Prominent Wisconsin banker dead at 75

Longtime Minnesota and Wisconsin banker Kenneth Heiser died Oct. 22 at Regions Hospital in St. Paul from COVID-19. 

Heiser, 75, was born June 24, 1947, in Dickinson, N.D. He graduated with a degree in business education and sociology from Dickinson State College in 1969.

Following a brief teaching career in North Dakota, Heiser began his 35-year career in banking with a 10-year stint as internal auditor with First National Bank, St. Paul. Following his time at the bank, Heiser was selected by A.J. Huss, Jr., to help run First National Bank, Hudson, Wis. “His hard work and knack for getting things done made him rapidly ascend to the position of president and CEO,” his obituary stated.  

Heiser, BankBeat magazine’s 2005 “Banker of the Year,” led the implementation of on-site tutorials for small business customers who wanted to make use of the bank’s internet services, debit cards with $1,500 daily limits, and sweep-accounts intended to help the bank reduce the amount of sterile reserves it needed to keep at the Fed. 

Heiser retired in 2009, two years after First National sold to Associated Bank, Green Bay, Wis. He was elected to the board of Fidelity Bank, Edina, Minn., in 2012.

Active in both state and national banking organizations, Heiser served on the Community Bankers Council of the American Bankers Association and the Government Relations Committee of the Wisconsin Bankers Association.