Today’s Member Spotlight focuses on MidWestOne Bank from eastern Iowa. In the following interview, Second Vice President and Marketing Officer Nick Pfeiffer explains what is unique about this local community bank.
What is unique about your community bank?
MidWestOne Bank is not unique because of our connection to our communities, but rather how we connect with them. In 2012 we developed the MidWestOne Community Impact Grant. It is essentially an internal competition between branches in our 19 eastern Iowa communities for a $50,000 grant. The stipulations are that it be paid in one sum, all employees within the community be involved, and that the impact of the gift is wide and deep. In 2012, the grant affected 6,000 students in the Iowa City School District by providing healthy lifestyle education, healthy snacks and free dental screenings. In 2013, the grant helped build a new Veterans’ Memorial Park and playground from a dilapidated property near the center of Sigourney, Iowa. In 2014, the grant spurred the fundraising to build a new sports complex in Parkersburg, Iowa, and to build one of the first handicap-accessible ball diamonds in the Midwest.
How does your community bank uniquely serve your local community?
A strong community has a strong local bank. In many of our 19 Iowa communities, we are that strong local bank. From serving hot dogs at the high school football game to teaching financial literacy classes to sponsoring a family movie series at a local movie theater, we are involved.
What is the quirkiest, strangest or funniest thing you’ve seen at your community bank?
We’ve hosted a burrito-eating contest, pie-eating contest, a 16-mile walk with our mascot (Buck the Pig), an egg-smashing challenge (similar to the ice bucket challenge) and a no-shave November event—all to raise money for the United Way. We are not afraid to have some fun.
What is your proudest moment from your time at your community bank?
Within the past few years, MidWestOne Bank has been named Company of the Year by the United Way, a Top 100 Workplace in Iowa and a top workplace for young professionals. But my proudest moment came in 2013 when MidWestOne Bank was named the “Coolest Place to Work in the Cedar Rapids/Iowa City Corridor.” The thought that a bank could be the “coolest” was shocking to eastern Iowa. We beat out a bunch of startups and companies with fewer regulations than we have to deal with. That told me that our brand was really connecting with people.
What is your favorite project you’ve ever worked on at your community bank?
There have been many, but my favorite is happening right now. We are releasing a series of small business profiles. We are telling the story of some of our customers. It is opening the eyes of some of our customers—and those who should be—that there is a lot going on all around them and that MidWestOne is playing a big role in fostering growth in our local economy.