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Rose Oswald Poels (left) awards Dena Hineline (center) and Sue Krause (right) with prestigious awards.

On Wednesday morning, fourteen Wisconsin bankers and ten banks were honored by the Wisconsin Bankers Foundation (WBF) for their efforts in promoting financial literacy to Wisconsin’s consumers. WBF is the nonprofit arm of the Wisconsin Bankers Association (WBA) whose mission is to assist bankers in promoting financial literacy and financial responsibility to the public and to broaden consumer empowerment in the financial services industry through research, education, grants, and scholarships.

Sue Krause, Fox Valley Savings Bank, was awarded the prestigious Financial Literacy Banker of the Year Award and Dena Hineline, Bank of Sun Prairie, was honored with the Financial Literacy Banker Award. Both Krause and Hineline also were honored with the Certificate of Excellence for exceeding twenty financial education presentations in their local communities during the Foundation’s 2020–2021 fiscal year.

Twelve individuals received a Certificate of Recognition completing at least five financial education presentations. This year’s recipients are 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.

Rose Oswald Poels (left) recognizes several award recipients at WBA’s LEAD360 on November 17.

The WBF Excellence in Financial Education Award was presented to 10 WBA-member banks for their bank-wide dedication to financial education during the 2020–2021 fiscal year which encouraged over 270 bankers to get involved for the wellbeing of their communities. The banks awarded 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.

The outstanding efforts of all honorees were celebrated at the recent WBA LEAD360 Conference held in Wisconsin Dells. During the 2020–2021 fiscal year, these fourteen individuals and 10 banks helped WBF expand its financial education reach to nearly 6,000 people throughout the state. As a result of the pandemic, many bankers have come up with creative ways to advocate for the importance of financial literacy to consumers of all ages.

“These individuals have truly gone above and beyond in the last year to ensure that Wisconsin communities continue to have access to invaluable financial education,” said Chair of the Wisconsin Bankers Foundation Rose Oswald Poels. “We thank everyone that participated for their commitment to their communities and their overall dedication in leading the strive towards a more financially responsible state!”

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.

ROI Rockstar BadgeRecognition highlights company’s top performance in utilizing Cvent’s event marketing and management platform to deliver impactful event experiences and drive positive business results

The Wisconsin Bankers Association (WBA) received top honors this week at the 2021 Cvent Excellence Awards. Winners were announced during a live in-person ceremony in Las Vegas at CAESARS FORUM as part of Cvent CONNECT, Cvent’s annual customer conference. The event was also broadcast to a global virtual audience of meetings, events, and hospitality professionals. WBA won first place in the category of ROI Rockstar, highlighting its effective use of Cvent technology to drive revenue growth and maintain business momentum using creative tactics during challenging times. Nominees in this category are realizing measurable ROI, whether for virtual, hybrid, or in-person events, and are setting and exceeding goals, automating event communications, and maximizing attendance and engagement.

“The Cvent Excellence Awards have always been about celebrating our customers, and it’s an honor to share the global Cvent CONNECT stage with them to recognize their successes,” said Cvent CMO Patrick Smith. “These award-winning organizations, event professionals, and marketers have embraced technology as a critical part of their roles and will help pave the way to a future where we believe events are more engaging and more impactful than ever before.”

“Our team at WBA takes a lot of pride in creating an outstanding event experience from beginning to end for our members,” said WBA President and CEO Rose Oswald Poels. “We are honored to be recognized by Cvent for our use of technology in the conferences, trainings, and events we host.”

The awards program, hosted by meetings, events, and hospitality technology provider Cvent, is now in its ninth year and recognizes industry leaders from a diverse set of organizations who use Cvent technology in new and inspiring ways to deliver best-in-class in-person, virtual, and hybrid events. Winners were selected from hundreds of submissions and embody the best in their respective industries.  

By, Cassie Krause

Cronin_headshotJohn Cronin has been promoted to director – government relations at the Wisconsin Bankers Association (WBA). Cronin joined WBA in December of 2020 as assistant director – government relations.

“John quickly proved himself to be an effective and hard-working advocate for Wisconsin’s banking industry,” said Rose Oswald Poels, WBA president and CEO. “In his new role, he will continue to be a leading voice for more than 20,000 bank employees in Wisconsin and the communities they serve.”

As director – government relations, Cronin will work primarily at the state level to further WBA advocacy priorities, which include preventing elder financial exploitation, supporting rural communities through ECORA (Enhancing Credit Opportunities in Rural America) legislation, and regulatory modernization.

Cronin spent the first eight years of his career in the Wisconsin State Assembly where he worked for Rep. Mark Born from 2013–18 and for now-former Rep. John Nygren from 2018–20. Both Representatives were members of the budget-writing Joint Finance Committee, so Cronin's primary focus over four years was state budget policy. He has extensive research and consensus-building experience and in-depth knowledge of the legislative, budget, and rulemaking processes.

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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

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

MADISON – Ken Thompson, president and CEO of Capitol Bank, has been elected to serve as the 2021–2022 board chair of the Wisconsin Bankers Association (WBA).

The Wisconsin Bankers Association 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.

“Ken brings decades of banking experience and a wealth of knowledge to the WBA Board,” said Rose Oswald Poels, WBA president and CEO. “He will do an excellent job of leading our Board and industry forward in the post-pandemic economy.”

Thompson has been in the Madison banking industry for over 35 years, joining Capitol Bank in 1996. He has extensive experience in all areas of lending. Thompson was named president in 2003 and serves on the bank’s board of directors. Thompson holds a bachelor’s degree in business from UW-Stevens Point and earned his MBA from UW-Madison in 1997. He completed the Graduate School of Banking in Madison in 2004 and is a graduate of Leadership Greater Madison #2. Community involvement is greatly valued by Thompson, displayed by years of working with a variety of local nonprofits including American Family Children’s Hospital, Agrace Hospice Care (treasurer), Catholic Charities, and the Breakfast Optimist Club of Madison. Thompson also serves on the boards for Hy Cite Enterprises and Extreme Engineering. Thompson enjoys spending time with his wife and two children, especially outdoors. His pastimes include golf, racquetball, and hunting.

Also serving as officers on the WBA Board are: Chair-Elect Dan Peterson, president and CEO of The Stephenson National Bank & Trust, Marinette; Vice Chair Donna Hoppenjan, president and CEO of Mound City Bank, Platteville; and Past Chair Paul Kohler, president and CEO of Charter Bank, Eau Claire.

Joining the board for three-year terms are Greg Ogren, president of Security Bank, Iron River; Jay Mack, president and CEO of Town Bank, N.A., Hartland; and Dan Ravenscroft, president and CEO of Royal Bank, Elroy.

Those continuing their terms on the board are: Al Araque, SVP, director of consumer and private banking, Johnson Financial Group, Racine; Jim Chatterton, president and CEO, National Exchange Bank & Trust, Fond du Lac; Mark Erickson, regional president, MidWestOne Bank, Osceola; Timothy Kotnour, president and CEO, State Bank Financial, La Crosse; Paul Northway, president and CEO, American National Bank – Fox Cities, Appleton; Joe Peikert, president and CEO, Wolf River Community Bank, Hortonville; Jenny Provancher, president and CEO, The Equitable Bank, S.S.B., Wauwatosa; Terry Rosengarten, president and COO, Unity Bank, Augusta; and Mark Wierman, president and chief lending officer, Ixonia Bank.

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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

Statement on the release of first-quarter 2021 Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) numbers from Rose Oswald Poels, president and CEO of the Wisconsin Bankers Association

  • The numbers demonstrate banks' financial strength and an improving economy.
  • Wisconsinites continue to save money as deposits have increased over the prior year (17%) and loan volume grew slightly.
  • A decrease in noncurrent loans and leases compared to last year (11%) shows more customers are up to date on their payments.
  • Banks continue to demonstrate their health through strong earnings and positive growth.

“Wisconsin banks maintained a strong financial position throughout the last year as they assisted with the financial stresses of their customers through the pandemic. Commercial and industrial loans grew nearly 20 percent year over year in part due to Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) lending, providing businesses with critical money to ensure employees were paid. Looking ahead, strong capital and liquidity levels position Wisconsin banks well to respond to customers' lending needs.” 

FDIC-Reported Wisconsin Numbers*  

  

 3/31/2021

 3/31/2020

 YoY Change 

Net loans and leases  

 92,216,891

 88,536,369

 +4.16%

Total deposits  

 111,104,235 

 94,965,014

 +16.99%

Commercial and industrial loans  

 18,592,639

 15,494,730

 +19.99% 

Residential loans  

 22,702,118

 24,007,126

 -5.44%

Farmland loans  

 3,490,057

 3,568,243

 -2.19%

Farm loans  

 3,690,631

 3,970,903

 -7.06%

Total assets  

 136,441,222

 121,634,760 

 +12.17%

Noncurrent loans and leases  

 610,802

 689,260

 -11.38%

 * dollar figures in thousands 

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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

Automatic Saving Initiative Promotes Saving Through the Workplace to Improve Financial Well-Being

WI_Saves_LogoMADISON, Wis. – Today the Wisconsin Bankers Association (WBA) joined the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions (DFI) to announce a broad coalition of Wisconsin organizations have launched a statewide Wisconsin Saves Automatic Saving Initiative to encourage millions of Wisconsinites to establish emergency savings accounts through automated saving.
 
This effort is led by DFI Secretary Kathy Blumenfeld, Wisconsin State Treasurer Sarah Godlewski, Wisconsin Bankers Association (WBA) President and CEO Rose Oswald Poels, Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corporation (WWBIC) President Wendy Baumann, and America Saves, the leading national campaign in promoting savings.

“Our organization is excited to help launch Wisconsin Saves because the initiative aligns with the efforts bankers engage in each and every day to help customers achieve their financial goals,” said WBA President and CEO Oswald Poels. “Establishing an automatic savings program from an individual’s paycheck into a bank account creates a strong foundation upon which individuals can build to achieve financial health.”

 “Many Wisconsinites experienced economic hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said DFI Secretary Blumenfeld. “Our goal with Wisconsin Saves is to make sure more residents are financially prepared for those small and large emergencies that we all know will happen from time to time.”

Recognizing that many individuals were not fully prepared for the lasting economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, Wisconsin Saves focuses on the role of employers in promoting the importance of saving for emergencies to their employees.
 
The campaign encourages small- and medium-sized employers to promote to their employees the ease and benefits of saving automatically for emergencies through split deposit.

“Working with employers we know we can have a positive impact on the financial lives of Wisconsin residents,” said State Treasurer Godlewski. “Helping employees save in the short-term enables them to build a more secure tomorrow and create a more productive workforce.”

Employers in all industries and locations in the state can sign up at AutoSave.WisconsinSaves.org to join this coalition. Participating employers will receive free resources to support their communication efforts and be included in statewide recognition.
 
“The workplace is one of the best places to spread messages about financial well-being because employees trust information provided to them by their employers about financial matters,” said WWBIC President Baumann. “That’s why we are enlisting the support of employers from all over Wisconsin. We believe they play a critical role in improving the financial lives of our residents.”
 
By involving employers in Wisconsin Saves, the number of Wisconsinites with emergency savings will increase and more people will be able to manage financial hardships, whether it be a minor setback or a shock of pandemic proportions.
 
“America Saves understands that saving is a journey and that getting started can be difficult,” said George Barany, Director of America Saves. “Saving even a small amount of money, $5 or $10 every paycheck, is helpful, and using split deposit is a simple and effective way to save. That’s why we so strongly encourage its use.”
 
Wisconsin Saves provides employers who sign up for the program with easy-to-use tools to help educate employees about split deposit and the importance of starting to build savings today. Employers can learn more and sign up to participate in Wisconsin Saves at AutoSave.WisconsinSaves.org.
 
“It is free and easy for all Wisconsin employers to sign up right away," said WBA President and CEO Oswald Poels. "Wisconsin Saves is a great opportunity to make a positive impact on the financial well-being of people around the state."
 
For more information and resources on Wisconsin’s financial literacy and capability initiatives, contact DFI’s Office of Financial Literacy at www.wdfi.org.

By, Cassie Krause

MADISON, Wis. – The Wisconsin Bankers Association and WBA President and CEO Rose Oswald Poels applaud Representative Ron Kind (D-WI) on introducing a bipartisan bill, the Enhancing Credit Opportunities in Rural America (ECORA) Act, in the U.S. House of Representatives (H.R. 1977).

ECORA would remove the taxation on income from certain farm real estate loans that are made by financial institutions backed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). The removal of this taxation would reduce banks’ cost to make farm real estate loans, providing farm customers with a more competitive market for interest rates.

"WBA is proud to support the Enhancing Credit Opportunities in Rural America (ECORA) Act to provide affordable credit in rural communities," said WBA Board Chair Paul Kohler, President and CEO of Charter Bank in Eau Claire, Wis. "As we continue to face the economic impacts of the pandemic, the introduction of ECORA is especially important to support the agricultural industry with tax exemptions that farm credit institutions already receive."

Congress is in a position to help our country’s farmers by lowering the cost to acquire credit. Farm prices remain stagnant while the cost of land and farm inputs continues to rise. ECORA offers a simple solution during a time of declining farm incomes without creating new government payments or programs.

By, Cassie Krause

MADISON, Wis. – Cassandra Krause has been hired as the communications manager at the Wisconsin Bankers Association (WBA). Krause serves as the association’s primary media contact and is responsible for overseeing internal and external communications for WBA.

Krause previously worked as director of communications and marketing at the Wisconsin Association of Independent Colleges and Universities. Prior to that role, she worked in international business and development in France, Cameroon, and Germany.

Originally from Eau Claire, Wisconsin, Krause holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin–Madison and a master’s degree from the Goethe University Frankfurt.

Katie Reiser has been hired as administrative specialist at WBA. Reiser will support the legal and education departments.

Reiser previously worked in Audience Services with Wisconsin Public Media, which is home to Wisconsin Public Radio and PBS Wisconsin. Prior to that role, Reiser was member services director at the Wisconsin Restaurant Association where she led communications, member engagement, and retention efforts.

Reiser has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from State University of New York at Purchase and is originally from Stevens Point, Wisconsin.

“At WBA, we pride ourselves on hiring top talent and fostering a positive work environment,” said WBA President Rose Oswald Poels, who noted that the average length of service for current WBA employees is more than 14 years. “We are pleased to welcome Cassie and Katie on board and look forward to the contributions they will make to our membership and the industry.”

 

By, Cassie Krause