Features

Father, son navigate succession through kitchen table confabs

Community banks face never-ending challenges, from regulations to technology to recently, a global pandemic. Yet they take it all in stride and are able to offer their customers a sense of consistency, even familiarity. At Park Bank in Holmen, Wis., familiarly is embodied by suspender-wearing bank President Douglas Farmer. So when thoughts turned to transitioning bank leadership, the process required thoughtful planning and consideration so as to not disturb the bank’s deep roots with customers and businesses alike. [Continue]

Navigating bank ownership succession

Understandably, bank owners tend to put off succession planning. It involves discussing discomfiting topics such as wealth and death, for one thing. It entails relinquishing control of the bank and the income stream that comes with ownership. And the planning process requires huddling with lawyers and accountants to work through irksome matters such as regulatory compliance and estate taxes. [Continue]

Faces Of Core Technology: DCI

– Pauline Lopez-Lutz, Texas Technology is the cardiovascular system of today’s community bank, and data its lifeblood. It’s a good thing these DCI engineers are at the ‘heart’ of it all. As a leading core provider, DCI and its IT engineers recognize their enormous responsibility to keep that system healthy, and they take it personally. … Read more

Rising Stars 2021: Iowan tours community, advocating education

Holding his drumsticks, Kyle Baker peered out at the crowd, absorbing the rhythm of the din. It was mid-summer in 2010, and he and his band, the Superunknown, were backstage at the Riverbend Music Center in Cincinnati, opening for KISS during their “Hottest Show on Earth” tour. The atmosphere shifted when the lights dimmed, and Baker stepped onstage with a rush of energy.  [Continue]

Rising Stars 2021: Indiana banker envisions growth, potential

When Amanda Morris-Feldman met Don Groenleer, she was a 25-year-old CPA working for Crowe Horwath LLP, her first job out of college, and he was chief financial officer at First Federal Savings Bank in Rochester, Ind. At the time, she had no reason to envision herself in his role. But five years later that’s exactly where she was.  [Continue]

Rising Stars 2021: Minnesotan defines community banking on home turf

A lot of people talk about being a community banker, said Nate Lloyd, “but I don’t think you’d know what a community banker is and what it entails until you actually do it in a community that you care so deeply about.” By banking in his hometown, Lloyd, vice president of business banking at Minnesota’s Grand Rapids State Bank, has found fulfillment in the puzzle of understanding his community. [Continue]

Rising Stars 2021: Relationships are foundational for CSO

When you drive onto a farm, you’d better have a feel for the position that farmer is in, said Juhl Erickson; you better understand their time is important. Erickson, chief sales officer for Spirit Lake, Iowa-based Bank Midwest, learned these things young. While growing up on a southwestern Minnesota farm, Erickson recalled the unsolicited sales calls made at the farm, and how his father, Frank, would call out the arrival of these peddlers the way one might announce an approaching storm: Here comes another one. [Continue]

How has the pandemic impacted branch strategy?

Bank owners are in the throes of rethinking their branch networks. This process has been ongoing for years, thanks largely to the rising popularity of digital banking, but the pandemic has brought the question of the future of branches into sharper focus. Aware that a substantial share of customers likely won’t return to branches after Covid-19 fears abate, community banks continue to invest in digital banking tools that kept them in business during the pandemic. But small institutions haven’t abandoned the concept of the retail branch. [Continue]

Rising Stars 2021: Michigander delivers service ‘behind the screens’

From a hillside barn in Litchfield, Mich., a calf gnawed on Scott Ferry’s finger. He held up his phone, livestreaming the scene for his banker, Stephanie Brummette. “It’s almost feeding time,” he told her. “Oh my gosh. Best job ever. I’m glad I needed a signature,” Brummette said, beaming through her computer at Union Bank’s digital call center in Odessa, Mich. The two had been sorting out the paperwork for the fourth-generation Ferry Farm’s Paycheck Protection Program loan. [Continue]

Rising Stars 2021: Illinois banker serves community and customers alike

Courtney Olson’s banking career began because of a family connection. While a freshman in college, Olson’s aunt, who was vice president of a community bank in Riverwoods, Ill., needed someone to fill in as a teller. Within a week, she was opening CDs and from there moved into a role as a personal banker. Every summer and winter break, she would return to the bank, eventually taking a full-time job following her graduation. [Continue]