, 37 years later, I can truly say it has been a great career!

What is your favorite aspect of your role at your bank?

This is an easy one! It has been and always will be about all the amazing people you get to meet. Listening and working with clients to meet their financial goals, purchase their home, start or grow their business, or just be that trusted advisor for financial advice is very rewarding. Another favorite part of my role is mentoring and watching my coworkers develop and advance their knowledge.

What do you wish the general public understood about the banking industry?

Just the simple message that we are always there to help them as best as possible. We work to find solutions and when they succeed — we all succeed.

Where do you believe the industry’s greatest challenges are in the next three to five years?

I believe that our industry will continue to be tested by the increasing cost and challenges related to cybersecurity, talent recruitment, as well as the increasing reach of credit unions along with their unfair tax advantage.

Please share one of your more rewarding or memorable experiences with us.

Bankers do extraordinary things every day that go above and beyond normal business. As community advocates and leaders, it is our duty to help where and when we can. The fabulous part about this is it is so rewarding and not a duty at all! As I reflect on the numerous organizations that I have volunteered at, there are so many great memories. It is hard to pick out any one that was the most memorable because each has had its rewards.

I would say the things that have stuck with me the most are the more individual/personal encounters over the years. A particular couple comes to mind — they both were great volunteers of the community and the bank recognized them as “Extraordinary Citizens” at an event that we held. We later placed their picture on a billboard saluting them and promoting volunteerism. A few years later, the gentleman passed away, and I attended his funeral. When entering the service, the first thing displayed was the scaled down version of that billboard we gave them as a keepsake. In talking with his wife, she expressed how much that meant to him and how proud he was of being a part of promoting the good people do and encouraging others to do the same. Little did she know how much that meant to me as well.

The following is a brief interview between WBA President and CEO Rose Oswald Poels and Cornerstone Community Bank President Paul A. Foy.

Rose: How did you first get into the banking industry?

Paul: I was working as a marketing product manager for an orthopedic company in the mid-to-late 1990s. I worked with surgeons around the country as we developed new products for total knee and shoulder joint replacement systems. It was a great job, but not conducive to raising a young family. My father-in-law was an investor in a start-up bank and was increasing his stake around the same time. He was encouraging me to join the bank, so I could be closer to family and have more time to be with my kids. After several attempts by him, I saw the light. I really enjoyed banking more than I thought I would, and I was able to participate in my kids’ lives by coaching little league, attending plays, recitals, and chaperoning many field trips over the years!

What is your favorite aspect of your role at your bank?

I enjoy visiting our customers and seeing all the different ways people earn a living in this world. I especially like to see how the money we lend enables people to be more productive and add jobs to the local economy. It is rewarding to see the money we lend at work invested in these companies.

What do you wish the general public understood about the banking industry?

Banks and credit unions are not the same! Unlike the credit unions, banks pay state, local, and federal taxes that add about 30% more in operating costs. Yet, credit unions have been able to expand their scope of services competing on an uneven playing field. Credit unions boast that they are not-for-profit as if it’s some sort of admirable quality. People need to know that it’s the community banks who pay their fair share and contribute significantly more to the communities that they serve than credit unions.

Where do you believe the industry’s greatest challenges are in the next three to five years?

Fraud is going to be one of the industry’s greatest challenges in the next few years. Cyber-crime attempts are more widespread and far more sophisticated than in times past. As bankers, we invest significant funds in hardware, software, and training to help prevent fraud.

Loan closing instructions are being hijacked to the point that we’ve moved back to the fax machine. Corporate email servers are being manipulated to the point where employees are being “instructed” to perform significant fraudulent transactions by actors posing as authorized signers of accounts held by their companies. Elder fraud is another area becoming more intense and personal as the fraudsters use social media posts to learn of familiar relationships helping fraudsters make a convincing case to unsuspecting victims. We experienced a situation recently where an elderly victim couldn’t be convinced by me and another officer of the bank that a contrived situation was fraudulent. We then involved the police, and still she didn’t believe the officer when he told her she didn’t need to send the fraudsters money!

Please share one of your more rewarding or memorable experiences with us.

We support many of the local charities in the communities we serve. In addition to the hours our employees volunteer to support several charitable organizations, we also assist at Chamber of Commerce events for Grafton, Mequon, Thiensville, and Greater Menomonee Falls-Sussex. However, the most recent memorable experience of supporting our community was in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic when we assisted our customers with the SBA Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). In a very short period of time, we came up with policies, procedures, and documents to support a program which was not fully defined. Our small community bank helped our new and existing customers by originating 278 loans in the first round totaling approximately $29.5 million. This came at a time when we were already very busy generating mortgage applications and modifying loans to numerous commercial loan customers to help them through the pandemic. Much of this work was performed with employees working remotely from one another as we weren’t sure if we were going to lose several staff members to the virus itself. We ended up producing another $16.5 million in the second round for our customers. However, it was far less hectic given the lessons learned in round one, thanks, in part, to the WBA.

The following is a brief interview between WBA President and CEO Rose Oswald Poels and Citizens First Bank President Shane Ilstrup.

Rose: How did you first get into the banking industry?

Shane: I’m a fourth-generation banker, so in a way my future was predetermined by my family. My great grandpa and grandma had a bank in northern Minnesota. They moved around a bit and took the bank with them to the Dassel area of Minn., they traded the bank they owned there with Curt Carlson and Carl Pohlad for a bank in Newton, Iowa, where they lived next to Grandma Maytag. Upon the passing of my great grandmother, the bank in Newton, Iowa was sold, and my family purchased First National Bank in Viroqua, Wis., and Farmers State Bank in Viola, Wis. We then bought Trempealeau, and Sparta, and built Centerville in the later years.

What is your favorite aspect of your role at your bank?

Relationships with internal and external customers. Seeing the growth and success of the customers over the years and how they have taken on risks and grown their businesses and assets is very rewarding.

What do you wish the general public understood about the banking industry?

We (i.e. community banks) aren’t like the big banks, the average person on the street pays more in taxes than a credit union, and how much each community bank supports the communities they are located in.

Where do you believe the industry’s greatest challenges are in the next 3-5 years?

Decentralized finance (DeFi), regulation, alternative currencies, the hard trend line of number of banks declining in the state.

Every day, bankers serve their local communities by helping their customers achieve their financial dreams. In addition, bankers also provide significant charitable support both financially and through countless volunteer hours. Please describe your current role at your bank and share with us one of your more rewarding experiences (e.g., A time you had to go above and beyond to help a customer, a memorable customer interaction, stepping in to help the local community after a disaster, etc.).

During the PPP process, I had the opportunity to help customers in the time of uncertainty. Through collaboration with the customer and the bank, we were able to work together to get through the unknown of what was going to happen next. In seeing our staff support each other and their communities, I felt relief in knowing the bank was providing stability and peace of mind during a turbulent time.

The following is a brief interview between WBA President and CEO Rose Oswald Poels and First National Bank at Darlington President John Knellwolf.

Rose: How did you first get into the banking industry?

John: Banking seemed like a natural fit for me as both my grandfather and father worked here at the bank. The bank was chartered in June of 1934, and I started work at the bank full time in July 1976 after graduating from UW-Madison where I studied finance and risk management. I had worked a couple of summers before that as a teller. My grandfather had passed away in 1970, but I was very fortunate to work alongside my father for several years before his retirement. I grew up in Darlington and really enjoyed the life that a small town offered so when the opportunity to come back to town and work at the bank presented itself, it was a very easy decision.

What us your favorite aspect of your role at your bank?

One of the most rewarding aspects of my time here at the bank has been working with customers on their borrowing needs. I really enjoyed sitting down with people, working through their financials, understanding what their goals were and then putting a loan package together that made sense for both the customer and bank. Our bank is focused primarily on agriculture and banking in a small town is generational. I see the grandchildren of many of the customers I worked with in the early years now coming into the bank for their deposit and lending needs. I moved out of the lending area a few years back and have focused most of my time on the overall management of the bank.

What do you wish the general public understood about the banking industry?

The face of banking has changed dramatically over the last 10 or so years. With the collapse of the housing market in 2008, regulators have been tasked with more and more mandates regarding safe lending and compliance. These regulations flow down into the banks and force extra work on both the bankers and the customers. Customers need to understand that a lot of the extra information that is now being required to open accounts and take out loans is coming from updated government regulations. While these regulations may seem intrusive to many folks, their goal is to maintain a safe and sound banking system in the country.

Where do you believe the industry’s greatest challenges are in the next 3-5 years?

I think the banking industry will face several challenges in the next 3-5 years.

One of the most challenging areas moving forward will be Information Technology (IT). There is a lot of cost and expertise needed to stay competitive. More banking is being done by phone and mobile apps. IT security is paramount and must be upgraded constantly. Finding capable personnel is a must. The pandemic forced many employees to work from home and this seems to be a way of life now and all of this means a greater focus on IT.

The second challenging area will be compliance. It does not look like community banks will get any respite from the regulatory burden. This will mean increased expense at the bank level as more employees are hired and trained to ensure compliance within their different departments.

The final challenge will be to manage the net interest margin. With a huge national debt and continued budget deficits, the Federal Reserve tries its best to manage the roller coaster of inflation and recession through their interest rate policies. Changing interest rates presents challenges for banks as they try to manage the pricing of their assets and liabilities.

Every day, bankers serve their local communities by helping their customers achieve their financial dreams. In addition, bankers also provide significant charitable support both financially and through countless volunteer hours. Please describe your current role at your bank and share with us one of your more rewarding experiences.

Over the years I have had the privilege of working with many community and volunteer organizations. The people involved all had the same goal; to make our community a stronger and better place to live and work. The friendships that have grown from these groups have been very rewarding. The same can be said of working with our customers. A recent interaction with one of my customers proved especially so as he was a veteran and needed some help on short notice. In addition to being a veteran, my customer was also trained in respiratory therapy. As the pandemic began to spread and expand, he was asked to work at a University Hospital in Illinois which was a COVID hotspot. In order to practice in Illinois, he needed to apply for reciprocity of licensure. The documents he needed (social security card, license, diploma) were in his lock box at the bank. It was a weekend and the bank was closed. We made arrangements to meet at the bank, access his lock box and get the records he needed. It was a very easy call on my part to help someone who in turn was going to help others.

MeisserThe following is a brief interview between WBA President and CEO Rose Oswald Poels and Glenwood City’s Hiawatha National Bank President and CEO James W. Meisser. Read past interviews here.

Rose: How did you first get into the banking industry?

James: Immediately after college graduation, I joined the FDIC and worked in the regulatory arena for 25 years. Shortly after retirement, my wife and I relocated to Wisconsin to manage and grow a small community bank franchise.

What is your favorite aspect of your role at your bank?

There are three aspects I would highlight as part of my role at the bank. The first is meeting and interacting with our clients, the second is mentoring clients and employees, and the third is creating solutions to problems.

What do you wish the general public understood about the banking industry?

Regulatory oversight. So often, clients are frustrated by the requests for their financial information citing, “Again, you know me, my business is doing great.” The regulators expect us to trust but verify.

Where do you believe the industry’s greatest challenges are in the next 3–5 years?

The greatest challenges I foresee are the rise of fintech companies, increased cyber/fraud attacks, and credit unions continuing to utilize their tax-exempt status to acquire community banks.

Please describe your current role at your bank and share with us one of your more rewarding experiences.

In many of the communities we serve, we are the only bank in town. For example, we have two offices in areas with populations of 120 and 338. We take very seriously our commitment to positively impact these communities with tailored charitable and lending support. For example, over the past year we have made significant donations to the local public libraries, which provide vital services in the communities we serve.

It is extremely rewarding to see our clients grow and prosper as we work together as financial partners. We have a Hudson-based client that we worked with on the formation of the business, multiple cash flow issues, and finally a multi-million-dollar sale. This client has repeatedly told us he would not have succeeded without our support. That is why we do what we do.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, we provided more than $110 million in Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Round One and another $30 million in PPP Round Two to assist individuals and businesses impacted by the virus. Additionally, despite numerous COVID-related employee absences, all employees were paid 100% of their salaries plus an additional bonus to assist in the unprecedented times. At Hiawatha National Bank, you are not just an employee, you are family.

We are continuing to implement our nationwide initiative Banking without Barriers (BWB), targeted specifically to the deaf and hard of hearing community of which I am proud to be a life-long member.

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 Milton’s First Community Bank President and CEO Brendon T. Wilkinson.

Rose: How did you first get into the banking industry?

Brendon: I started my banking career in the management training program at Valley Bank in Madison, Wisconsin after graduating from college. The program was a great introduction to banking and allowed me to experience both the sales and operational sides of the bank. Then after working as a lender in the Madison and Appleton, Wisconsin markets during the mid-90s, I took an eight-year career diversion to run a familyowned retail business in Madison before accepting my role at First Community Bank in Milton nearly 15 years ago.

What is your favorite aspect of your role at your bank?

First Community Bank is a $130MM bank, and the small size lets me really get to know and develop close working relationships with employees and bank clients. We use our asset size as an advantage and are able to quickly adapt to customer needs and make credit decisions that make sense.

What do you wish the general public understood about the banking industry?

I wish the general public better understood that all banks are not created equally. Locally owned community banks provide a significantly different and more personalized customer experience than a large regional or a national financial. On top of this, our decision makers live, work, and play within our communities and have a vested interest in the success of those communities. Banking locally not only promotes local employment but also allows a community bank additional resources for volunteer hours and monetary donations to your neighborhoods.

Where do you believe the industry’s greatest challenges will be in the next three to five years?

I view margin compression and the growth of non-traditional (FinTech) banking services to be the largest potential challenges to banking in the coming years. For a variety of reasons, banks are flush with liquidity and because of this, we are seeing competitors stretching with marginal credit decisions and rate offerings due to lack of alternative investment options. If economic conditions deteriorate, credit quality and loan losses will be at risk. An additional risk to the traditional banking industry is the growth of FinTech and non-traditional payment service providers who are attracting the younger generation of bank customers and arguably diluting the traditional customer base. Online financial service providers don’t carry the burden of brick-and-mortar branch offices and will force community banks to quickly adapt to consumer trends and technology offerings in order to remain relevant.

Please describe your current role at your bank and share with us one of your more rewarding experiences.

While most bankers would agree that the SBA Paycheck Protection Program loan funding process was not without its headaches, the staff at First Community Bank accepted the challenge and delivered in the midst of a global pandemic. Larger banks, online service providers, and local credit unions seemed to focus on the larger loan requests, which left a large portion of our area small businesses underserved. In addition to providing much needed funding to small businesses within Rock County, our bank developed new banking relationships, and we were able to demonstrate first hand how a community bank is better than the alternative.

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!

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

By, Cassie Krause