No time to wait

Nobody knows when the pandemic is going to clear up. Some are saying there will be a vaccine soon; others are saying we will be dealing with masks, social distancing, quarantines and travel bans for years. I have decided to stop waiting for things to get better; it’s time to make the most of the present, regardless of the conditions we can’t control. [Continue]

Webb and team build a people-first village

What does it mean to be family built and community strong? That’s the question Aleesha Webb asked herself as she rejoined Village Bank in 2018. She’d begun her career at the Minnesota bank led by her father, but had taken time to work in other financial institutions. As newly minted president and vice chair, she took stock of the situation and what needed to be tweaked.

Minnesota non-profit redirects deposits to help community banks

Medica, the largest non-profit health insurer in Minnesota, has traditionally had most of its operations accounts in larger banks. After visiting with a neighborhood bank in Edina, Minn., however, John Naylor, the president of Medica, wondered whether the company’s cash would benefit the community more if it was placed in a community bank.  [Continue]

Indiana banker values words, community

Almost every Friday morning for the past 10 years, Kathy Schoettlin’s voice is heard on the local radio. Fueled by fruit and coffee and likely without much sleep, she presents $100 to a local charity in exchange for airtime. Born at the border of Kentucky, she speaks with a slight southern twang, and with careful consideration. Choosing her words, she said, is as important a task as caring for her community. [Continue]

Blockchain offers too much security to be ignored

It’s been 12 years since the world was introduced to the technology that launched cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. The revolution was here! Once a mere curiosity, this tech has gotten a breakout session or two at banker conventions ever since it hit the scene. Its insistence for attention has persisted, and has never been more warranted than right now. Blockchain is on the verge of doing much shaking. [Continue]

Longtime Minnesota banking leader puts company first

Barb Smith has always been driven to make a difference for her employer. Earlier in her career, Smith had been a senior lender at a Bemidji, Minn., community bank when it was acquired. When a new retail sales role caught Smith’s eye, a colleague wondered why Smith wanted to also learn retail sales and service and deposit functions. She told him it was an opportunity to learn and “a way to make a difference.”  [Continue]

Colorado banker gets the job done

Rebecca Diaz is not a perfectionist. “There’s this expression: GETMO. Good enough to move on,” Diaz explained. “Sometimes you need that philosophy in your life.” Diaz is acutely aware of women’s tendency to abstain from a job application because every prerequisite wasn’t met to a tee. But with experience and working with women along the way, she learned how to run with the big dogs, though her golf skills are still lacking. [Continue]

Recognize what women want, and need, to succeed

We can attest to how the banking industry has developed and supported the women in its ranks. The industry’s commitment to helping women succeed is being put to the test as we approach 2021. I encourage everyone to think and act boldly to consider what changes you can make to policies or expectations so that we all continue to celebrate and support the talented women at your bank. [Continue]

Missouri COO balances banking’s three-legged stool

Kathleen Bruegenhemke started her career as an examiner with the FDIC in the midst of the ag crisis of the 1980s, and initially rejected the possibility of a transition into banking. None of the banks she examined in her first year on the job were very profitable, she said. “I didn’t see that as a real enticing industry to go into.” [Continue]

Michigan banker trail-blazes with transparency

When Michigan legalized recreational cannabis, Edith Farrell, the Bank Secrecy Act officer at Union Bank, Lake Odessa, was in staunch opposition. Well-versed in compliance, Farrell was content to analyze customer data and loan activity. She never expected she’d be the voice advocating for Union Bank to be one of the first in the state to bank the marijuana industry. [Continue]