Ron Hansen receives IBA’s Leach Award

Ron Hansen

Ron Hansen, former Iowa Superintendent of Banking and chair of Liberty Trust & Savings Bank, Durant, Iowa, has been presented with the Iowa Bankers Association’s James A. Leach Leadership Award. Hansen’s recognition was announced Sept. 24 at the IBA annual convention in Des Moines. 

“I’d be hard pressed to come up with an Iowan who has done more for our industry,” said John Sorensen, IBA president and CEO. “From community banker, to advocate, to regulator, Ron Hansen has earned the respect and admiration of his peers.”

Hansen is a third-generation community banker and the second in his family to serve as Superintendent of Banking; his father, Oliver Hansen, served in the position from 1971-73.

Hansen’s career in banking began with summer employment at Liberty Trust & Savings while he was in high school. After graduating with a degree in finance from Arizona State University, Phoenix, Hansen took a job at Security Pacific National Bank in Los Angeles. At the time, the bank was the second largest in California and the 11th largest in the nation. 

Hansen returned to Iowa two years later, in 1975, and joined the family bank. “My dad’s version of the story is that I called him up begging for a job,” Hansen said in a 2016 interview with this publication. “My version is that he told my brother that if I didn’t come back soon he was going to think about selling the bank. My dad’s gone so I guess my version lives on.”

 It would be another 20 years before Hansen would be appointed president and CEO. Hansen was named chair of Liberty Trust & Savings Bank in 2014. He also serves as president, treasurer and director of Liberty Bancorporation.

Hansen was appointed Superintendent of Banking in 2015 by Gov. Terry Branstad. At the time, Hansen said his front-burner issues were bank consolidation, cybersecurity, depressed commodity prices, and the aging of the examiner workforce within the IDOB. 

Succession, at the IDOB but also throughout the industry, had been subtext for Hansen throughout his tenure in public service. “It continues to be difficult for banks in Iowa to find people who want to work and live in rural areas,” Hansen said in 2018. “We as an industry need to do a better job raising awareness about jobs in banking.”

Hansen was reappointed as Superintendent of Banking in 2017 and served in the position until last week, when Jeff Plagge, president and CEO of Northwest Financial Corp., Arnolds Park, Iowa, stepped in to succeed him on Sept. 16.

When the leadership transition at IDOB was announced, Gov. Kim Reynolds called Hansen “a dedicated public servant.” 

Prior to becoming Superintendent of Banking, Hansen served in leadership roles at the IBA, including as 2011-12 IBA chair; he also served the American Bankers Association on its Government Relations Council Administrative Committee and its Community Bankers Council. Hansen has also served on various community and economic development initiatives in Durant.

“Ron has served the banking industry at the regional, state and national levels, and in a myriad of capacities,” said Kurt Herbrechtsmeyer, president and CEO of First Security Bank & Trust, Charles City, Iowa, who served as chair of the Leach Leadership Award nomination committee. “His service to the Iowa Bankers Association, the American Bankers Association and the state of Iowa exemplifies his willingness to put the welfare of others ahead of his own.”

The IBA created the Leach Award, named for former Congressman James Leach, in 2000 to recognize one distinguished Iowa banker each year who has made significant, lifelong contributions to how Iowa banks serve their communities. 

Hansen’s father received the Leach Award in 2001.