MidWestOne CEO retiring this year after storied career

Charlies Funk

Iowa City-based MidWestOne Bank CEO Charlie Funk will retire later this year after a storied four-decade career. 

Funk, 67, joined MidWestOne in November 2000 and has served as CEO since March 2008. He was president of the company and the bank from November 2000 to July 2020. Funk, BankBeat magazine’s 2014 Banker of the Year, received the Iowa Bankers Association’s 2021 James A. Leach Leadership Award last September at the association’s annual convention in Des Moines. 

A graduate of William Jewell College, Funk began his banking career in 1979 at American National Bank, St. Joseph, Mo., in the bank’s management training program. After the bank’s investment officer left, Funk covered the position temporarily, doing so well that he was given the position permanently. By 1997, Funk was the chief investment officer at Brenton Bank in Des Moines, Iowa. The bank’s chief operating officer asked Funk to assume management of the bank’s struggling Des Moines branch. Within one year, the branch was recognized as the best in the bank for loan growth, deposit growth and referrals. 

By 2000, as Wells Fargo was on the verge of buying Brenton, Funk joined the Iowa City-based Iowa State Bank & Trust as president. Over the next eight years, ISB&T averaged $5.3 million in net income per year and 13.5 percent return on equity. The bank grew to $600 million in assets by June 2008 with Funk at the helm; it was $389 million when he came to the bank.

In 2008, the bank acquired the neighboring $789 million MidWestOne Bank for $92.3 million, creating a $1.5 billion institution with 29 locations in eastern Iowa. ISB&T also adopted the MidWestOne name, leveraging brand development work the acquired bank had done before the merger. “What excited me most about the merger were the opportunities it brought our people,” Funk said in 2014. “Over the years, a few of our officers left because they had hit a ceiling here. They were doing a good job and they were happy here, but we didn’t have anywhere for them to grow because the bank wasn’t growing fast enough.”

MidWestOne board chair Kevin Monson credited Funk for leading the organization as it grew from having more than $500 million in assets and approximately 200 employees in 2000, to a nearly $6 billion bank today with more than 750 employees in Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Colorado and Florida. “Charlie has developed an experienced and seasoned leadership team that values long-term relationships and helping customers and communities succeed,” Monson said. “The communities we serve are not only the inspiration of our organization, but the purpose behind our existence. The impact and legacy of his leadership leaves MidWestOne well positioned for the future.”

 Funk is also a banking educator, having taught at the Colorado Graduate School of Banking in Boulder, Colo., the Iowa School of Banking, and the Stonier Graduate School of Banking at Georgetown University. 

MidWestOne’s board has engaged the executive search firm Spencer Stuart to find Funk’s successor. Funk will continue to serve on the company’s board after his replacement is hired. 

“As an organization, we’ve traveled many miles together over the past 21 years,” Funk said. “We took a venerable, family owned bank and, in time, merged it with three other like-minded family banks and became a public company. We’ve been a stable employer that continues to win awards for our culture and engagement. And, we’ve generously supported our local communities, even in the most challenging economic times.”