Features

Hospitality is trending in bank remodels

If the technology had existed in 1905 surely master architect Frank Lloyd Wright would have created a mobile app for the landmark bank he designed in Dwight, Ill., as part of his signature organic effort to bring the outside indoors. A century later technology informs design, prodding banks to reinvent customer convenience in redesigned spaces reminiscent of Wright’s prairie-style living room lobby and meeting room with a Roman brick fireplace. On Main Street and, more frequently in new strip mall branches, anyone is welcome for fresh coffee, password-free Wi-Fi and, oh yes, financial products and services. [Continue]

Bankers well-positioned to help farm customers through crises

In the last 12 months, Bob Worth has lost three Minnesota farming friends to suicide. Two of the men, aged 50 and 55, faced liquidation of their family farms. With the third, Worth said it was definitely not financial stress. He was “one of the best farmers in the area,” Worth said. “He just thought he was going downhill. As much help as he got, tried to get — medical help, psychological help — he just knew he was a failure.” [Continue]

Precision ag holds promise, but limitations persist

“Robotics is huge,” said Curtis Drozd, a third-generation corn, soybean and sorghum farmer in the southwestern Michigan town of Allegan. Drozd has invested in unmanned aerial vehicles, or UAVs, and GPS-integrated auto-steering computers on his tractors. Lest you think Drozd’s auto-steer system is rugged and reliable enough to allow his tractor to autonomously start itself in the barn, drive to the field, and complete plowing or planting all while he attends to other tasks on the farm, Drozd is quick to clarify: We still need the farmer. [Continue]

Will politics derail Farm Bill?

Federal farm policy has a massive impact on the agricultural industry, including its financial mechanisms, and there are good odds on a comprehensive 2018 farm bill being passed and signed. The last bill was enacted in 2014, and as a new one takes shape, many players are lobbying to influence its policies, including community banks. [Continue]

Consolidation drives data processing innovation

Much like, and perhaps in part driven by the consolidation in the banking industry, the number of core processor providers has dropped drastically in the last decade, even though the technological services are in higher demand than ever. A year ago, Vista Equity Partners paid more than $2 billion for D+H Corp., creating a $4.8 billion giant of a banking software provider. [Continue]

EOS winning devotees in banking

Both banks in the Waseca Bancshares holding company – Lake Area Bank, Lindstrom, Minn., and Roundbank, Waseca, Minn. – were stabilizing in 2015. The banks had come through the recession and put regulatory concerns behind them. Sean Cole, the banks’ chief financial officer, said there was a feeling it was “time to start playing offense instead of defense.” [Continue]

From Army recruit to CEO, banker connects the dots

I grew up in a small, low income town in eastern Oklahoma where college wasn’t an expectation. My single dad was a probation and parole officer and the town was rich with his clients. Very early on, the matriarch of the local community bank family encouraged me to look past my circumstances and pursue higher education – if I was in our local paper, you could count on her to send me a kind note with the article and a few dollars. If an opportunity came available in academics or athletics that I couldn’t afford to attend, she would, without fanfare, ensure that the opportunity wasn’t missed. [Continue]