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Rose Oswald PoelsBy Rose Oswald Poels

Last month I highlighted the financial literacy awards that our non-profit arm, the Wisconsin Bankers Foundation (WBF), distributed to several bankers in recognition of their extensive financial education efforts during our last fiscal year. Today, I’d like to share a review of several different initiatives that WBF engaged in this last fiscal year, as well as ask for your continued support so we are well-positioned for 2022.

With the help of your generous donations, WBF was able to raise $49,000 last fiscal year, which allowed for countless opportunities to further invest in the financial future of people across our state. One of WBF’s long-standing initiatives is providing scholarships to high school seniors and college students. This past year, WBF awarded a total of six scholarships valued at $10,000 to high school seniors and college students interested in banking and finance. WBF provided financial education resources to bankers across the state who reached nearly 6,000 students and adults through financial literacy-focused presentations. Finally, the research component of WBF allowed us to share with bankers and the public comprehensive and comparative data on the industry through

As I look forward to the exciting work ahead of us including a silent auction to be held in conjunction with WBA’s Bank Executive Conference in February, Teach Children to Save Day in April, as well as establishing grant programming for non-profits, I encourage you to consider donating items for the auction and/or supporting us financially to keep these programs and resources accessible for many years to come!

Since WBF is a public charity not only are your contributions 100% tax deductible, but they also support an important mission of the industry’s which is empowering financial decisions through scholarship, education, and research. I encourage you to consider making a contribution in the form of a donated item for our February silent auction or a financial contribution. The WBF Board would like to raise over $70,000 this year.

The long-held tradition of promoting financial responsibility to individuals throughout the state is a point of pride to our member bankers. In acknowledging this need for resources and education in our communities, along with the scholarships, grants, and research WBF provides, I thank you in advance for considering a gift to WBF that will keep the holiday spirit going long past the current season.

As labor shortages wear on and baby boomers retire in droves, every industry is facing the issue of how to approach the younger generation, and banking is certainly no exception. Raised on technology and emerging trends, there is no doubt these kids know our future. After all, they are it. Each day, it becomes increasingly more important to reinvest our efforts into making sure our future is prepared to take on important roles in our society.

The trouble however is not understanding why banks should hire new, younger talent; they understand future technology and have the ability to use vast experiences to provide a non-banking perspective. The question remains how do banks promote careers in banking to a Gen Z.

Jim Johannes, University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Business professor emeritus of banking and finance, knows firsthand the way his students see banking: an app on their smartphone or a teller behind a screen. It’s a difficult task to grasp every aspect of banking without the ability to experience it directly. According to Jessica Fox-Wilson, director of Career Works at Beloit College, college students are impressively passionate and enthusiastic about what they do, and their lack of preconceived notions also makes them to be far more adaptable to an industry than a seasoned veteran may allow for.

Although, students typically don’t gravitate towards a career in banking, Kim Huntley, senior vice president of human resources at Waukesha State Bank, understands that new graduates from high school and college aspire to make lasting impacts on the communities; a trait perfectly aligned with the banking industry. Through community service and the ability to help foster growth in individuals and businesses in the community, banking offers just the type of rewarding work younger generations strive to achieve.

It’s difficult for many non-bankers to truly grasp the full scope of the industry without experiencing it directly. This means that “telling the banking story” (or, allowing those interested in the industry to fully see their impact) becomes that much more important, according to Johannes. Investing time to give interns the opportunity to allocate capital and see their work in action will make them much more invested in the functions of the job.

When drawing awareness to the different opportunities offered, it is important to consider the different skills that lend themselves to the banking industry. While accounting, finance, and mathematics remain as popular as ever, more and more students are graduating with focuses on communications, business, and computer science. Fox-Wilson highlights Beloit Colleges’ four core transferable skills that, regardless of the major, are evident in every college graduate: communication, collaboration, problem solving, and agility. Individuals who possess traits such as service and detail-orientation also hold the abilities that allow for a strong foundation. This means community banks are able focus their time on task-specific training.

Over the past few years, discussions regarding diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) have been important to helping grow the banking industry. By making clear efforts into hiring talent from a broad range of experiences, banks will not only emphasize the potential in every person but allow for a collaborative and innovative environment where employees are invited to enact change through their own perspective. As Gen Z is known to value inclusivity, employers that demonstrate inclusive culture also become attractive employers. Striving to diversify the talent within banks ultimately leads to greater innovations and a well-rounded team.

While the public sees banking as mainly tellers, using opportunities when interacting students while guest speaking or at job fairs to highlight the many facets of the industry including IT, marketing, and human resources may convince the otherwise skeptical that a career in banking could be a good fit for them. Not only are these positions necessary to the bank, but they are also of increasing interest to graduates. Simply informing students of available opportunities can be a great way to drum-up interest in a specific industry.

New graduates are extremely motivated by advancement opportunities and is a major advantage to beginning a career in community banking. “Community banks are small enough to give employees opportunities to grow in several areas of the bank and would prefer to promote employees from within the bank before searching outside of it,” says Huntley. The benefit of learning and growing your career quickly is highly sought-after by younger, bright-eyed graduates, especially when skills learned on the job are applicable to other aspects of banking or their career.

Banking typically isn’t conceived by younger generations as a “glamorous” or trendy career choice, which makes it a bit trickier when convincing younger generations that they make a great fit for the industry. “If you enjoy what you’re doing, it’s just a great career,” says Johannes. “You make a difference in your community in meeting and interacting with a lot of very different people and you’re able to serve a huge social function by allocating credit and preserving the payments mechanism.” Banking also provides stability and work-life balance that is unlike many other industries. Highlighting benefits that resonate with new graduates, such as generous time off policies and the ability to spend holidays with family, help the industry stand apart.

Of course, the answer to how to recruit for banking careers is multidimensional. In working alongside schools and institutions of higher education to promote an accurate image of the full banking industry, community banks would have the ability to create connections and highlight the applicability of a wide range of skills in addition to financial literacy. By having a deep understanding of the career paths that would allow each employee to be successful, banks are able to equip employees with the needed skills in their career path long before openings arise and through creating DEI missions that not only found a thriving community outside of the bank but encourage the same community involvement within. Ultimately, banks can benefit from fresh perspectives and understanding that are brought by individuals who represent the broader community in which the intuition serves.

By Hannah Flanders

Rose Oswald PoelsEach day I am astounded at the work Wisconsin bankers do to promote financial literacy and responsibility to their customers and community members. In 2015, the Wisconsin Bankers Foundation (WBF) was established to promote financial literacy and financial responsibility to the public and to broaden consumer empowerment in the financial services industry through research, education, grants, and scholarships.

On Wednesday morning, the WBF honored several financial literacy award recipients at the LEAD360 Conference in the Wisconsin Dells. I am not only pleased to celebrate this remarkable achievement but also to note that, through their outstanding efforts, Wisconsin bankers reached nearly 6,000 members of their communities during a challenging year.

This year, Sue Krause of Fox Valley Savings Bank was awarded the Financial Literacy Banker of the Year Award. The Financial Literacy Banker of the Year Award is presented to the individual banker who reported the highest number of financial education presentations. Sue was able to do 45 presentations throughout the 2020-2021 fiscal year. Of course, this is quite the feat even during a “normal” year but through her commitment to improving financial education in her community, she went above and beyond this year — thank you, Sue!

The Financial Literacy Banker Award will be presented to Dena Hineline of the Bank of Sun Prairie, who reported the second-highest number of financial education presentations during the fiscal year. Her 21 presentations alone have created a lasting impact on adults, teens, and children throughout the bank’s communities. Both Sue and Dena will also receive a Certificate of Excellence Award for achieving 20+ presentations during the fiscal year.

WBF will also recognize 12 Wisconsin bankers for giving between five and 19 presentations in the fiscal year. Thank you to Pam Blattner, Jimmy Kauffman, and Rob Stelzer, Bank of Sun Prairie; Kelley Jensen and Amy Shorougian, Citizens Bank in Mukwonago; Joshua Pauling, Farmers State Bank of Waupaca; Rachael Danielson, Ryma Lindquist, and Erik Thompson, First Bank of Baldwin; Craig Much, Horicon Bank; and Beth Durow and Julie Matthews, The Stephenson National Bank & Trust.

Ten banks will also be awarded the WBF Excellence in Financial Education Award which honors a bank-wide dedication to financial literacy. These banks include Bank of Sun Prairie, Citizens Bank in Mukwonago, Farmers State Bank of Waupaca, First Bank of Baldwin, Fox Valley Savings Bank, Horicon Bank, National Exchange Bank and Trust, Peoples State Bank – Prairie du Chien, PremierBank – Fort Atkinson, and The Stephenson National Bank & Trust.

As Wisconsin bankers show time and time again their commitment to providing resources to increase financial literacy in their own communities, WBF is proud to recognize the work of so many individuals and banks each year. I invite you to continue sharing your financial literacy efforts in your communities with the Foundation by applying next spring for these WBF awards. I also highly encourage you to submit your work in raising financial literacy and capability in Wisconsin to the 2021 Governor’s Financial Literacy Awards recognizes both individuals and organizations. The deadline for submissions is December 3, 2021.

Thank you again to all the bankers who continue the long-standing industry commitment to improving financial literacy and working towards a more financially responsible state. Your efforts do not go unnoticed and have lasting impacts throughout our community!

Ken Thompson, WBA Chair, President and CEO of Capitol Bank, Madison

Ken Thompson HeadshotSeptember means back to school, and while education is top of mind, now is a great time to remind our bankers of the importance of continuing education and how that serves our customers and community. “Expanding on Education” is one of the pillars of focus I named in my June 2021 inaugural Chair’s column, so I’ll take this timely opportunity to elaborate.

As bankers, here are a few opportunities on the horizon that will allow us to be a continued resource for our communities long after the memories of 2020 Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Loans and record mortgage activity have faded. Timely topics such as Bitcoin and enterprise risk management are on the agenda for the Management Conference, which will be held September 13–14 in Green Bay. The event will also include tailored tracks for roles including CEOs, CFOs, CCOs, HR, and other bank leaders. A couple of weeks later, the Directors Summit (September 28 in Stevens Point) will focus on topics such as digital banking, succession planning, proposed federal tax changes, and shareholder management. Continuing to learn is every bit as important in a leadership role as it is in the early stages of a banker’s career, and the Management Conference and Directors Summit offer both the content and the networking opportunities that keep bank leaders coming back year after year.

The September issue of the Wisconsin Banker features a “Back to School” focus on p. 18 where you can find out more about this fall’s trainings. We are fortunate to have access to these top-quality courses right here in Wisconsin, which WBA designs specifically for banks in our state. As usual, the Education Calendar (on p. 17) provides an overview of all of the upcoming WBA conferences, schools, workshops, webinars, and more, so you can easily match your team members with a relevant event.

While our industry and the economy continue to face challenges with interest rate margins and the uncertainty of COVID-19 in our future, it is important to focus on the positive and the things we can control. As bankers, we must keep our eyes on the opportunities that lie before us. Our customers and community are counting on us to do so.

Thompson is president and CEO of Capitol Bank, Madison, and the 2021–2022 WBA board chair.

By Rose Oswald Poels

Promoting financial education is an objective that I know many of you hold near and dear, especially as it relates to teaching our state’s youth about the importance of saving and maintaining good spending habits. This spring, over 60 banks gave virtual or in-person presentations to local schools through the Wisconsin Bankers Foundation’s Reading Raises Interest Kits. I know you are all dedicated to this spread of education year-round and I thank all of you for the work you do in the name of financial literacy. Still, we face a larger issue that continues to impact households across the country.

Wisconsin is ranked as one of the top states for households that have savings or checking accounts. In 2016, a survey found that 3.4% of its residents were considered unbanked compared to a 5% national average. While our leadership is something to be proud of, we can’t stop here. There are still many people who could benefit from the financial security of having a bank account. As part of WBA’s goals related to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) set by our Board and DEI Advisory Group, WBA continues to promote Bank On as an effective way for banks to offer these unbanked individuals and families with financial services.

Bank On was created by the Cities for Financial Empowerment (CFE) Fund to support the efforts of financial institutions and coalitions in connecting consumers to safe and affordable bank accounts. The reasons that someone may not have a bank account or is underbanked are widely varied, from issues with credit history to an overall distrust of financial institutions. Banks are in a unique position to turn these obstacles and misconceptions around.

Part of this solution has been the development of National Account Standards, which provide a benchmark for account partnerships with financial institutions. These standards include ways of eliminating socioeconomic barriers such as the omission of fees surrounding overdraft, account activation, closure, dormancy, inactivity, or low balances. For those banks that already meet the standards listed, I invite you to apply for the free national certification to raise awareness of your offerings. For those just shy of marking off the core features, I encourage you to review the potential steps toward meeting these requirements. It will undoubtedly offer a life-changing solution for unbanked and underbanked members of your community.

Nationally, nearly half of all Black households are unbanked or underbanked, and Hispanic households currently fall at 42%. Aiming to bring more people into the banking system might not feel groundbreaking at first, but it is a crucial part of bridging a gap and striving toward equity in our financial institutions. In doing so, we can assure that everyone has access to the support, security, and peace of mind that a bank can offer. It is important for banks to be on lists such as the one associated with the Bank On certification as the media, elected officials, and members of the public pay attention to them. Participating in Bank On helps close the economic gap and demonstrates the leadership role your bank and the industry are taking in this important effort. Thank you for considering this certification and contributing to the positive impacts it will have on individuals and the economy throughout our state.

After more than a year of limitations on travel, cancellation of group gatherings, and restrictions on community interactions, consumers are ready to get back to pre-pandemic life. For many, this means increasing their spending to recoup the purchases and experiences they missed in 2020. According to a report by McKinsey & Company, more than 51% of U.S. consumers expect to spend more to treat themselves after months of pandemic fatigue.

However, this can be troublesome for individuals whose jobs were impacted by business closures or reduced hours—or who weren’t able to build a savings buffer over the past year. In these situations, the temptation to ‘revenge spend,’ as the trend is being called, can lead to financial difficulties that will negate the temporary joy of a COVID-19-recovery spending spree.

Community banks have gone the extra mile throughout the pandemic to improve the account holder service experience and support ongoing—and sometimes changing—financial needs. As the recovery gets underway, there is still a great deal of need among consumers regarding their financial well-being. At the same time, expectations for exceptional service standards remain high.

As the uncertainty continues, here are five areas to consider that can strengthen your account holder relationships while alleviating some of the stress they are feeling about maintaining financial wellness.

1. Get to know your account holders’ needs

Based on account activity, are you able to position additional products to your account holders? Do you have a systematic process for offering a link to savings or line of credit? Can your team easily determine if there is a need for account management counseling?

2. Commit to total transparency

Do your account holders clearly know how their transactions are handled if they have a brief financial shortfall? Are they aware of the different overdraft protection options available to them?

3. Boost employee confidence with effective training

Do you rely solely on your employees to carry the entire training load? Does your training strategy include leveraging trainers with specific expertise? Does it sufficiently support your employees’ different learning styles?

4. Eliminate uncertainty with consistent communications

Is the information about your overdraft service shared consistently, whether it’s by phone, chat, or in-person? Do your account holders clearly understand how the service works, including fee amounts, limits, and other available options?

5. Utilize proven tools and resources to ensure optimal results

Are there tools and resources in place for identifying changes to program usage? How often does your staff take the time to evaluate program policies and procedures? Do you have someone on staff who is keeping up with potential changes in the regulatory environment and class-action risk?

Transparent, consumer-focused service yields more balanced results

As the desire to return to normal grows, ensure you’re providing valuable services and advice that can help your account holders avoid risking their long-term financial well-being.

A fully disclosed overdraft service reduces the stress caused by a financial shortfall for your account holders, leading to stronger relationships. And, when it is maintained correctly, it can be a catalyst to help you grow your business.

JMFA is a WBA Bronze Associate Member.

By, Alex Paniagua

A widow invests her late husband’s insurance proceeds with the helpful insurance lady who picks up her prescriptions and drives her to doctors’ appointments. A widower allows the gentleman who drives him to church and mows his lawn to move into his house. An elderly couple’s tax preparer convinces them to invest in a bill-paying business started by his friend. What do these three people have in common? They were all victims of investment fraud in cases investigated by the Division of Securities in the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions (DFI). 

These scenarios are real, and unfortunately, most victims are unlikely to recover any money, even if after the successful prosecution of the deception. Investors must cautiously watch for red flags of fraud in any investment. 

Red Flags of Investment Fraud

  • High-pressure sales tactics, such as asking you to make an investment decision right away, without time to read the documentation (if they even offer you any) or get a second opinion.
  • The person offering the investment is promising high returns with little or no risk. 
  • There is no written information, or what is provided is riddled with misspellings and grammatical errors.
  • The person asking you to invest tells you to keep the opportunity quiet, since it is only being offered to a few carefully chosen people, or they ask you to misrepresent your assets and income on a form. 
  • The opportunity is unsolicited, and you are told to invest by wiring money overseas, using prepaid gift cards, or bitcoin. 
  • The most significant red flag is that the person selling the investment is not registered with DFI to offer securities.

Please check out the salesperson by using or, or call our Examiner of the Day at (608) 266-2139. Our staff can help explain the information in BrokerCheck or IARD.  Choosing to work with a registered financial professional can decrease the risk of fraud, but you should be aware that red flags may also exist in transactions involving registered professionals. 

If you believe you are a victim of investment fraud, please report it right away to the Division of Securities. Do not be embarrassed—many intelligent, wealthy, and famous people have been victimized (just think of the Madoff case), and scam artists are good at what they do. The sooner a scam is reported, the better the chances are that it can be shut down while there is still money to repay victims and prevent the scammer from defrauding others. We work closely with local law enforcement and other state and federal agencies, including the Office of the Wisconsin Commissioner of Insurance (OCI), the FBI, and the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission. If we cannot handle a matter, we take steps to direct you to the appropriate agency to review your case.

June 15 is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. Elder Abuse encompasses a range of behaviors including physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, neglect, unreasonable confinement or restraint, and financial exploitation. In 2019, Dane County Adult Protective Services investigated 389 calls of elder abuse, with 81% of those calls substantiated as elder abuse.  Of those calls, 141 (36%-highest of all abuse categories) were for reports of financial exploitation.  Nationally, it is estimated that individuals over age 60 lose $36.5 billion each year as victims of financial exploitation. In 2020, the Securities Division opened approximately 58 investigations, and issued 28 orders against 53 perpetrators of investment fraud, with losses exceeding $24 million. Senior victims can be found in at least one-third of those cases.

Financial exploitation of seniors is a growing problem in Wisconsin, and we all need to work together to put a stop to it. That is why we recognize the importance of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day and have partnered with our colleagues at the Dane County Adult Protective Services, the Elder Rights Project at Legal Action of Wisconsin, the Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ), and the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) to share these important tips with you.

To report suspected abuse or neglect of adults age 60 and older, please call Wisconsin Elder Abuse Hotline at (toll-free) 1-833-586-0107 or Dane County Elder Abuse and Neglect Helpline at 608-261-9933.

Kathy Blumenfeld PortraitAbout DFI Secretary Kathy Blumenfeld

Secretary Kathy Blumenfeld is a leader with extensive experience in the financial services industry, business, and government.

In January 2019, Secretary Blumenfeld was appointed by Governor Tony Evers to her current role as the Secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions, commonly referred to as DFI.

Before taking this position, she served as Executive Vice President of Special Operations at TASC – the Total Administrative Services Corporation. There she led a federal contract modernizing the workplace charitable giving program for all federal employees and retirees.

Prior to her work at TASC, Secretary Blumenfeld was Vice President of Lending & Payment Security for CUNA Mutual Group, where she worked for 26 years. She began her career in the financial realm as a Certified Public Accountant and has also been active in her community serving on a variety of non-profit and business boards.

As secretary, she has been committed to developing caring and diverse teams that are passionate about their jobs and providing great customer service. A few of her top priorities at DFI include financial literacy and capability at all life stages, protecting consumers from financial fraud – particularly financial abuse of our seniors, entrepreneurship, and college affordability.

By, Cassie Krause

For more than a year, we have spent holidays, milestones, wins, losses, work, and leisure in the new normal created by the pandemic. At this time in 2020, many banks were planning on how they could open their branches back up to full capacity in the coming months, hoping things would get better as the weather became warmer. A goal that felt like it never moved out of phase one is beginning to appear more likely each passing day. Now, banks are planning out how they will once again open their doors to their communities.

The pandemic made us realize how difficult it can be to not see the regular smiles of customers. Although we have seen fewer faces, the industry continues to keep spirits high. The total amount of PPP loans provided in Wisconsin reached nearly  $10 billion with this number still growing as the deadline was extended, helping the businesses in need to fight through the uncertainty.

This help has also gone beyond financial assistance and shows how bankers have volunteered their time. The outcome from Power of Community saw bankers volunteer their time to food drives, animal shelters, fund-raisers, roadside cleanups, and so much more. Many banks also participated in Teach Children to Save Day by recording a banker reading a book on financial literacy to send to classrooms or using online resources provided by the  Wisconsin Bankers Foundation.

Looking ahead, an ongoing push for the Enhancing Credit Opportunities in Rural America (ECORA) Act introduced in part by Wisconsin Rep. Ron Kind aims to assist the farmers struggling through another year of instability. Removing the taxation on certain farm real estate loans will make it easier for those in the ag industry to acquire the credit they need.

We may not have seen the smiles, but rest assured they are there. Opening our doors again does not mean returning to how things were before the world shut down; it means expanding on what we have learned since this crisis started. It has made us stronger, and these struggles have given many of us new perspective. As an industry that has named our strengths in always growing, learning, and remaining nimble to change, this event has forced us to evaluate if this claim still holds true today. Wisconsin bankers have proven to be all this and more — not for themselves, but for the benefit of their communities. As many open their doors and others consider the next steps in their plans, be proud of those you have supported and thankful for those who have dedicated their time and effort to do so. The challenge may not be over, but neither is our will to provide for our customers, give back to our community, and further develop our industry.

By, Alex Paniagua

By Rose Oswald Poels

Although financial literacy and capability month has passed, the importance of this topic does not disappear. Our industry realizes how critical financial health is and, as a result, many of you are directly involved in these efforts to promote this education to all ages. To further expand on these efforts, Wisconsin Saves has created a new initiative to alleviate financial stress for Wisconsin residents.

This new initiative called Wisconsin Saves Automatic Saving Initiative is a national pilot project designed to encourage millions of Wisconsinites to establish emergency savings accounts through automated saving. The focus of the project is to encourage small-and-medium-sized employers to motivate their employees to save automatically, especially with future emergencies in mind.

As one of the co-chairs of this pilot initiative, I was honored to have worked with DFI Secretary Kathy Blumenfeld, State Treasurer Sarah Godlewski, Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corporation President Wendy Baumann, and the many bankers and others who contributed their time and ideas to this effort. This opportunity to take part in a significant effort toward financial security is one of the many ways you can lead the fight against financial illiteracy, so I encourage you as employers to participate by signing up as a Wisconsin Saves employer. Since bankers work with their customers daily to help them achieve their financial goals, you are in the best position to encourage your business customers to take part by signing up as well.

Wisconsin Saves provides employers who sign up for the program with three easy-to-use tools to help educate employees about split deposit, digital items to support the employer’s communication efforts, and a Wisconsin Saves Participation Badge to demonstrate involvement in a necessary cause.

By involving employers in the Wisconsin Saves initiative, the number of Wisconsinites with emergency savings is increased and more people will be able to manage the financial hardships, whether it be a minor setback or a shock of pandemic proportions. Even by sharing this information with others, you are making a difference in the way people are able to prepare for emergencies. I was very proud of the leadership role that several bankers took by being actively involved in working groups leading up to the launch of this pilot program. I look forward to the industry continuing to step up and lead in this and other financial literacy and capability efforts!

Teach Children To Save Infographic

7 Tips To Build Good Financial Habits

1. Talk About Money

Discuss things that cost money — both necessities and “nice to haves” — with your child and how saving is involved in getting those things. Younger children can start to learn about concepts related to savings accounts, earning interest, etc. Older children dive into concepts about credit, good debt vs. bad debt, investing, and so forth. The more you talk with your kids about important financial literacy terms and how they relate to their goals, the better!

2.  Allow Some Trial and Error

Allowing kids to make small mistakes with their money can be a good learning experience. If your child decides to spend their birthday money on something frivolous, talk through how they might make a different decision next time. 

3.  Open a Bank Account

Starting with a piggy bank, cash, and coins is great for helping kids to understand money in a digital world where the concept of a transaction can be harder to grasp. As they get older, open a bank account and help them deposit their savings. 

4.  Model Good Habits

Involve your child when you pay your bills and set aside money for retirement, education, and other large purchases. When they observe your good habits, kids will not only be more encouraged to handle their own money wisely, they’ll also pick up useful tips along the way.

5.  Encourage Sharing

Help your child determine how much to spend, save, and give away. Ask them what causes are important to them and where they would like to donate some of their money.

6.  Save Up Together

Setting a goal and saving together for a vacation or joint purchase is a fun way to encourage saving. You might offer a match or incentive for your child’s savings.

7. Keep the Conversation Going

Think of your child’s financial education as an ongoing conversation. Continue to introduce new concepts, and check in on their savings progress. Celebrate when they reach a goal, and have fun along the way!

By, Cassie Krause


Your institution is unique so your strategic plan should be unique as well. Too often, executives and directors will construct a strategic plan from old plans, use strategies that no longer work, or just brainstorm based on emotion or intuition. The environment for community financial institutions, however, has become a much faster-paced industry than it was 5 or 10 years ago (or even 1 year ago before the pandemic). In addition, the industry is impacted by many more forces, challenges, new competitors, and also opportunities than ever before. These drivers highlight the need for every financial institution to design a living, breathing strategic plan to thrive and grow.

After this webinar you’ll be able to:

  • Clarify your vision, mission, and core values
  • Learn the importance of a clearly defined strategic plan structure
  • Identify key components common to successful strategies
  • Understand the role of enterprise risk mitigation and management in an institution’s strategic plan
  • Identify and implement four key growth strategies
  • Establish “best practices” with board governance
  • Develop and manage the strategic planning and implementation process in your institution
  • Conduct a strategic risk assessment for new initiatives

Whether your institution lacks a cohesive strategy, or just wants to review existing plan(s), this webinar will address questions including:

  • What is your vision for the future of your institution?
  • Do your employees know your vision, and can they articulate it?
  • Does the culture and brand of your institution (everything from your electronic signature on your emails to the look of your lobby) reflect the vision of where you want to take your institution?
  • Do you know your risks — the risks that are unique to your institution?
  • Do you have the right people, and are they in the right places to fulfill the vision of your institution?


Target Audience: Board of directors, leadership team, supervisors with planning responsibilities, chief risk officers, and everyone involved in strategic planning process.

Marcia Malzahn, Malzahn Strategic

Registration Options
Live presentation $330

Recording available through August 9, 2022

Many banks are currently considering engaging in an M&A transaction as either a buyer or seller. The motivations behind the deal may vary, but one common component across every transaction is the necessity to price it correctly. The current environment presents opportunity, provided transactions are appropriately analyzed from a financial perspective. This session will take an in-depth look at the financial analysis of a bank M&A transaction from each of the buy and sell side. This session will include specific review and discussion of the various pricing methods that are employed by investment bankers, and will also discuss the applicable Acquisition Accounting and taxation concerns. Each of these important issues will be presented in a highly informative and engaging

Target Audience: Executive officers and their teams

Greyson Tuck, Gerrish Smith Tuck, Consultants and Attorneys

Registration Options
Live presentation $275

Recording available through August 12, 2022

This program covers how to calculate and analyze the basic set of financial statement (or tax return) ratios for operating businesses. Preliminary steps (covered in related programs) include understanding the types of financial statements and level of accountant involvement, distinguishing between cash and accrual accounting methods, and the unique format and features of business tax returns. We now turn to the four primary sets of ratios: (1) liquidity, (2) leverage, (3) profitability, (4) efficiency, and (5) debt coverage. Using a comprehensive case, calculations are demonstrated, as wells as major issues, strengths and limitations of the various ratios. Participants will work from a ratios reference guide that is intended to be a resource for future statement spreading.

Topics to be covered include:

  • Basic guidelines for classifying and spreading the data
  • Identify the key components of a balance sheet
  • Calculate liquidity and leverage ratios for an example business and interpret the results
  • Identify situations with positive or negative working capital
  • Describe common-sizing of the balance sheet
  • Identify the key components of an income statement
  • Calculate profitability and traditional cash flow measures for an example business and interpret the results
  • Calculate efficiency and debt coverage ratios for an example business and interpret the results
  • Explain the use of industry and comparative data within financial analysis

Target Audience: Credit analysts, portfolio managers, assistant relationship managers, community bankers, small business lenders, commercial lenders, consumer lenders, branch managers that lend to business owners, private bankers, special assets officers, loan review specialists, and others involved in business and commercial lending

Richard Hamm, Advantage Consulting & Training

Registration Option
Live presentation $330

Recording available through July 19, 2022

Analyzing business financial statements and tax returns starts with understanding the basic components of the balance sheet and income statement, along with the reconciliation of retained earnings, plus footnotes and other disclosures. The business tax return is nothing more than a financial statement with similar components, but with a different format and structure. A second step is to use a diagram, with the components in rough proportion to dollar size, to see how the components “flow” together and interact to create three major financial relationships: (1) Sales to total assets, (2) profit retention, and (3) leverage. A third step is to identify and understand the key principles underlying the three primary methods of accounting, followed by examining an accountant cover letter, if applicable.

Topics to be covered include:

  • Identify various financial statement analysis options and tools, plus the basic structure and purposes of financial statements and tax returns
  • Diagram the statement components and how they flow together and create three major relationships
  • Identify various levels of accountant-prepared financial statements (compilations, reviews, and audits) and related accountant cover letters
  • Describe key issues in using internal or company-prepared statements, as well as interim statements
  • Compare and contrast the three primary methods of accounting
  • Key standards, limitations, and alternatives within accrual accounting or generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP)

Target Audience:  Credit analysts, portfolio managers, assistant relationship managers, community bankers, small business lenders, commercial lenders, consumer lenders, branch managers that lend to business owners, private bankers, and special assets

Richard Hamm, Advantage Consulting & Training

Registration Option
Live presentation $330

Recording available through June 29, 2022

The session will begin with analyzing the four financial statements — Income Statement, Statement of Retained Earnings, Balance Sheet, and Statement of Cash Flows. This will include revenue and expense recognition, FIFO, LIFO, and average inventory costing models, operating expenses (repairs) versus improvements, depreciation including straight-line, units-of-production, and double-declining balance, amortization, and depletion.

The seminar will also explore accounts receivable assessment, allowance for doubtful accounts, intangible assets, accounts payable assessment, capital and operating leases, and analysis of the equity section of the Balance Sheet including partners’ capital accounts, common and preferred stock, treasury stock, stock splits, and retained earnings.

Additionally, the types or levels of financial statements will be highlighted including company-prepared, compiled, reviewed, and audit. The audited financial statements will include unqualified, qualified, adverse, and disclaimer.

The participant will then be introduced to a five-part financial statement analysis model which will include the liquidity, activity, leverage, operating performance, and cash flow.

Additionally, the related topics of the Z-Score (bankruptcy predictor) and the sustainable growth models will be reviewed.


  • Analyze the four financial statements including Income Statement, Statement of Retained Earnings, Balance Sheet, and Statement of Cash Flows
  • Explore income statement issues including revenue recognition, inventory costing, and depreciation
  • Cover Balance Sheet accounts including accounts receivable, allowance for doubtful accounts, accounts payable, and the equity section
  • Review the levels of financial statement reporting including company-prepared, compiled, reviewed, and audit
  • Analyze a “five-part” analysis model including liquidity, activity, leverage, operating performance, and cash flow
  • Analyze the EBITDA, personal (business owner), global, and sensitivity cash flow analyses
  • Discuss the Z-score (bankruptcy predictor) and sustainable growths models
  • Summarize the seminar concepts through case studies

Target Audience: Commercial lenders, commercial relationship managers, credit analysts, loan administrators

David Osburn, Osburn & Associates, LLC

Registration Option
Live presentation $330

Recording available through June 15, 2022

This webinar covers the basics of commercial lending and is a must for all new commercial lenders and/or those individuals who want to explore this vital discipline!

The session will begin with a brief overview of conventional commercial lending versus SBA lending. Additionally, the concept of credit scoring will be explored. Next, the program will cover underwriting a commercial loan including a brief review of financial statement analysis (with emphasis on various cash flow analyses). Additionally, a standard loan write-up or written presentation format will be displayed.  Finally, the session will conclude by reviewing various related concepts including negotiating a commercial loan, sources of commercial financing, and a brief overview of various legal aspects of commercial lending.

Program objectives

  • Define commercial lending
  • Discuss conventional commercial lending versus SBA lending
  • Explore credit scoring
  • Cover underwriting a commercial loan including financial statement analysis (with emphasis on cash flow analyses)
  • Analyze a standard loan write up
  • Review negotiating commercial loans, sources of commercial financing, and legal aspects of commercial lending

Target Audience
Credit analysts, branch managers, assistant branch managers, private bankers, and business development officers.

David Osburn, Osburn & Associates, LLC

Registration Option
Live presentation $330

Recording available through May 1, 2022

Virtual currency continues to emerge as a hot button for BSA/OFAC risk. In this session, you will learn how virtual currency operates and its place in the fiat currency world. We will provide details on the U.S. banking system’s role in processing these transactions and upcoming regulatory changes that will allow financial institutions to serve as currency exchangers. We will also review how to differentiate investors from exchangers and provide guidance on how to identify these  transactions. We will discuss FinCEN and the U.S. Treasury advisories regarding the risk virtual currency transactions could present and explore monitoring protocols and SAR filing responsibilities relating to virtual currency transactions.

Target Audience
Anyone involved in virtual currency transactions

Robin Guthridge, Wipfli LLP

Registration Option
Live presentation $275

Recording available through April 25, 2022


Join WBA and your fellow retail, sales, and marketing peers from across Wisconsin for the gathering of the WBA LEAD360 Conference! The Conference will kick off on November 16 at 9:30 a.m. and adjourn at noon on November 17. This conference is for your retail bankers, sales/marketing bankers and financial literacy bankers.
Bank Member Registration:
The registration fee is $350 per first attendee. Each additional attendee from your bank is an $300 per additional attendee in person.

Registration includes networking meals and breaks, general sessions, breakout sessions, and access to the summit mobile app.

Day Two Only Registration is $100 per attendee.

*To receive the published discount, you must register everyone at the same time.
Associate Member Registration:

Associate Members are encouraged to send their staff as well! The same registration fee is available to WBA Associate Members.

Interested in upgrading your presence? Register to be a conference sponsor to receive additional benefits and conference recognition!
Booth Information

Your exhibit booth includes:

  • Access to conference attendee list — each bank will have multiple staff registered, bank titles will be included
  • 1 – 6-ft. table in exhibit hall, with space allowing for an 8’x10′ exhibit display
  • Company name, contact information, and description listed in the conference mobile app
  • “Exhibitor” ribbon on name badge
  • Networking opportunity with 100+ Wisconsin bankers!

WBA Associate Member Registration:
Exhibit Booth with 2 Attendees – $600

Non-Member Registration:
Exhibit Booth with 2 Attendees – $1,000