Features

Vekich embraces reputation as ‘Mr. Fix-it’

Michael Vekich has become known among politicians and the press as the fix-it man, or the go-to guy. “I’ve been fixing organizations for a long time,” he said, whether it’s governmental, public, private companies or banks, as an accountant. The firm he bought in 1978 ultimately led him to practice in nine foreign countries. He’s being honored as one of BankBeat magazine’s 2021 Amazing Outside Directors. [Continue]

Fleck brings urban flair to rural bank

On the wall behind Fran Fleck’s home office desk in Des Moines, Iowa, hangs a quote by the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg: “If a woman is short, bend down and listen to her.” At 4 feet 11 inches, Fleck jokes that when she started lobbying, she was six-one. “Being beaten down all those years, I just got shorter and shorter.”  [Continue]

Toward a safe workplace

At the beginning of February, the state of Indiana lowered the eligibility threshold for COVID-19 vaccinations to age 65. One day later, Mark Fogt, president and CEO of Garrett State Bank popped into a vaccination site in north Fort Wayne to get his first shot. Noah Wilcox, chair, president and CEO of Grand Rapids, Minn.-based Wilcox Bancshares, who admits to never having had a flu shot in his life, is chomping at the bit to get his inoculation. “I’ll be first in line,” he promised. [Continue]

Addressing diversity at the root

In the backyard of her home, Cassandra Chandler has delicate white azaleas that decorate and punctuate a sea of green. On a hot day last summer, she noticed a hand of poison oak ivy grip one section of the garden. Horribly allergic, Chandler pulled out what she could, but the ivy still clenched at the roots. She cut on the outer edges to manicure an apparent solution, with no lasting avail. She never got to the root, so the weeds kept growing. [Continue]

The anatomy of a senior scam

Scams aimed at senior citizens are on the rise; bankers are often witnesses, which can put them in a quandary. On the one hand, they are obligated to execute legal transactions initiated by customers, including withdrawals; on the other hand, they can sometimes spot unusual customer behavior which may be an indication of fraud. [Continue]

Will 2021 deliver catastrophe for commercial real estate?

When the coronavirus struck, people across industries were sent home to work and once-bustling office spaces turned ghostly quiet. Months later, many offices remain empty. And, as the pandemic rages on (and on), and businesses delay asking people to return, one must question the future of the office. Will employers need less space (or more) to bring its people back? Do businesses need people back? [Continue]