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: Isaac Flenner

Efficiency, consistency and autonomy. For Isaac Flenner, director of equipment finance and small business lending at St. Cloud, Minn.-based Stearns Bank, those three nouns are the key components of both good customer service and a positive internal culture. Flenner, who has developed this approach over the last 17 years at Stearns Bank, is being recognized by BankBeat as a 2022 “Rising Star in Banking.” [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]

The politics of cannabis

More than 85 percent of Americans live in a state where marijuana is legal, either medically or recreationally or both. This includes many of the states this publication covers. Despite the evolving legalities, businesses that grow, market or sell cannabis products are legally shut out of the banking system and must rely on cash transactions.  [Continue]

More banks gain a foothold in cannabis

Most banks have steered away from banking cannabis, skittish because Congress continually sidesteps passage of The SAFE Banking Act, which would provide a safe harbor to banks that service MRBs. However, both banks and industry consultants say that by adopting a stringent compliance program, banks operating in states with legalized medicinal or recreational cannabis can, by utilizing an effective compliance program, set themselves up for long-term revenue opportunities that more risk-averse banks will miss out on.  [Continue]

Minnesota bank CEO recognized as top SBA 504 lender

Minnesota community banker Perry Forst was recently recognized as Amplio’s 2020-21 SBA 504 Lender of the Year during the organization’s annual meeting on May 12 in St. Paul. Forst, CEO of the $116.6 million Citizens State Bank Norwood Young America, will retire from the bank at the end of this year after 37 years, paving the way for the next generation of leadership. [Continue]

Leaders of family-held banks discuss operations

Three longtime leaders of family-held banks discussed the approaches they take to their positions and how they plan to keep their banks running in a panel at the Bank Holding Company Association’s Spring Seminar at Omni Viking Lakes Hotel in Eagan, Minn.  [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]