Ag economics remain uncertain despite progress on trade

Worldwide, the novel coronavirus pandemic has upset global markets, economies and daily patterns of life like nothing we’ve ever seen in our lifetimes. And bankers and economists alike have no desire to proffer any forecasts at what the future of agriculture — even a few months from now — holds.  [Continue]

Coronavirus, land values and trade cause concern at ag symposium

Low prices, labor and weather top the list of challenges facing the ag industry in southern Minnesota, according to a poll of attendees at South Central College’s annual ag forum. Regarding the overall economy, about 20 percent said the biggest challenge was government while another 20 percent said politics. [Continue]

Nebraska banks make financial literacy a priority

Young Americans generally lack the skills they need to manage their financial futures. In order to improve the financial literacy of young people, and help them avoid future financial struggles, some community bankers in Nebraska have dedicated resources to opening banks inside of elementary schools.  [Continue]

Solar initiative a differentiator for Iowa bank

The best ideas in banking are often greener than its stock-and-trade currency. So it is at central Iowa’s Peoples Bank, where “clean and green” are on display from rooftop to parking lot, thanks to a recent investment to convert the nine-bank subsidiary of Green Circle Investments to 100 percent solar energy. [Continue]

New Carlisle Federal gets new location, new name

While New Carlisle Federal Savings Bank remains headquartered in the same town after 136 years, the Ohio bank decided it was time to freshen things up. On August 12, the New Carlisle-based bank broke ground for its fourth location, this one in Springfield, Ohio, a community of about 60,000 — its first branch in almost two decades. [Continue]

Conquering his world, one cookie at a time

With a high of 83 degrees, May 16 was a great day for Craig Madsen to get out of the office and into the field. Literally. Madsen is community president and senior lending officer at Bank Plus in Estherville, Iowa, and has been named a 2019 Rising Star in Banking by BankBeat magazine.  [Continue]

Overproduction, trade tiffs and shifting consumer tastes spell bad times for dairy

Martin County, Minn., used to be all dairy 50 years ago. Now, with more than 150 hog farms, the county bills itself as Bacon Capital USA. Today, the county has three dairy farms, including that of Lori and Bob Calkins. In addition to dairy farming, Lori Calkins is a large-animal veterinarian who speaks of changes in dairy farming that have helped the industry become so much more efficient. [Continue]

Elder exploitation at heart of Illinois legislation

Legislation this season in Illinois has brought to light new concerns regarding consumer protection and elder financial abuse. During last year’s Illinois General Assembly, bill SB2385 as originally written would have allowed nursing homes to require residents to give them power of attorney over their bank accounts so the nursing homes could check on residents’ eligibility for Medicaid. [Continue]

Bankers well-positioned to help farm customers through crises

In the last 12 months, Bob Worth has lost three Minnesota farming friends to suicide. Two of the men, aged 50 and 55, faced liquidation of their family farms. With the third, Worth said it was definitely not financial stress. He was “one of the best farmers in the area,” Worth said. “He just thought he was going downhill. As much help as he got, tried to get — medical help, psychological help — he just knew he was a failure.” [Continue]

Ohio bank benefits from its own ingenuity

The creativity that helped Richwood Bank launch a marketing consultancy has also helped the bank increase its lobby traffic and support its local economy. In 2015, when Richwood Bank decided to update its lobby, it needed to respond to two consecutive years of decline in lobby traffic. Bank CEO Chad Hoffman wanted to create a fresh experience in order to turn that decline around. [Continue]