Giving back is what we do, community bankers defines who we are, and intimately involved is where we want to be.
Our goal is to provide high-quality banking services to our customers in a friendly, efficient, ethical and profitable manner. However our continuing success depends largely on the high degree of concern we have for our customers and the genuine commitment we have for their communities. At Northwestern Bank, people matter, both inside the walls of our branches and outside.
Here are a few characteristics of community banks, according to the Community Bankers of Wisconsin, that embrace the giving back philosophy:
- Community banks focus attention on the needs of local families and businesses.
- Community banks balance the needs of customers, employees and shareholders.
- Community banks use local deposits to make loans to the neighborhoods where their depositors live and work.
- Community bank officers are generally accessible to their customers on site with decisions on loans being made locally.
- Community bank employees are typically deeply involved in local community affairs.
- Community banks are willing to consider important attributes such as a person’s character when making loans.
- Community banks are themselves small businesses, so they understand the needs of small business owners.
- Community banks’ boards of directors are made up of local citizens who want to advance the interests of the towns and cities where they live and the bank does business.
- Essentially it is about local decisions, local commitment and local investment. Our senior management team and employees take this local involvement seriously when meeting the needs of our customers. They strive to assist all customers in making the best financial decisions, while also working to improve the overall health and welfare of the communities where we do business.
“Part of what makes a community bank so special is the culture of giving back and supporting the local businesses and individuals that make our communities thrive,” says Jamie Leibrandt, a senior vice president at Northwestern. “I am fortunate to work for a community bank that truly lives and breathes its tagline, ‘Where People Matter.’ This tagline embodies the bank’s culture towards our customers, employees and communities in which we operate.”
Leibrandt points out that all employees are encouraged to be involved and support community organizations and events that they feel passionate about, so they too can help make a difference. His involvement has included McDonell Area Catholic Schools, St. Charles Church, Chippewa Falls Main Street, United Way, St. Joseph’s Hospital, Community Foundation of Chippewa County and most recently the Boys & Girls Club.
“It is through serving that I have met many community members and I have been engaged in what matters most with the people that live and work here,” Leibrandt said. “I encourage everyone to be a part of your local community and make it a place ‘where people matter.’”
Northwestern Bank’s senior vice president, Jerry Kuehl, says that at its core, banking is a relationship business. “Our customers develop relationships with our tellers, customer service representatives, bookkeepers and lending officers. These relationships are what separate us from our competition. They are our ‘special sauce,’” he said.
“Large banks look to create efficiency by standardizing products and relying on technology to meet customer service needs. This is the McDonald’s approach to banking. You can have whatever you want as long as it’s on the menu. Community banking is the fine dining option; our employees have been with us for many years while our menu of products and services are tailored to your individual needs.”
“Part of what makes a community bank so special is the culture of giving back and supporting the local businesses and individuals that make our communities thrive.” Jamie Leibrandt, Senior vice president, Northwestern Bank