Rising Stars 2022: Rich Eckert

Rich Eckert wasn’t planning to be a community banker. Only seven years ago, Eckert had no banking experience. His unexpected entry came through “a little bit of dumb luck,” said the 35-year-old president and CEO of the west-central Illinois Beardstown Savings Bank. The former college faculty member was leaving small-town Wisconsin and moving to where his wife was from as they started their family. From former president/CEO Travis Schroll, Eckert learned of an opening at what is now a $73 million bank. He started as a loan officer.  [Continue]

Rising Stars 2022: Aaron Siegle

When First Resource Bank celebrated crossing the $300 million asset mark last year, President Aaron Siegle gave each employee $300. The money came with a condition: Half had to be spent on the employees’ families and half had to go to a cause, whether a formal nonprofit or simply a neighbor in need. The success of the Lino Lakes, Minn., bank was built on the success of its people and its community, and the fruits of that success should be shared. [Continue]

Former Nebraska banker takes school reins

A prominent Nebraska financial leader over the past 30 years, the latest chapter in Jeff Schmid’s career could be his most consequential one: Developing the next generation of banking leaders as president and CEO of the Southwestern Graduate School of Banking at Southern Methodist University’s Cox School of Business — the same school he graduated from in 1990. [Continue]

Minding your online Ps & Qs

With the number and kind of platforms available, bankers can find establishing an effective online presence a little overwhelming. How does a bank create an effective identity and reputation on social media while guarding against its pitfalls? To strike the right tone for a website, you must balance functionality and professionalism with allowing the personality of your bank to shine through. And who is it all for? [Continue]

Avoid cyber pitfalls through proper training

The cost of staying ahead of security challenges continues to rise for banks. Anand Naik, cofounder and CEO of cybersecurity tech firm Sequretek, shares his thoughts on the state of enterprise cybersecurity and how banks can best prepare for today’s threat environment.  [Continue]

More bankers embrace crypto as industry continues growth

Banks should only explore entering the crypto market after properly understanding the industry’s risks and undertaking necessary due diligence, according to a presentation from Wipfli LLP Principal Marcie Bomberg-Montoya and NYDIG Relationships Manager Tammy Bangs during the Spring Seminar of the Bank Holding Company Association.  [Continue]

Solving staff shortages by digitizing commercial lending

Financial institutions are facing increasing pressure to grow and improve while dealing with tighter margins and, as of late, being short staffed. As the Great Resignation and Great Retirement surge, attracting and retaining top talent has become even more difficult. Recruitment can be especially challenging for institutions in rural areas and for roles that require technical knowledge and skill. We keep asking how to attract more talent, but there are other ways to accomplish more even while short staffed. [Continue]

To ‘beta’ or not to ‘beta’? Good question!

If you haven’t already, at some point you’ll be faced with the question: Is your bank willing to be a beta site for a new technology product? It’s tempting. You get a “sneak peek” of a new product and the chance to offer feedback. But being a beta site can be disruptive depending on the level of involvement, frequency of feedback requested, and risks to your existing process. [Continue]

Wanted: Community-minded nurturer

The past few years have seen the rise of “community manager” as a dedicated role within companies. An early 2022 search shows 135,000-plus available jobs with this title on LinkedIn alone. The role is part public relations, part customer cheerleader — and a good community manager authentically shows up, both online and in-person, as the “face” of the brand. [Continue]