Minnesota banker aces accelerated succession

Anita Drentlaw

Editor’s Note: Each summer, BankBeat recognizes banking industry up-and-comers, nominated by readers, who are making a significant impact to their institutions and communities. This annual tradition is sponsored by United Bankers’ Bank, Bloomington, Minn.

Anita Drentlaw always knew being involved with the family bank was a career possibility – she’s been attending industry meetings since her pre-kindergarten days – but her path to the corner office at this Minnesota bank wasn’t supposed to happen quite as quickly as it did.

Drentlaw, president and CEO of the New Market Bank, is one of seven mid-career bankers being honored by BankBeat as a Rising Star in Banking.

Her father, Bob Vogel, was running for commissioner in Scott County (he won), and he wanted Drentlaw to help run the Elko New Market bank during the campaign. With her CPA license, she joined the bank in October 2002 as an operations officer after a two-year stint at accounting firm RSM. At the time, Vogel was president of the bank, and although Drentlaw was slated to take over from him eventually, the role was set to pass to a different officer first, with Drentlaw taking over from him somewhere down the road.

That plan hit a speedbump in 2005 when that senior vice president, who was also in the Army reserve, was called up for active duty and sent to the Middle East.

“I didn’t know how we were going to handle losing a major person from the bank, and while he was gone I learned a ton – because I had to. It was a baptism by fire,” Drentlaw said. As with any small bank, he’d held multiple roles: network administrator, head of operations, head of finance. Drentlaw took on all of those roles as well.

“It was a lot to take on, but it was good too,” she said. “And the longer he was gone, the more I got to like what I was doing. And then there was a little unknown of when he was going to come back, because I didn’t want to step backwards from what I was doing.”

The bank held the SVP’s job until he returned. But eight months later, Drentlaw’s colleague decided he wanted to be in the Army full-time. Upon his second and final departure, Drentlaw became chief financial officer. She was named president in 2012 at the age of 36.

“We just started the transition between my dad and me a little sooner than planned,” Drentlaw said. “I lived through the recession and I still liked [banking], which was a really good sign.”

Three generations of the Vogel family break ground at the New Market Bank’s new location in Elko New Market, Minn. Pictured, from left, are: Drentlaw’s father Bob Vogel, grandfather Bill Vogel, sister Karen Vogel-Romola and Drentlaw.

Elko New Market, about 45 minutes south of the Twin Cities, was created from the merger of two smaller towns in 2007. It was seeing a bump in growth, but the recession put that on pause, and it’s just starting to pick up again now. New Market Bank is also eyeing the future with renewed energy. The bank’s Elko New Market office recently moved a few blocks down the road to become the anchor tenant of a freshly-built retail center.

“You hear that activity spurs activity, and I’m hoping this new building does that,” Drentlaw said. The new building isn’t the only shot of energy Drentlaw is infusing into the bank. Within a one-month span earlier this year, the bank started a mortgage department and hired a dedicated commercial lender, increasing its staff by 20 percent.

“I’ve been really fortunate to start that chapter in my career a little earlier than we originally thought,” she said. “It gives me a little time to work on strategic plans and next steps, like the mortgage department, and the commercial lender and this new branch.”

Drentlaw, the fourth generation of her family to run the 113-year-old bank, is looking forward to the day she’s able to pass it on to the next generation.

“It’s not just a job; it’s your life. It does help when it’s your family too,” she said. “You feel a sense of responsibility because you don’t want to be the one who makes a huge mistake with that but also a huge sense of pride when something goes well because you’re carrying on a legacy.”

Between the new staff, mortgage department and location, Drentlaw and New Market Bank will have a lot on their plates over the upcoming year. The bank just crossed the $100 million asset mark in 2016, and under Drentlaw’s leadership, the institution is well-positioned to grow and prosper until the next generation of Vogel/Drentlaw leadership takes over.

Drentlaw’s contributions to the industry don’t stop at the bank’s doors, either. She’s currently on the board of the Independent Community Bankers of Minnesota and has served on many ICBM committees. Pending a vote, she is slated to begin her rotation through the ICBM chairs soon.

“Anita truly is a rising star in banking,” said ICBM CEO Jim Amundson, “a star that will shine for many years to come and continue to influence and inspire others in the industry and those with whom she works.”