Rising Stars 2021: Relationships are foundational for CSO

When you drive onto a farm, you’d better have a feel for the position that farmer is in, said Juhl Erickson; you better understand their time is important. Erickson, chief sales officer for Spirit Lake, Iowa-based Bank Midwest, learned these things young. While growing up on a southwestern Minnesota farm, Erickson recalled the unsolicited sales calls made at the farm, and how his father, Frank, would call out the arrival of these peddlers the way one might announce an approaching storm: Here comes another one. [Continue]

Nothing beats a written plan when setting goals

For quite a few years, the conversations surrounding agriculture have focused on financial stress. Since 2014, we’ve had a rise in farm bankruptcies, we watched low commodity prices place downward pressure on land values, we expected farm incomes to be stretched thin, and we knew that years of struggle were manifesting in mental health crises across rural America. [Continue]

Sociability is Fidelity Bank & Trust’s differentiator

National recognition by Newsweek surprised the team at Fidelity Bank & Trust, Dubuque, which serves 27 communities in northeast Iowa, plus two in Wisconsin and one in Illinois. The $1.5 billion bank is “very social,” said Kathy McAllister, chief retail and marketing officer. Getting a boost from a national magazine injected some octane in the bank’s already high-performance marketing strategy. In terms of its competitive edge, McAllister points to the bank’s social engagement and its investment in being the “local” provider. [Continue]

Security First Bank keeps moving with mobile branch

In an era when mobile banking implies transactions conducted via smartphone, Security First Bank, Lincoln, continues to deliver critical banking services to underserved communities through a branch on wheels. The bank launched the Badlands Express in 1998 to serve customers on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. The fully-outfitted mobile branch makes four runs per week. [Continue]

Blending tech with the human touch at TrailWest

When Rich Zins, president of TrailWest Bank, Lolo, Mont., received an email congratulating him on receiving the “Best Small Bank” designation, “I was expecting it to come with a solicitation as many of these types of things do. I was quite pleased to learn that the designation was legitimate.” [Continue]

Community banker takes his curiosity for a ride

Rich Jones wants his community to see him as a fun guy rather than a stuffy banker. To shape his persona, Jones, president and CEO of central Minnesota’s Randall State Bank, recruited a friend with a video camera to create “Around the Town,” a series of short documentaries highlighting community businesses, with Jones as raconteur.  [Continue]

Don’t let perfection be a roadblock to progress

A fourth-generation community banker recently shared a piece of advice she got from her father. There are times and situations, he told her, when giving 80 percent is good enough. In our cover story this month, which bestows our first ever “Spirit of Community Banking” award on the second- and third-generation leadership team at Ohnward Bancshares, you’ll find an example of how a less than 100 percent effort was the ticket to success. [Continue]