Midwest banks grant wishes, give tenners

A customer submits a wish at a wishing well in a Choice Bank branch.

Choice Bank, Fargo, N.D., is setting up “wishing wells” in its branches where community members will submit wishes to be granted. 

The Wishing Well Program started with a phone conversation last year and leapt with momentum. “Seeing all the wishes unfold and how they impacted the lives of the recipients was inspiring,” said Gaige Dunn, credit banker and founding member of the wishing well committee.

In its launch year a year ago, the wooden wells collected more than 250 wishes over a three-month period in its Belfield, Dickenson, Ellendale, Grafton, LaMoure, Medina, Steele and Walhalla, N.D., locations. The $343 million bank granted 17 of the wishes, including books for a school library and an electric scooter for a woman with muscular dystrophy, granting her the freedom to move.

Harnessing the energy from the inaugural year’s success, Choice bank is expanding its reach. Starting Nov. 20, the bank will be accepting and granting wishes year-round.

“By continuing the Wishing Well Program, we hope to provide a vehicle for members of the community to voice what is important to them,” said Tara McFadden, senior vice president and chief compliance officer. “Our #peoplefirst commitment means that we’re here for not only our customers, but also the communities we call home.”

The number of winners is dependent upon the cost of the wishes, determined by the bank’s wishing well committee. Donations to the program are not accepted.

…and a CEO’s response.
A seven-year-old’s letter…

In another patch of the Midwest, State Savings Bank, West Des Moines, Iowa, is also paying it forward.

In celebration of 125 years of business, the $136 million bank gave $10 to 125 of its customers for them to put to good use in their communities. 

Almost two dozen customers wrote to the bank, explaining how the $10 impacted their community neighbors.

“Thank you for the $10 to help buy diapers and wipes for the New Directions Women’s Shelter,” a seven-year-old hand-wrote.

Tim Wolf, the bank’s president and CEO, replied, thanking the boy. 

“A person is never too young to help others. Thank you for your good example,” Wolf wrote; signing as “your banker and friend.”