Northern MN banker reflects on exurban Minneapolis acquisition

Fifteen years ago, Grand Rapids State Bank crossed the $250 million in asset mark to become the 40th largest bank in Minnesota. Around that time, Noah Wilcox, president, CEO and chair of the bank and its holding company, Wilcox Bancshares, gathered his board for strategic visioning. He anticipated ongoing industry consolidation and wondered how GRSB would grow — or what might happen if it did not. [Continue]

Bankers’ Bank unveils ‘Shop Local’ credit card rewards program

A consumer credit card program that rewards shoppers who buy from locally-owned businesses has been introduced by Bankers’ Bank, Madison, Wis. The program, called Community Rewards Network for Credit Cards, is the bank’s first foray into consumer credit cards, said Robert Jarosinski, vice president, BankCards & Payments. “We’ve had a business credit card program for a couple of decades, but leadership was looking to start a consumer credit card product to complement the business credit card program.” [Continue]

Michael Bell preaches acquisition ecumenism

Michael Bell, a 40-year-old lawyer from Michigan is confident as hell about his ability to bring credit union cash to just about any purchase or acquisition you can imagine that doesn’t involve stock or a large deferred tax asset. And he’s clear about what adding a credit union to the bidding field will do to the selling price. “If a bank can pay 1.5 times book value and that’s the value, a credit union can pay 1.7 times book value.” [Continue]

Bank Midwest leader is 2019 Banker of the Year

In 1995, Mary Kay Bates walked into the Okoboji, Iowa, branch of Bank Midwest with a portfolio full of “B” credits. She had been working as a mortgage lender with Stockdale Bank, one of the last in a strange breed of private banks that took uninsured deposits and originated mortgages for high-risk customers. Regulators weren’t pleased to have private banks operating outside the system, so on its way to extinction Stockdale Bank sold its deposits and mortgages to Bank Midwest, which was why Bates was in that day, fully prepared to explain every relevant detail to the portfolio’s new owners. [Continue]

In Washington D.C., former bankers push reform

It’s hard not to be optimistic when someone drops some extra cash in your pocket, or when the people who wield power over you start to show some empathy. The new year began in the wake of President Trump signing the 2017 Tax Cut and Jobs Act. Many banks responded by doling out tax bonuses to employees. “If this tax bill is going to have the impact that is being talked about, then you have to get it out there,” said Al Tubbs, chairman and CEO of Ohnward Bancshares, Maquoketa, Iowa. “You have to share it.” [Continue]

Another day; another data breach

When you consider that cyber crime now surpasses the drug trade as the most prevalent criminal activity in the United States, it makes sense for a cybersecurity expert to suggest bankers be proactive by setting up a bitcoin account in order to pay ransom. Because when your data is held hostage (or you are locked out of your systems), time is everything. [Continue]

Charter conversions not a concern for Otting

The number of national bank charters in the Midwest has dropped precipitously in the last decade. And while industry contraction is a factor, community bankers also point to savings on examination costs, local decision-making by (and access to) examiners, along with the dilution of national banking powers as reasons they’ve opted to convert to a state bank charter from a national charter.

One place where the decline in national bank charters is astonishing is in Comptroller of the Currency Joseph Otting’s native Iowa, where there are 17 national charters today where there had been 42 a decade ago. The difference is even more pronounced in Nebraska, which currently has 12 nationally chartered institutions, down from 57 a decade ago. [Continue]