Wisconsin banks empower employees, drive service

By Hannah Flanders

Accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic, changes in work-life balance, employee expectations, and workplace culture have all dramatically shifted among every industry. However, as new cultures of service emerge internally, an increasing number of businesses are considering how this company culture shift may widely benefit both current and prospective employees as well as the perspective of customers.

The Culture of Serving Others

Company culture, or the shared values and beliefs held within an organization, continues to prove itself as a significant factor not only in talent attraction and recruitment, but in how Wisconsin’s community banks are able to stand out from large competitors.

Time and time again, poor management or lack of service are often to blame for individuals leaving businesses or finding new providers. However, as Wisconsin’s community banks focus their efforts into doing what they do best — providing high quality service to every member of their communities — it will come as no surprise that talent and customers will follow.

Establishing an Effective Company Culture

According to Amanda Emery-Morris, training and marketing coordinator at Farmers & Mer- chants Union Bank in Columbus, company culture is largely connected to the mission, vision, and beliefs held by the bank. In this, most Wisconsin banks have already completed the most challenging aspect.

In order to encourage employees to adopt these values, managers should ensure a sense of trust among their staff.

Robb Rempel of Nebraska-based Haberfeld highlights that in order to empower the employee, it is critical that they are provided with, and have an understanding of, products they believe in and have processes that encourage follow through.

These processes should not only include training and equipping every team member to identify customer needs but ensuring every team member understands where they can turn with questions or direct others. These skills are vital in fostering a confident team.

Sustaining Culture Among Employees

Of course, setting employees and prospective talent up for success is one aspect to consider — but how can banks ensure they are continually boosting employee morale and that company culture is evident to new or prospective employees? Rempel suggests that community bankers should lean into the changes caused by COVID.

“Regularly check in with your team — really get to know them as people,” he notes.

This follow through not only drives engagement and performance but develops a personal connection between team members. As our industry demands this intimate connection with others in order to better serve, it is critical that at every level, managers show this care for their employees who then feel inclined to pass it on to the customer.

“Part of our retention strategy is to provide the tools [our team members] need to do their jobs efficiently,” says Emery-Morris. “Whether it be more training or mentoring, [our goal is to] help that individual be the best banker he or she can be.”

Additionally, banks should recognize team members based on their contributions to the overall culture of the organization — not just top job performance. By building a brand surrounding the service provided by employees of the organization and celebrating the successes, others are encouraged to take part.

The Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) considers reward and recognition programs as key mechanisms to motivate employees to act in accordance with the culture and values.

While strategy remains an important factor not only in keeping Wisconsin’s community banks relevant and competitive against the growth in competition for customers and talent, Rempel encourages banks to “build a brand around service, not so much procedure.”

How to Leverage Culture Externally

While commonly considered as a way to form rooted connections among employees and the business, culture can also be used to make community banks stand out. In focusing specifically on expanding the culture of service bankers bring to their communities, new ways to market closely follow.

In particular, word-of-mouth marketing is one of the most valuable tools a business can utilize. According to Semrush, an online visibility management and marketing platform, around 90% of people are likely to trust a recommended brand.

This tactic has the potential to not only drive sales in new customers, but it is also a simple and highly effective way for community banks to increase the awareness of their organization.

During the recruiting process, community banks may also emphasize company culture by ensuring prospective employees align with the bank’s mission, rather than solely by skill.

“By knowing who we [Farmers & Merchant Union Bank] are and what we want to achieve, employees and prospective employees know what we stand for and what’s expected of them,” states Emery-Morris.

In this, community banks that intertwine culture into the standard hiring process may find that employees are more likely to have higher performance and the business will suffer less from the costly impact of departures.

Staying Informed and Ahead

As company culture continually shifts and services valued by employees and customers evolve, it is critical that Wisconsin’s community banks are prepared to deliver.

During the Wisconsin Bankers Association’s (WBA) upcoming LEAD360 Conference, bankers will be equipped with the tools, skills, and understanding to cultivate an environment of productivity and foster connections.

Retail, sales, marketing, and financial literacy bankers convening in Wisconsin Dells November 16 and 17 will have the opportunity to learn more on topics related to service culture and talent retention from Rempel and Emery-Morris as well as several other speakers.

To learn more about the conference or register, please visit

The conference is designed to help ensure Wisconsin’s community banks are prepared to promote the value of staff and assist team members in efficiently and effectively serving their communities. The ability to stay abreast of the ever-evolving workplace culture shifts and trends in our industry will prove essential in remaining competitive and ready to serve.

Triangle Background

The winning photographs for the WBA 2023 Scenes of Wisconsin calendar have been chosen! A panel of five judges reviewed almost 200 submitted photographs and selected 12 striking images to be featured on each month of the calendar next year. Each photo submitted for the contest was captured in Wisconsin by a Wisconsin banker, their family member, or a bank customer.

The winning photographers for the 2023 calendar are:

  • January: Michael DeWitt, Northern State Bank, Ashland
  • February: Nicole Thompson, Stephenson National Bank & Trust, Marinette
  • March: Torrie Bland, First Bank of Baldwin
  • April: Dawn Huber, Farmers & Merchants Union Bank, Fall River
  • May: Melinda Shoemaker, Mayville Savings Bank
  • June: Jenelle Thompson, AbbyBank, Wausau
  • July: Lloyd Fleig, Frandson Bank & Trust, Eau Claire
  • August: Tyler Stamper, Bankers’ Bank, Madison
  • September: Isaac Christenson, First Bank of Baldwin
  • October: Daniel Anderson, Nicolet National Bank, Green Bay
  • November: Lisa Rosinsky, Bank First, Manitowoc
  • December: Pamela Plenge, Union State Bank of West Salem
  • 2023 Cover: Patty Vanstone, Town Bank, a Wintrust Community Bank, Clinton
Triangle Background

Helping young adults establish credit

By Tammy Tongusi

Financial institutions tend to overlook teens becoming adults, especially when it comes to providing education. Young adults will need to become financially independent, notably to prepare for purchasing a car or buying their first home. In today’s world, young adults plan for their future very differently than thirty years ago. I do not recall hearing from my parents or educators, “You should start thinking about building your credit.” As bankers, we help to start that process by giving our customers the tools they need to reach their financial goals. We know the credit scoring system creditors use to help determine your credit score. This will have an impact on many transactions going forward from whether or not a loan will be approved to the interest rate that will be paid and even the cost of car insurance.

Forte Bank offers a Teens with Green Club account that is designed for 13–17 year olds, and most of them are eager to get a checking account with a debit card. The teenage years are a great time to start the conversation and get them thinking. Many people do not realize that students and other young adults can establish credit through their parents’ credit if their credit card allows authorized users to be added. These card companies report to all three credit bureaus, so credit scores can start to build.

Financial classes for students and young adults, held in schools or at the bank branch, give them the tools needed to establish credit for future purchases and how to budget money to make them financially responsible. By promoting financial awareness, they can start taking steps to be on the path to a brighter future.

A “secured” credit card is a great starting point for customers with no credit or very low credit scores and is an excellent way to start building a credit history. The Forte Bank program requires account holders to have a separate deposit account with the bank and a balance of funds to hold as collateral. This deposit, which must be placed for at least 12 months, will establish the credit limit as a minimum of $250.00 and with no maximum. This will allow them to start understanding how to properly use a credit card. Stressing how important it is to make monthly payments on time and not maxing out the credit card every month is crucial for a young adult building their credit score. We generally recommend using credit cards for minimal purchases two to three times a month.

After they have received their secured card, they should take some time before they start applying for other credit cards. Having a credit use history will help in both building a credit score and gaining access to other lines of credit.

Another way to consider establishing credit is to explore the options of having a joint credit with a co-signer. This can be especially useful with an automobile purchase. Many banks will offer a reduced rate if customers sign up for automatic payments. Additionally, it will ensure their payments will be on time.

Forte Bank is very active in finding ways to ensure that future generations are responsible users of credit. Taking an active role at the start of their credit journey is a great way to help teens and young adults establish a solid credit score and understand how these products can be used to help them on their financial journey throughout life.

Tongusi is assistant vice president – retail banker and consumer lender at Forte Bank, Hartford and a member of the 2021–2022 WBA Marketing Committee.

Tips for creating more visually captivating photographs with just a cell phone

By Daniel Rivera

Once upon a time, all a business needed to grab a consumer’s attention was a catchy tagline. In today’s world, media channels are constantly evolving, and battling brands are always looking for ways to make their content stand out over the competition. Your social media posts reflect your bank’s brand and for your brand to stand out, your posts must do the same. We all know (at least we should know) that a social media post cannot rely solely on witty text to draw the attention of anyone scrolling through. At the same time though, just posting any photo will not do the trick either.

Despite what you may believe, you don’t need a fancy professional camera to take stellar photos. Most of the time, your smart phone will do the trick. Here are some simple tips for creating more visually captivating photographs with just your cell phone:

Look for the Light:

The first step to taking a great photo is to find the best light source and to adjust your shot accordingly. You want to make sure that your subject is well-lit while also not having them stare directly into the sun. Sometimes your options are limited, and your phone will adjust accordingly. However, if your phone is automatically setting the exposure too low, tap the screen on the area that is appearing too dark as you’re setting up your shot, and your phone will adjust the overall exposure to compensate for that part of the image.

Tell the Story:

Getting a great group photo isn’t just about gathering everyone for a quick picture. You’ll want to incorporate some elements into the frame that help tell the story. If you are raising money for breast cancer awareness, make sure everyone is wearing pink. If you’re sponsoring a concert in the community, be sure to show the musicians on stage by your bank’s banner. And if your bank is taking part in the town’s parade, show off the colorful float as well as anyone walking by it, ready with goodies to throw out to the crowd.

Make ’em Smile:

Happy people want to work with happy people. So, regardless of whether you’re trying to attract new customers or new employees, make sure those in your photos are showing you their best smiling faces.

Enhance Your Photos:

Sometimes, you can get a great-looking shot straight out of the camera that needs no additional work — but many times — your photo could use a little enhancing. Adjusting the brightness, contrast, color saturation, and crop of your photo are all you need to make your photo pop. You don’t even need to purchase a software subscription to make these simple edits either. Adobe has free mobile versions of their Photoshop and Lightroom programs, while Snapseed and PicMonkey are also great photo-editing options worth looking into, all available for Android and iOS devices.

Media and its impact on consumers is constantly evolving. So, now that you’re ready to take your smartphone photography to a whole new level, just imagine what you can do with your bank’s brand once you’ve taken it a step further with video!

Rivera is marketing coordinator at The Bank of New Glarus and a member of the 2021–2022 WBA Marketing Committee.


Join Us for the WBA LEAD360 Conference on November 16-17 in Wisconsin Dells!

By Hannah Flanders

When Josh Mabus founded Mabus Agency in 2008, customer relationships with banks had already begun evolving. What started as general services creative agency soon morphed into a bank-focused marketing agency with a mission to both help people and raise the creative bar. Mabus and his team have reimagined marketing with banks and their customers in mind.

This year at the Wisconsin Bankers Association’s LEAD360 Conference, Mabus will be hosting a session that will assist banks in creating strong customer relationships through branding.

“Attendees will gain new perspectives in how an overarching brand can affect all areas of a customer’s life. I’ll share Mabus Agency’s unique perspective of the five key components of bank marketing, and how they work together to build effective and efficient strategies,” said Mabus.

LEAD360 is an annual conference that gathers retail bankers, sales/marketing bankers, and financial literacy bankers from across Wisconsin for two days of comprehensive breakout sessions and networking among peers.

“I love the focused learning that comes from smaller groups like these,” said Mabus. “Not only is it easier to communicate to smaller groups, but everyone in the room has similar experiences marketing to shared customers.”

If you are interested in learning more, make sure you’re registered for LEAD360 in Wisconsin Dells November 16–17. For more details on Josh’s LEAD360 session and the full agenda, visit the event page.

Q: May a Person Use the Name, Logo, or Symbol of a Bank in Marketing Material?

A: Not if it is deceptive. More specifically, Wis. Stat. section 221.0404 provides, in summary, that no person may use the name, logo, or symbol of a bank, or such that is deceptively similar to that of a bank, in any marketing material provided to another person in a manner that a reasonable person may believe that the marketing material originated from the bank.

WBA is aware that potentially deceptive letters have recently circulated. Such letters often take the form of mortgage relief offers, solicited by individuals unassociated with the bank. Similar letters have also been seen by Paycheck Protection Program participants. Depending on the nature of these letters, they may violate section 221.0404. The Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions (DFI) has enforcement authority over this section, including the ability to issue cease and desist orders, and penalties. Banks that encounter such letters are encouraged to contact WBA, and DFI.

Note that to be a violation, the letter must be deceptive, meaning that a reasonable person reading the letter could believe it originated from the bank. A letter is not a violation if a reasonable person should recognize that it did not originate from the bank. This includes letters which display a disclaimer, such as to indicate that the sender is not affiliated with the bank. WBA has also spoken with DFI recently and learned that a letter might be deceptive based upon its envelope. Specifically, envelopes with a “window,” which reveals a portion of the letter including bank’s name. Even if there is a disclaimer in the letter inside, if it’s not visible on the envelope or through the “window,” it could be considered deceptive.

Even if a letter is not deceptive, banks might hear complaints from their customers. In such situations, banks might consider discussing with its customers how and when it will issue correspondence. This way, customers can easily identify what originates from the bank. Additionally, banks might consider discussing this matter with its customers at time of loan closing so they can be better prepared to identify these letters as not originating from the bank.

If you have any questions on this topic or other matters of compliance, contact WBA’s legal call program at 608-441-1200 or

Birrenkott is WBA assistant director – legal.

Note: The above information is not intended to provide legal advice; rather, it is intended to provide general information about banking issues. Consult your institution’s attorney for special legal advice or assistance. 

By, Cassie Krause

Bank name changes go beyond charter conversions

What's in a (bank) name? It's branding, but so much more. Competition, growth and expanding markets, local history, M&A, relationship with the community… An inexhaustible list of influences can impact an institution's strategy for its name. Changing names is not a decision made lightly for any business, but when approached strategically it can be an effective way for banks to retain or gain target customers or to deepen its connection with a wider community. 

A bank's motivation to change its name could range from compliance (i.e. a charter conversion), to significant changes in corporate strategy, product/service mix, or the bank's target market, to differentiating or refreshing the bank's current brand, according to John Verre, president and CEO, Leap Strategic Marketing. Regardless of the reason behind the name change, more and more banks are choosing creative, non-traditional names. "What we see reflects banks recognizing the value of a brand and trademark," explained Jason Hunt, attorney at Boardman & Clark, LLP. "Traditionally, many banks picked names reflective of their local geographic community or descriptive of their position in the community, but as they expand they want to have more of a unique trade name or brand." 

Fortifi Bank, formerly known as 1st National Bank of Berlin, is a perfect example. The bank is 142 years old and originally chartered in Berlin, Wis. Over the past two decades, however, it expanded its footprint well beyond its name. "We now reach from Waunakee to Green Bay," said President/CEO Eric Cerbins. "We were being confused with a few other First National Banks within that footprint." The bank rebranded a few years ago in order to differentiate, but the market confusion continued. "It used to be there was just one First National Bank in each community, but as we grew our territories started to overlap," explained SVP – Marketing Loni Meiborg. When the bank decided to convert from a national to a state charter, it also used the opportunity to change its name in order to achieve the market differentiation it was looking for. 

Another bank that recently moved beyond geographic names is Bluff View Bank, formerly Bank of Galesville (as well as Seven Bridges Bank, Holmen and Bank of Trempealeau). "The name change is a larger rebranding of the bank and the result of several years of strategic planning and consultation with our marketing agency," said President/CEO Scott Kopp. "When we first went into new communities we wanted to be part of that community, including the name." However, maintaining separate entities for each community the bank served presented problems. "We found it was difficult to market three different entities with different names and logos," Kopp explained. "It was cumbersome, and some of our customers weren't aware that we were affiliated with our different locations."

4 Steps to a New Name

While changing a bank's name is not a small undertaking, there are several steps you can take to make the transition smoother. 

1. Generate a list of possible names. First, make sure you understand the regulatory constraints on your name. "DFI's Division of Banking interprets Wisconsin law to require a state-chartered Wisconsin bank to include the word 'bank' in its name," explained Patrick Neuman, attorney at Boardman & Clark, LLP. It's also important to keep in mind how important differentiation is to your institution when you begin brainstorming. "Most banks want to use words that reflect their values, but oftentimes banks have similar values," Hunt pointed out. "Banks have to start thinking outside the box." Banks should consider formal research into how its new name or brand can differentiate it from competitors. "Some changes require research involving customers, prospects, and employees," said Verre. "Think of it as a gap analysis. Look at banking in your community and ask what's missing."

The name "Fortifi Bank" began at a facilitated session with 16 bank staff members of different demographics and backgrounds who focused on the bank's present and future identity. From there, they generated a list of 200 different words that the bank's marketing department filtered, combined, and narrowed down. "We got really creative and reviewed everything that was generated," said Meiborg. "We could have stuck with a more traditional name, but we took the opportunity to evaluate our target market and deliver a name that is better aligned." Bluff View Bank used a similar approach, seeking employee opinions very early on. "I asked all of our employees to give us suggestions, and they, along with our marketing agency, really came up with some outstanding names," said Kopp. "We then had to get them vetted and trademarked. We narrowed it down to three, and then had a voting process to get input from employees again." 

2. Conduct an initial screening. As Kopp stated, it is critical to vet the list of potential names before investing any time or money in the new brand or name. "Banks get very far down the road and very excited about a new name before doing an initial screening, and then are disappointed if it's not available," Hunt cautioned. "I highly recommend doing that initial screening first. It's inexpensive to do an initial trademark screening through a law firm and it's better to do it at the beginning than to spend a lot of money creating a new name and brand only to discover a problem down the road." If the bank has plans to expand its market area in the future, Hunt strongly recommends registering the new name with the U.S. Trademark Office. "Assuming the name is available, a U.S. trademark registration will give the bank constructive rights to use that name even in areas where the bank has not yet started doing business or using the name," he explained. "The advantage is, as the bank expands, it can continue to use the name and won't be forced to change."

3. File with the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions' Division of Banking. This is the step where the bank formally adopts its new name. "The way a bank changes its name in Wisconsin is to file an amendment to its articles of incorporation," Neuman explained. "That requires a majority vote of the bank's shareholders." Since most Wisconsin banks have a holding company, this requirement is simpler to accomplish than some banks assume, since the holding company board can vote on behalf of its shareholders. Banks also have the option of delaying the effective date of the change up to 90 days, if that fits their rollout strategy better. 

4. Communicate, communicate, communicate! Of the dozens of action steps involved in launching a renaming/rebranding campaign, the most essential is clear, effective, and timely communication with regulators and vendors, customer/clients, and the community. "Make sure you work with your core data processor to have your new legal name on all of your contracts," Neuman advised. Other important considerations include correspondent debt held at the holding company level and the bank's insurance policies. "A legal name change should not affect the validity of your contracts, but it's still a good idea to let all of your vendors and providers know ahead of time," he continued. "Name changes are mostly a state-driven issue. However, the state-chartered banks do need to file a FRY-10 with the Fed and should notify the FDIC in writing of the name change."

Bluff View Bank and Fortifi were both pleasantly surprised by how positively their customers and clients reacted to their bank's new name. One thing that likely influenced that reaction: both institutions also had board members and/or staff, including loan officers, reach out to clients in advance to notify them of the upcoming name change. If the name change is not the result of a merger, Verre strongly recommends over-communicating that to your customers. "Take the same steps to communicate to customers and employees as you would if it were a merger, so you ensure they know it's not a change in ownership," he said. "Many consumers will assume when you change your name there might be M&A involved, so you need to communicate that it's the same ownership, locations, employees, and products and services." 

The key, according to Meiborg, is to make sure your customers and community know only the bank's name is changing, not its commitment to them. "We work very hard for our communities to know we're part of them," she explained. "Throughout the process it's important to remind the community that you're not changing what you stand for or interrupting your service. You're changing so you can be around longer and stronger to keep serving the community."

Boardman & Clark, LLP is a WBA Gold Associate Member.
Leap Strategic Marketing is a WBA Associate Member.

By, Amber Seitz

When it comes to delivery channels, the quantity over quality strategy is ineffective, Gallup research shows. In studies and surveys conducted from 2013-2016, Gallup has found that some banks have focused on aggressively expanding the number of channels they offer their customers without first researching how to choose the channels that best fit their customers and their overall strategic goals. Channel satisfaction is the key to increasing engagement and deepening the bank's relationship with its customers, and the key to channel satisfaction is identifying how and where your customers want to interact with you. 

The list of channel options for product delivery and marketing seems endless—but rather than having 500 channels and nothing good on, a strategic channel approach can effectively engage your audience. When the focus shifts from individual channels to the overall customer experience, it can be easier to identify where to focus. In general, channels can be classified as either traditional or digital and used for product delivery or marketing. Wisconsin Banker interviewed four experts to highlight current popular channels for banks to consider. 

"Branches are not dead, they're just changing from transaction centers to sales centers," said Mark Arnold, president of On the Mark Strategies. The bank branch is still a key channel because customers still want to know their banker and value the experience they have with the bank—regardless of whether that experience is online or in person, according to Sara Baker, vice president, Ladysmith Federal Savings & Loan. "Customers still demand that high-touch personal service from their community bank," said Baker. "Balancing the digital versus human touch relationships with our customers is key to the future of community banking."

Interactive Teller Machines
"Interactive teller—or video teller—machines are something every bank should study," said Jay Coakley, president of Coakley Strategic Solutions, LLC. "You can reduce delivery cost and provide great customer service, especially in a small community, by utilizing employees in one location to service customers in another location. It's great technology." These machines can help banks maintain strong service relationships even in locations where a full-scale branch is inefficient or prohibitively expensive to operate. 

Core Processors
Banks should consider the delivery channels offered through their core vendor, according to Jim Pannos, president and principal of the Pannos Marketing Agency. "Many of our clients are getting involved with their core processors to get their most recent release because there are so many more capabilities within the newer core processing platforms," he explained. 

"Don't forget the power of email," said Arnold. "Email is still a great channel to use to deliver products and services. Think about how scalable they are and how they look on mobile." For example, with the growing number of emails viewed on mobile phones, the format needs to be designed to allow readers to scroll through content easily.

Content marketing
In all digital marketing, but email especially, good content is a critical component. "Consumers today really want content and not sales pitches," said Arnold. "It's what you're saying as opposed to how you're saying it." Banks can position themselves as expert advisors by offering useful information to their customers through blogs, their website and emailed newsletters. However, Arnold cautions against too much verbosity: "People are consuming more information than they ever have before, but in smaller bites. Information you send out needs to be digestible," he said. 

Technology that allows customers to access answers when the bank's doors aren't open will become increasingly important, according to Pannos. "Your bank doesn't have to be open 24 hours, but people are focused on accessing at their leisure versus when the bank is open," he said. The convenience of online banking appeals to many customers who previously performed transactions in the branch. "Consumers are not increasing the number of transactions each month," Coakley said of the growth in online and mobile transactions. "They're just interacting with the bank in a way that's more convenient for them."

"Mobile has the strongest trend line," said Coakley. "From the studies we've done, mobile banking's trend line is going up at a steep increase while online, in-branch and phone systems are declining." However, it is important that the bank dedicate enough resources to their mobile app to make it both functional and intuitive or many customers will not adopt it as a preferred channel. "Customers expect a bank's mobile app to be vibrant, easy-to-use, and fast," Pannos explained. 

P2P Payments
Person-to-person payment applications like Vimeo are becoming the preferred tool for younger consumers, which makes these types of delivery channels a potential market for banks that choose to target younger customers. "Usage of [these apps] isn't going to shrink," said Pannos. "Banks should be aware of that as they're looking at their technology and how they're going to serve the millennial generation and Gen Z. They're looking to those types of platforms as currency."

Remote Deposit Capture
This service allows customers to deposit checks via their mobile phones by simply snapping a picture of it, and while it's becoming very popular, banks should be cautious. "It's a great service, but it can be costly, especially for smaller banks," said Pannos. Due to the diminishing number of checks being written across the industry, he advises banks to assess the overall market demand and competition for the product, as well as examine their own customer base demographics to ensure the product will assist in the bank's overall customer satisfaction and retention. 

Before Diving In…

So which channel(s) should your bank invest in? There are four main areas to consider when investigating a channel strategy upgrade: your customer base, cost, marketing and training. "It's important for banks to understand their market and their customer base," said Baker, pointing out that customer demands for a bank in metropolitan Milwaukee will be very different from those at a bank in rural northern Wisconsin. "Just because the bank down the street offers a certain product doesn't mean your bank needs to offer that same product. Ask your customers what they want before diving in." Coakley recommends defining not only what the bank's current customers want for delivery channels, but also the preferences of the bank's targeted future customers. "It's about what your current customers want and what your future customers want, and those can be two vastly different answers," he said.

While upgrading or purchasing new delivery channels can be costly, banks need to consider their options from all angles. For example, purchasing new video tellers may reduce branch overhead expenses enough to offset the initial cost. "Investing in new technology and solutions can overall reduce the cost of operations, so this is important to look at too," said Baker. Intentionally migrating your customers to digital channels can also lead to staffing changes. "Long-term reduction in FTEs pays for the new technology," Coakley explained.

Additionally, the bank must plan to market any new channels in order to optimize usage rates. "You may have great products and technology, but if you don't communicate that to your customers and your community, they won't adopt it," said Coakley. A review of the bank's current marketing channel strategies is also essential. "The very first thing every bank needs to do is conduct a marketing audit," said Arnold. "You need to look at each of your channels and how successful they are, then come back with strategic and tactical recommendations for changes." Finally, as with any major operational or product changes, the bank must offer training to its staff. "Banks need to invest in their staff, training them on ways to provide quality customer experiences at all touchpoints," Baker advised. 

Whether your bank has three delivery channels or 30, it's important that your customer experience is consistent across them. "Rather than thinking about just one channel, think about the experience," Arnold advised. So, when a customer visits a branch they experience the same level of service and style of messaging as when they visit your mobile app or website. "That's the challenge that banks face today," said Pannos. "You have to be old-fashioned in some aspects and cutting-edge in others." Because consumer preferences are so capricious, it's essential for banks to constantly reevaluate their channel strategy and adapt to what they learn. "Customers will continue to crave whatever technology is available which offers them convenience and a personal experience," said Baker. "As the technology evolves, banks too need to evolve."

By, Amber Seitz


Have you joined the FedNow train? It’s barreling down the tracks and will be rolled out in mid-2023. This will be a huge change for the U.S. electronic payments system. Get on board and start preparing sooner rather than later. Discover more with Kevin Olsen, the payments professor.

After This Webinar You’ll Be Able To:

  • Understand the credit transfer and liquidity management participation types
  • Differentiate participation types and how they will apply to your financial institution
  • Comprehend the reconciliation process
  • Identify the different report options that will be available to participants to balance accounts
  • Understand the different use cases available with the FedNow service
  • Define a FedNow cycle date

Webinar Details
FedNow instant payments are coming in 2023 and will forever change the electronic payments landscape in the U.S. What are you doing to prepare for the biggest change in payments in decades? Join the Payments Professor to learn more about the FedNow service, participation types, liquidity management, settlement, reconciliation, and more!

Who Should Attend?
This session is best suited for directors, managers, operations personnel, and anyone who will be impacted by the FedNow service.

Take-Away Toolkit

  • Employee training log
  • Interactive quiz
  • PDF of slides and speaker’s contact info for follow-up questions
  • Attendance certificate provided to self-report CE credits

NOTE: All materials are subject to copyright. Transmission, retransmission, or republishing of any webinar to other institutions or those not employed by your agency is prohibited. Print materials may be copied for eligible participants only.


Kevin Olsen, AAP, NCP, APRP, CHPC – VSoft Corporation
For most of the past two decades Kevin Olsen has been managing the development and delivery of education services, including in-person, web conferences, and webcasts. Olsen creates programs, presentations, and articles designed to orient and educate financial professionals on electronic payment topics. As the “Payments Professor,” he brings enthusiasm and motivation to presentations. He views the world as a classroom, which is exemplified in the “edutainment” ed-u-tain-mint (noun: when education is motivating, informative, and fun) style of training he uses to educate and inform all on the latest developments and trends in the fascinating world of electronic payments

Registration Options

  • $245 – Live Webinar Access
  • $245 – OnDemand Access + Digital Download
  • $350 – Both Live & On-Demand Access + Digital Download

Do you know the differences between owned, earned, and paid social media content? With this program, you’ll learn how to ascertain which social media platforms are optimal for your situation. Don’t miss this opportunity to discover more about maximizing the use of social media for your financial institution.

After This Webinar You’ll Be Able To:

  • Distinguish between paid, earned, and owned assets
  • Identify which social media platforms will work best for your organization
  • Understand how paid and owned assets help generate earned media
  • Better define how social media can contribute to your overall marketing and PR goals

Webinar Details
Social media is increasingly being used for developing connections and advocacy efforts. Utilizing a mix of owned, earned, and paid social media increases engagement, raises awareness of your brand, and ultimately improves your bottom line. It’s a balance of what you are saying, what others are saying about you, and what paid messages are purchased. This session will provide insights for establishing a social media plan incorporating owned, earned, and paid media.

Who Should Attend?
This timely program will benefit marketing and public relations managers, social media specialists, CEOs, COOs, and anyone who has creative authority over or contributes to your social media presence.

Take-Away Toolkit

  • Employee training log
  • Interactive quiz
  • PDF of slides and speaker’s contact info for follow-up questions
  • Attendance certificate provided to self-report CE credits

NOTE: All materials are subject to copyright. Transmission, retransmission, or republishing of any webinar to other institutions or those not employed by your agency is prohibited. Print materials may be copied for eligible participants only.


Patrick Dix – SHAZAM, Inc.

Patrick Dix is Vice President of Strategic Alliances at SHAZAM. He leads SHAZAM’s relationships and partnerships with more than 70 industry organizations and trade associations. The focus of SHAZAM’s strategic alliances is to support the advocacy work of association partners and ensure community financial institutions have a strong voice in the payments industry. Before joining SHAZAM, Dix spent 25 years as a broadcast journalist, including 16 years as the senior morning news anchor at the NBC affiliate in Des Moines, Iowa.

Registration Options

  • $245 – Live Webinar Access
  • $245 – OnDemand Access + Digital Download
  • $350 – Both Live & On-Demand Access + Digital Download

Popular, highly regulated, and detail driven, HELOCs are often a consumer’s product of choice to access the equity in their home. This detailed program will address HELOC advertising, application, changes, draws, disclosures, amendments, termination, guidance, and more. Ensure your program checks off all the compliance “boxes.”

After This Webinar You’ll Be Able To:

  • Understand the specific disclosures required in HELOC documents
  • Analyze the restrictions on advertising HELOC products and the mandatory special wording
  • Distinguish when a change in terms notice must be sent to the borrower
  • Explain the special notice that must be given when a HELOC is reduced, suspended, or terminated
  • Determine if a HELOC can be terminated when the borrower moves out of the home or if the home significantly declines in value
  • Properly manage HELOCs nearing their end-of-draw period

Webinar Details
A home equity line of credit is a special type of loan that is highly regulated. Every aspect of a HELOC has special rules. There are special disclosures to include in loan documents, specific wording required in advertisements, particular limitations on when the lender may decrease or suspend a HELOC, and special timing requirements for disclosures that must be sent before a HELOC matures. Regulation Z prohibits a lender from changing any term of a HELOC, except in very limited circumstances. This webinar will explain the required HELOC disclosures and the restrictions on HELOC advertising. It also will explain the specific situations when a lender is permitted to decrease, suspend, or terminate a HELOC, and the proper steps a lender must take to do so. In addition, how to handle HELOCs nearing their end-of-draw periods will be covered.

Who Should Attend?
This informative session is designed for all mortgage loan officers, loan operations personnel, managers, compliance officers, internal auditors, marketing personnel, and attorneys.

Take-Away Toolkit

  • HELOC advertising checklist
  • Interagency Guidance on Home Equity Lines of Credit Nearing Their End-of-Draw Period
  • Interagency Guidance on Credit Risk Management for Home Equity Lending
  • Employee training log
  • Interactive quiz
  • PDF of slides and speaker’s contact info for follow-up questions
  • Attendance certificate provided to self-report CE credits

NOTE: All materials are subject to copyright. Transmission, retransmission, or republishing of any webinar to other institutions or those not employed by your agency is prohibited. Print materials may be copied for eligible participants only.


Elizabeth Fast, JD, CPA – Spencer Fane LLP

Elizabeth Fast is a partner with Spencer Fane Britt & Browne LLP where she specializes in the representation of financial institutions. Fast is the head of the firm’s training division. She received her law degree from the University of Kansas and her undergraduate degree from Pittsburg State University. In addition, she has a Master of Business Administration degree and she is a Certified Public Accountant. Before joining Spencer Fane, she was General Counsel, Senior Vice President, and Corporate Secretary of a $9 billion bank with more than 130 branches, where she managed all legal, regulatory, and compliance functions.

Registration Options

  • $245 – Live Webinar Access
  • $245 – OnDemand Access + Digital Download
  • $350 – Both Live & On-Demand Access + Digital Download

Why do robbers choose one location over another? How can robbers be deterred? What life-saving steps should employees take when facing a robbery? All financial institution employees must recognize the risk that exists, and understand that knowledge and quality training are vital to survival.

After This Webinar You’ll Be Able To:

  • Use situational awareness to become safer
  • Recognize vulnerabilities within your habits and environment
  • Distinguish different robbery methods
  • Realize the importance of safe opening procedures
  • Know what steps to take during a robbery
  • Understand which actions to avoid during a robbery
  • Identify habits that endanger
  • Reduce risk

Webinar Details
There have been many changes in our country over the last couple of years. In what seems to be an increasingly violent world, how can we protect ourselves? Despite robbery being one of the most feared crimes for the banking industry, training is often lacking and uninspired. This session will go beyond basic robbery training to focus on prevention and recognizing weaknesses that can cause vulnerability. It will reveal the facts about robbery, address current trends, and provide step-by-step guidelines for effective prevention, safe response, and managing the aftereffects.

Every employee can play a role in prevention, and it is critical that all personnel are prepared and trained in the safest response methods. Attendees will learn various methods used by crooks, how their observations of the event can be valuable, and essential actions to take following a robbery.

Who Should Attend?
This must-attend webinar will benefit all financial institution employees.

Take-Away Toolkit

  • Robber description form
  • Robbery quiz
  • Before, during, and after a robbery checklist
  • Robbery basics and beyond handout material
  • Employee training log
  • Interactive quiz
  • PDF of slides and speaker’s contact info for follow-up questions
  • Attendance certificate provided to self-report CE credits

NOTE: All materials are subject to copyright. Transmission, retransmission, or republishing of any webinar to other institutions or those not employed by your institution is prohibited. Print materials may be copied for eligible participants only.

Carol Dodgen – Dodgen Security Consulting, LLC

Carol Dodgen is the owner of Dodgen Security Consulting, LLC. Since 1998, her company has provided services including training, ATM lighting inspections, and security assessments to financial institutions, government entities, and businesses. Previously, Dodgen served as the security training officer for Compass Bank. She earned a Master’s in Criminal Justice and spent several years as an adjunct criminal justice instructor.

Dodgen is a nationally recognized speaker who has provided training for over 150,000 corporate, manufacturing, utility, law enforcement, and security personnel over the past 26 years. She holds a Crime Prevention Designation and provides instruction on crime prevention, workplace violence, and robbery. In 2009, Dodgen was appointed by the governor to the Alabama Security Regulatory Board and served for six years as vice chair.

Registration Options

  • $245 – Live Webinar Access
  • $245 – OnDemand Access + Digital Download
  • $350 – Both Live & On-Demand Access + Digital Download

Join WBA and your fellow Retail, Sales, and Marketing peers from across Wisconsin for the gathering of the WBA LEAD360 Conference! The Conference will kickoff on November 16 at 9:30 a.m. and adjourn at Noon on November 17. 

Bank Member Registration: The registration fee is $350 for first attendee. Each additional attendee from your bank is $300 each additional attendee in-person*.

  • Registration includes networking meals and breaks, general sessions, breakout sessions, and access to the conference 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!
  • Click on the Speakers and Agenda tabs for more information.  This Conference is for your Retail Bankers, Sales/Marketing Bankers, and Financial Literacy Bankers.

Associate Member & Exhibitor Registration Information:

WBA Associate Members can register to exhibit at the conference ($600/booth including 2 attendees; $250/additional booth attendee) or register as a non-exhibiting conference attendee ($350/attendee).

Please contact WBA’s Nick Loppnow at 608-441-1259 for more information.

  • Non-members are welcome to register to exhibit at the conference at the non-member rates ($1,000/booth including 2 attendees; $250/additional booth attendee)
  • Interested in upgrading your presence? Register to be a conference sponsor to receive additional benefits and conference recognition!

About the Webinar

Data and analytics have become an entire field within marketing over the last two decades. However, the implementation of “big data” and marketing analytics has proven to be much tougher (and less fruitful) than many hoped. Community banks have struggled with how to find the right mix of data in their tangled set of systems. This challenge has left marketing professionals paralyzed by too many tools and unable to seek meaningful opportunities to improve their campaigns and customer engagement – and left leadership questioning where and how to invest in meaningful tools and talent.

This webinar focuses on customer and marketing data that helps financial professionals make more informed marketing and product decisions. The agenda will include topics such as:

  • The available data within a bank’s technology stack and across marketing and tech channels;
  • How to extract meaningful information from data sources;
  • Tools to use to derive insights from this data; and
  • Best practices when taking action on discovered insights.

Attendees Will Learn

  • Strategically develop a plan within the bank to leverage data better;
  • Approaches to building a better culture of data inside the organization;
  • Effectively map what data lives in what system within their bank;
  • Discover, extract, organize, and describe data to support business decisions;
  • Forecast marketing response rates;
  • Scrutinize digital marketing analytics to determine campaign success and optimizations; and
  • Develop meaningful reports for audiences within the organization

Who Should Attend

This program is designed for marketing, retail professionals, and C-Suite leadership interested in improving the way their banks leverage data to improve customer acquisition and retention.


Hunter Young founded HiFi Agency to help financial companies find clarity in a chaotic digital world. When not working with clients across the country on brand strategy, media approaches or digital acquisition, Hunter teaches marketing and leadership courses for a variety of state bank associations and universities. Before starting his agency, Hunter’s career included leadership roles in banking, advertising agencies and a mobile technology startup. It’s a collective experience that has led to a data-driven creativity in everything he does.

His banking career included time at BB&T (now Truist) where he led the Global Digital Web team responsible for millions of customers’ online experiences. He then developed and led the marketing and customer intelligence teams at one of the fastest growing community banks in the U.S., First Bank of North Carolina, which grew from $2 billion to nearly $6 billion in assets during his time there. Hunter earned a degree in Marketing Communications from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Registration Information:

The registration fee of $195/attendee includes:

  • Live and recording access for 30 days post webinar
  • Materials for webinar

Marketing Planning examines the process to develop a comprehensive strategic marketing plan. The course reviews research that helps a bank marketer assess their customers and trade area opportunities and how to integrate the information into a situation analysis. It covers activities from the discovery phase to setting objectives, creating action plans and developing the related budget.

Learning Outcomes and Objectives:

  • Understand the importance of customer and market research
  • Clarify the need for market segmentation and product focus
  • Define the structure for marketing objectives and goals
  • Understand the sequence for creating vision, mission, values and a competitive advantage
  • Identify the best structure for documenting the marketing plan

Audience: This is a foundation course to develop skills and best practices for preparing a marketing plan. It is designed for employees interested in taking an active role in the management of bank marketing. This is an entry-level course for anyone planning to work in a marketing department at a financial institution.

Price: $300

Marketing Management examines management activities from ongoing brand management to public relations and digital marketing to return on investment. Understanding the practices needed to prioritize projects, assess performance and balance resources will enhance your marketing success. To be an active contributor on a marketing team you must have working knowledge of marketing management.

Learning Outcomes and Objectives:

  • Identify the key management areas assigned to marketing
  • Clarify the purpose and benefit of public relations
  • Explain the importance of data management and direct marketing
  • Examine activities that improve customer experience management
  • Evaluate how to assess your return on marketing investment

Audience: This is a foundation course to examine the knowledgebase and management skills required to manage the marketing activities at a financial institution. It is designed for employees interested in taking an active role in the management of bank marketing.

Price: $300

Marketing in Banking presents the foundations of marketing in the banking industry. The course reviews the core responsibilities of bank marketing, how marketing is structured in an organization chart, and how to assess the financial performance of a financial institution.

Learning Outcomes and Objectives:

  • Clarify the role of marketing in bank performance management
  • Identify the core responsibilities typically assigned to marketing
  • Understand how to review a bank’s balance sheet and income statement
  • Provide background information for the regulations impacting bank marketing activities

Audience: This is a foundation course in the structure of a bank marketing function and the related core responsibilities.  It is designed for employees interested in discovering the role of marketing within a financial institution.  This is an entry-level course for anyone entering bank marketing.

Price: $300

Building Customer Relationships guides students through the strategies for earning customer loyalty, value-added sales and marketing, and creating and maintaining strong bank customer and partner relationships. It builds the critical relationship management skills so essential to successful banking careers.

Audience: Anyone who needs an introduction to banking, whether just starting a career or a more experienced professional from a different industry.

Price: $215