As employees return to in-person work, banks seek new normal

During shutdowns, some wondered if banks would be left with a surplus of space in their buildings if remote work became the new norm. As Covid-19 vaccines rolled out and bank employees trickled back to their offices, those worries have so far been unfulfilled. Still, with more employees working from home and consumers embracing remote banking, some institutions have reduced their space needs — possibly forever. [Continue]

‘Bank On’ catches on as way to reach the unbanked

Banking the unbanked has long been an industry phraseology — and a goal of the FDIC. But despite attempts by different organizations, a nationwide effort to bring the unbanked into the financial fold has proven unsuccessful. The “Bank On” national program offers a solution for both sides of the equation. [Continue]

CRE looks strong in 2022 despite challenges

As commercial real estate spaces emptied following the onset of the pandemic, industry experts questioned when — if ever — the CRE market would recover. Less than two years later, CRE has returned to a strong level and is expected to grow even more over the next 12 months as the growth of e-commerce continues to fuel the need for industrial CRE. However, inflation and ongoing supply chain shortages could throw a wrench into the long-term CRE economy as businesses finalize where their employees work in a post-pandemic economy. [Continue]

Banker of the Year 2022: Brenda K. Foster

The 340 employees of First Western Bank & Trust likely will not use the term “acquisition” to describe how their bank leapt from roughly $1.1 billion at the beginning of 2020 to $1.85 billion by year’s end once it had absorbed Fargo, N.D.-based BlackRidgeBANK. The preferred term — according to Brenda K. Foster, leader of Minot, N.D.-based First Western Bank & Trust — is “merger.”  [Continue]

Fare thee well, 2021

The year 2021 was unlike any other for community banks. Even as Covid-19 variants blanketed parts of the country with illnesses and deaths, creating uncomfortable reminders of 2020, more Americans became inoculated against the virus. The economy strengthened, and many bank employees returned to their offices, easing previous fears of an influx of available commercial space.  Still, more familiar challenges roared back: President Joe Biden’s administration, inaugurated in January, has already proposed tightening policies relating to overdrafts, reporting requirements and M&A, three issues that could have significant impacts on community bankers in the coming years. With a toast to 2021, BankBeat.biz has compiled the five stories that especially captivated the industry during the previous 12 months: [Continue]

Technology blended with expertise opens new lending sources

There are age-old questions that banks must ask when considering their loan portfolios. What types of loans do we want to originate? What should our portfolio mix be? What is our risk tolerance? The answers shouldn’t be static: Rather, they need to reflect an ongoing comparison of the loan portfolio to the bank’s overall goals, along with an evaluation of changes within the market and communities being served. [Continue]

Outstanding Women 2021: First Interstate

Numbers often tell a story. At First Interstate Bank, for instance, women compose 72 percent of the bank’s 2,483-person workforce; 62 percent of the bank’s managers are female; more than half of the 22-member senior leadership team is female, and four women serve on the board of the Billings, Mont.-based bank. Three women — CFO Marcy Mutch, Chief Operating Officer Jodi Delahunt Hubbell, and Chief Human Resources Officer Rachel Turitto — sit on the bank’s nine-person executive team; another three — Lorrie Asker, Jocelyn Lane and Tawnie Nelson — serve as regional presidents, collectively overseeing 1,378 people spread across the $18.4 billion bank’s six-state footprint.  [Continue]

Outstanding Women 2021: Anita Drentlaw

Just before the pandemic struck, Anita Drentlaw began overhauling the culture at New Market Bank. As president and CEO of the bank, Drentlaw wanted to develop a commitment to leadership at the $190 million bank, located on the south side of the Twin Cities metro. Developed by an ex-Marine, the program she implemented at the Elko Market Bank focused on creating a leadership mentality among its graduates rather than situation-specific training. It’s helped create a unified culture with buy-in from all participants. [Continue]

Outstanding Women 2021: Maureen Jorgensen

To be authentic, according to Maureen Jorgensen, is to be present. Present with yourself and present with those around you. Jorgensen, executive vice president of retail sales and service at Wausau, Wis.-based Peoples State Bank, and one of BankBeat magazine’s 2021 “Outstanding Women in Banking,” holds authenticity as one of her core values; but it hasn’t always been easy to practice.  [Continue]

Outstanding Women 2021: Stephanie Christian

Stephanie Christian immediately knew banking was the right fit. A Webster City, Iowa, high school student in 2002, she landed a drive-thru teller gig at WCF Financial Bank through her school’s work program. The position sparked her desire to learn more about finance and to serve her community. Christian’s love for community banking quickly developed, fueling her to eventually make a 200-mile daily round trip. [Continue]