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Leaders in Banking Excellence celebration tent photo

Pictured left to right are: Lee J. Schmalz, John K. Reinke, and Robert J. Just, Jr.

Five individuals were honored by the Wisconsin Bankers Association for their excellence in banking, community service, and civic involvement. A celebration was held on Friday, September 9 at the WBA headquarters in Madison, where a Leaders in Banking Excellence Wall installation displays a tribute to outstanding current and former bankers. The wall, established in 2020, now profiles 22 exceptional leaders.

“This year’s Leaders in Banking Excellence are once again deserving of the name,” said Rose Oswald Poels, WBA president and CEO. “These five bankers have not only been influential in their profession but have also been actively involved in their communities throughout their careers.”

The honorees in the Class of 2022 Leaders in Banking Excellence are:

  • Robert J. Just, Jr., Mound City Bank, Platteville;
  • Debra R. Lins, the former Community Business Bank, Sauk City (and others);
  • John K. Reinke, The Stephenson National Bank & Trust, Marinette;
  • Lee J. Schmalz, East Wisconsin Savings Bank, Kaukauna; and
  • the late James B. Wigdale, M&I Bank (now BMO Harris Bank), Milwaukee.

To read the bios of each of the 2022 Leaders in Banking Excellence honorees, please visit the Class of 2022 page.

Class of 2021

Five individuals were honored by the Wisconsin Bankers Association for their excellence in banking, community service, and civic involvement. A celebration was held on Friday, October 29 at the WBA headquarters in Madison, where a Leaders in Banking Excellence Wall installation displays a tribute to outstanding current and former bankers. The wall was established in 2020, and the five Class of 2021 honorees join the 12 inaugural honorees.

“These leaders have made significant contributions to Wisconsin’s banking industry and to the economic wellbeing of our state,” said Rose Oswald Poels, WBA president and CEO. “Part of what makes them exceptional leaders is that they have inspired others to succeed in their professions and in service to their communities.”

The honorees in the 2021 Leaders in Banking Excellence class are: Jon Bernander, Bank of Wisconsin Dells; Robert Gorsuch, Oak Bank, Fitchburg; Mary L. Staudenmaier, The Stephenson National Bank & Trust (SNBT), Marinette; John Godfrey Thomson, The Bank of New Glarus; and Merlin E. Zitzner, Baraboo State Bank.

Read the bios of each of the 2021 Leaders in Banking Excellence honorees.

Twelve individuals are being honored by the Wisconsin Bankers Association for their excellence in banking, community service, and civic involvement. A celebration for this inaugural class was held on June 4 at the WBA headquarters in Madison, where a newly-built Leaders in Banking Excellence Wall installation displays a tribute to the selected current and former bankers. The event had been postponed from the fall of 2020 due to the pandemic.

“These leaders have helped shape Wisconsin’s banking industry into what it is today,” said Rose Oswald Poels, WBA president and CEO. “They exemplify the values of our association:  highest ethics, professionalism, and enthusiastic service to our industry and to our state. It is my privilege to host an honor wall of this type at our WBA headquarters in Madison.”

The honorees in the 2020 Leaders in Banking Excellence are:  Paul C. Adamski, The Pineries Bank, Stevens Point; James K. Caldwell, First Citizens State Bank, Whitewater; the late James S. Dolister, Capitol Bank, Madison; the Eager Family, the former Union Bank & Trust Company, Evansville; Thomas F. Farrell, Peoples State Bank, Prairie du Chien; the late John F. (Jack) Kundert, the former Bank One, Monroe; E. David Locke, the former McFarland State Bank; Richard (Dick) Pamperin, Premier Community Bank, Marion; Steven R. Schowalter, Port Washington State Bank; Frederick F. Schwertfeger, Horicon Bank; Jerry Smith, First Business Bank, Madison; and the late Thomas M. Tubbs, Bank of Sun Prairie.

To learn more about each of the 2020 Leaders in Banking Excellence honorees, please visit www.wisbank.com/excellence2020/.

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About the Wisconsin Bankers Association
Founded in 1892, WBA is the state’s largest financial industry trade association, representing more than 200 commercial banks and savings institutions, their branches, and over 21,000 employees. The Association represents banks of all sizes in Wisconsin, and nearly 98 percent of banks in the state are WBA members.

By, Cassie Krause