Former lawmaker leads IBA, embraces industry’s ‘virtual’ reality

On Feb. 19, the Illinois Bankers Association announced that Randy Hultgren would be its next president and CEO. Hultgren, who served as a U.S. Representative for Illinois’ 14th congressional district from 2011 to 2019, plunged into the depths of IBA’s coronavirus response, working alongside retiring IBA President and CEO Linda Koch. Hultgren speaks to his unexpectedly eventful first months on the job. [Continue]

Novice SBA officer leads PPP charge

When the first round of funding from the Paycheck Protection Program opened the floodgates in April, Nikki Walker sat with fingers poised over the keyboard, ready to wrestle with the Small Business Administration’s E-Tran portal. Walker put in 16-hour days entering applications during the initial rush, working at the head of a team of six reviewing files after lenders had turned in paperwork. All told, the St. Francis, Minn.-based Village Bank processed 329 applications totaling more than $55 million by the time the initial funds ran out. [Continue]

Indiana bank launches trifecta of help

First Farmers Bank & Trust has launched a three-pronged attack against the economic impacts of COVID-19 in its communities. The Converse, Ind.-based bank created a program to connect hog farmers with local food banks, committed to donating $75,000 for donated lunches purchased from local restaurants to donate to first responders and medical professionals. [Continue]

Fourth-gen banker stewards century-long legacy

As the fourth generation of his family involved in leadership at Peoples Bank, Munster, Ind., Ben Bochnowski knows he has a responsibility to carry on a proud legacy of excellence almost a century deep. A key part of that work has been putting together a stellar team inside Peoples Bank and fostering the development of qualified banking employees in the broader industry. [Continue]

Unsealed documents shed light on Bremer saga

Documents in the ongoing legal battle between the Otto Bremer Trust and Bremer Financial Corporation and BFC directors have been unsealed, revealing more details of what has been a drawn-out disagreement. At the heart of debate is the trust’s ability to sell Bremer Bank over the wishes of the non-OBT directors of the St. Paul, Minn.-based BFC.  [Continue]