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Thank you for your continued support

By Hannah Flanders

2022 marks the 130-year anniversary of the Wisconsin Bankers Association (WBA). In celebration of another year assisting Wisconsin banks to better serve their communities, WBA looks back at its humble beginnings, the challenges and growth faced over the last 130 years, and each legacy WBA brings forth into the future.

The Dawn of a New Era

On March 24, 1892, 150 curious bankers met at the Plankinton House in Milwaukee for the first time in nearly 30 years. The meeting’s agenda — creating an organized group of bankers to promote the general welfare and usefulness of the banks in the state. Following many years of general distrust in the banking and money systems, Wisconsin joined 20 other states in establishing a bankers association.

A handful of banks from around the state paid $5 each to join the new organization. The first members of the newly formed Wisconsin Bankers Association wasted no time passing two resolutions urging action on current banking legislation. As is today, advocacy has always lied at the heart of WBA’s mission in supporting the banking industry.

Led by WBA’s first president, N.B. Van Slyke of First National Bank of Madison, the Association’s guidelines, goals, formal Constitution, and bylaws were created and ratified. And so began the next 130 years of overcoming obstacles and meeting new challenges in an ever-evolving industry, all with the goal of serving the consumers of Wisconsin.

Laying the Foundation

With nearly 30 years under its belt and an overall reassurance in the banking system, WBA set its roots down in Milwaukee in 1921. WBA was quickly evolving into the association it is today — from life insurance plans to encouraging bankers to involve themselves with the financial education of their community — several aspects of WBA’s early history developed into subsidiaries serving banks across the Midwest.

During this time, the Association also witnessed the darkest days of The Great Depression, waves of crime, and bank mergers throughout the state. By 1933, WBA membership dwindled from a high of over 1,000 banks to half that number.

In 1942, WBA’s Standard Forms Manual released 130 standard bank forms to members. The popular manual spearheaded the establishment of Financial Institution Products Corporation (FIPCO) in 1987–1988. Today, this WBA subsidiary offers industry leading products — from forms and booklets to consulting services and software — to financial institutions across the Midwest.

Additionally, demands for more employee benefits rose in the late 1900s. WBA’s Employee Benefits Corporation (EBC) was formed in 1982 to provide WBA-member bankers with the highest quality health, life, and disability coverage.

In the late 1950s, the WBA headquarters relocated to Madison. Through the end of the twentieth century to the present, WBA maintained its strong membership base and today represents nearly 98 percent of all banks in the state. The Association helped establish various opportunities ranging from schooling at the University of Wisconsin to general educational conventions and assistance developing advertising for the benefit of its members.

A Legacy to Live On

Following one last headquarters relocation to 4721 South Biltmore Lane in Madison in 1999, the 2000s marked moments of growth for the Association. Between naming its first female president and CEO, Rose Oswald Poels, in 2011 and the creation of the Wisconsin Bankers Foundation (WBF) in 2013 — WBA also underwent a merger with Wisconsin’s other banking association. In an effort to unite the voices of the state’s banking industry, WBA and the Community Bankers of Wisconsin merged in 2015. One year later, in 2016, current President of F&M Bank of Kendall Cynthia Erdman became the first woman to hold the position of WBA chair.

130 years after the founding of WBA, the Association continues to provide its members the valuable resources they need to stay relevant, educated, and aware of emerging trends in the industry. Evidenced by the support it has provided in recent years — be it through economic recession, the COVID-19 pandemic, or the highest inflation rate Americans have seen in 40 years — WBA is dedicated to serving Wisconsin banks.

WBA’s legacy in Wisconsin is far from over. WBA staff are excited about helping member banks navigate future challenges to ensure a vibrant banking sector in the state. Advocacy and professional development for the benefit of Wisconsin bankers will remain fundamental values of the Association as they have been since its inception.

WBA is humbled to represent such an important sector of the economy and looks forward to evolving and adapting with its member banks — as we have for 130 years.

Historical events compiled from “Good as Gold — A History of Banking in Wisconsin,” Copyright © 1992 by Wisconsin Bankers Association.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By Daryll J. Lund

With the Building Our Leaders of Tomorrow (BOLT) Winter Leadership Summit just days away on November 4, it’s a good time to share more about what WBA’s BOLT section has to offer. We now have 507 BOLT members from 137 banks out of 210 WBA-member banks. That works out to about 65% of the member banks having at least one BOLT member. There is no cost to the bank to join — in fact, many banks have multiple individuals from their organization as BOLT members. The section is popular in part because of the access to the biannual Leadership Summits, and because of the year-round connections and opportunities it provides.

As existing bank leaders approach retirement, BOLT can provide the networking and leadership skills to prepare your next leaders faster. Succession planning is key to the long-term success of any bank. Through BOLT, bankers are exposed to education that touches on every role in community banking and helps them to round out their skills. After events, attendees often speak of the spark that was ignited in them. They bring back new ideas and renewed motivation to their banks.

Networking opportunities are another big draw of the BOLT section. The ability to connect with peers and converse about important topics provides value that can’t be found in call reports. Being a part of the BOLT community is a unique benchmarking opportunity that enables bankers to better understand the market and where their peers are. Members are also able to support each other through shared successes and challenges.

Becoming a strong advocate is an important attribute for bank leaders, both in their communities and in their civic engagement. The BOLT section is integral in planning and promoting WBA’s annual Power of Community Week, during which all members are encouraged to engage in community service activities. BOLT members can also participate in the annual WBA Capitol Day and Washington Summits, which include training and materials to develop effective advocacy skills.

With all that BOLT members bring back to their banks, it’s easy to make the case for participation. Also, in today’s tight labor market, it is essential that banks invest in their people. Feeling valued and having a bright career path are key factors in employees’ decisions to join or stay with an employer. BOLT is a WBA program that stands ready to partner with our members on helping banks to develop their most important asset — their people.

By Kenneth D. Thompson, WBA Board chair, president and CEO of Capitol Bank, Madison

As the leaves change color and there’s no denying that fall is here, many of us find ourselves asking, “where did summer go?” The feeling of fall sneaking up on us out of nowhere is something we want to avoid next year, with 2022 being an important election year. Let’s take a moment to look ahead and see what we need to track and prepare for now.

Important Fall 2022 races include the Wisconsin governor, attorney general, and state legislative seats. Democratic Governor Tony Evers will be looking to repel a challenge from likely GOP nominee and former Lt. Governor Rebecca Kleefisch, who just announced her candidacy. All ninety-nine members of the State Assembly are up for election/reelection, as are odd-numbered State Senate districts. Republicans hold solid majorities in both houses, but the drama will surely be dialed up next year since legislators will all be running in districts with updated boundaries.

At the federal level, elections will be held for Wisconsin’s seats in the House of Representatives as well as for Ron Johnson’s Senate seat (Johnson has not yet stated whether he will run for re-election). Nearly a dozen Democratic candidates have formally announced their intention to seek the nomination to either take on Johnson, or a new GOP candidate. As Democrats try to maintain their slim majority in the House, many eyes will be on Wisconsin’s 3rd Congressional District, where longtime Democrat incumbent Ron Kind recently opted not to seek reelection. WBA’s political action funds are important to ensure that candidates who understand and support Wisconsin’s banking industry are elected to office.

As always, WBA is not “R” for Republican or “D” for Democrat — rather, “B” for Banker. We back candidates, regardless of which side of the aisle they sit on, who will enact policies that support WBA’s mission to promote a healthy environment for Wisconsin banks to thrive.

So far, our peer organizations have been active in raising funds. Year-to-date contributions toward political action committees at the last required reporting on June 30 totaled $26,000 for the Wisconsin REALTORS Association, $20,000 for the Wisconsin Hospitals Association, and $18,000 for the Associated Builders and Contractors of Wisconsin. This compares to WBA’s Wisbankpac fundraising of about $56,000 so far this year.

Your support is needed. The more each of us contributes, the more we can grow the slice of pie for our industry. Please visit www.wisbank.com/advocacy to learn more and make your contribution.

By Scott Birrenkott

Q: Are Banks Required To Provide Notice When Changing Lobby Hours?

A: Not by rule or law, but some form of notification is recommended.

There exists no specific requirement to notify bank customers, or its regulators, when changing its hours of operation. This includes branch hours, lobby hours, drive up hours, or other times of access, such as whether a location is open on a Saturday.

However, specific requirements do exist for closure of branch banks, requiring notice in writing to the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institution (DFI) at least 30 days in advance of the closure, along with notices in the bank’s lobby which is to be closed. While such notice is not required for a change of hours, bank might consider following that procedure as a matter of courtesy and update to DFI, even though it is not closing a branch.

Additionally, while no specific notice requirement to customers exists, some form of communication would be prudent. For example: a posting in lobbies, through mail, or online via the bank’s website, social media, or other applications, would likely be beneficial and appreciated by those customers who use the affected lobbies, drive-ups, deposit box, etc.

Lastly, the bank should also consider the implications of its change of hours. While there might not be specific notice requirements related to the shift in hours alone, if the shift in hours affect other areas, additional requirements may apply. For example, if cutoff times are changing, or funds availability, stop payment, or other time-sensitive matters are changing, the bank may need to update its disclosures and any associated deposit account rules.

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

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. 

Events

The Banking Industry is an essential introduction to the business of banking. The course covers the evolution of banking since the 2008 financial crisis, the role of banks in the U.S. economy and the environment in which banks operate and compete. It provides a look into various banking career tracks to inspire and prepare and motivate new bankers and covers innovations in financial products.

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

Price: $215

The Banking Industry is an essential introduction to the business of banking. The course covers the evolution of banking since the 2008 financial crisis, the role of banks in the U.S. economy and the environment in which banks operate and compete. It provides a look into various banking career tracks to inspire and prepare and motivate new bankers and covers innovations in financial products.

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

Price: $215

A fundamental study of how money functions in the U.S. and world economies. How money supply, the banking system, the Federal Reserve and the federal government are all interrelated, and how changes in the financial system can affect individuals, businesses, and governments on a world-wide basis are covered.

The required textbook for this course is Money and Banking.

IMPORTANT:  Be sure to order the required book for this course.  We recommend that you FIRST select and add your course session to the shopping cart, then select your preferred format of book from the “Recommended Training” options that appear alongside the shopping cart.

Audience: Bank personnel who have not had a formal course in money and banking and who wish to increase their understanding of the banking industry; officer trainees through the mid-management level.

Price: $430

A fundamental study of how money functions in the U.S. and world economies. How money supply, the banking system, the Federal Reserve and the federal government are all interrelated, and how changes in the financial system can affect individuals, businesses, and governments on a world-wide basis are covered.

The required textbook for this course is Money and Banking.

IMPORTANT:  Be sure to order the required book for this course.  We recommend that you FIRST select and add your course session to the shopping cart, then select your preferred format of book from the “Recommended Training” options that appear alongside the shopping cart.

Audience: Bank personnel who have not had a formal course in money and banking and who wish to increase their understanding of the banking industry; officer trainees through the mid-management level.

Price: $430

Bank Lines of Business is a comprehensive review of the products and services that banks offer customers — from deposit products to insurance and investments — and strategies for retaining and growing market share. This program deepens and broadens your bank employees understanding of how banks serve individual, small business and corporate customers’ financial service needs.

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

Price: $215

The Banking Industry is an essential introduction to the business of banking. The course covers the evolution of banking since the 2008 financial crisis, the role of banks in the U.S. economy and the environment in which banks operate and compete. It provides a look into various banking career tracks to inspire and prepare and motivate new bankers and covers innovations in financial products.

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

Price: $215

Bank Lines of Business is a comprehensive review of the products and services that banks offer customers — from deposit products to insurance and investments — and strategies for retaining and growing market share. This program deepens and broadens your bank employees understanding of how banks serve individual, small business and corporate customers’ financial service needs.

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

Price: $215

Most customers prefer single service providers for all their important needs and challenges. However when it comes to their finance needs, very few banks are effective at presenting themselves as a single service provider and struggle to coordinate wholistic solutions. Banks ideally would like to be a “one stop shop” for their customers but fail to properly engage their staff and their customers. The easiest way to grow your bank is by offering more valuable solutions to your existing customers and improving collaboration between departments.

At the conclusion of this session participants will understand how to explore their customers broader needs, offer more valuable solutions, and create highly effective market teams across the bank.

Target Audience: All employee involved in the customer service areas of the bank

Presenter
Joe Micallef, Grow Up Sales Consulting

Registration Option
Live presentation $330

Recording available through July 18, 2022