Iowa bank expands its Minnesota market

West Bank, Des Moines, Iowa, opened branches in Mankato, Owatonna, and St. Cloud, Minn. this summer.

The bank’s holding company, West Bancorp Inc., announced the $2.2 billion bank’s growth strategy in Minnesota in March 2019. “[We] are encouraged by the new business activity in those new markets,” said Dave Nelson, president and CEO. 

“We have assembled teams of experienced bankers that are building relationships with local business owners and business leaders,” Nelson said. “West Bank remains committed to our community-focused business banking model with local leadership.”

The roots of the bank leader’s rapport are embedded in his 25-plus years in Minnesota, many of them spent as the head of Wells Fargo’s southeast Minnesota banking division, based out of Rochester, Minn.

West Bank opened a loan production office in Rochester in 2013, and later converted it to a branch. The bank also has eight offices in Des Moines and one in Coralville, Iowa.

In addition to the costs associated with the bank’s Minnesota expansion, it faces loan and deposit market pressure and net interest margin pressure due to the inversion of the U.S. Treasury yield curve. 

“Despite these challenges, we continue to benefit from our ability to manage credit quality and our disciplined approach to expense management,” Nelson said. West Bank’s loan balances have increased by 14.7 percent as of Sept. 30 compared to a year prior, Nelson said. In the third quarter reports, the bank reported the highest net income ever recorded.

Tom Lentz, former Bremer Bank president in Mankato, is the market president for West Bank’s new Mankato branch.

“We believe we are uniquely positioned to seize opportunities in all of our markets with the seasoned business banking teams we bring to the table,” Nelson said. “We are confident that this expansion sets us on a path for building shareholder value.”