Community Banking Month Spotlight: Community State Bank
Today’s Member Spotlight focuses on Community State Bank from Union Grove, Wis. In the following interview, Assistant Vice President and Marketing Director Gregory Wall explains what is unique about this local community bank.
What is unique about your community bank?
We have a stated core list of values that we use as a guide when we come to work every day, and when we’re out serving our community, friends and neighbors. As an organization, we ask everyone to live these values every day. We believe that by doing so, we have the ability to make our communities better places to live, work and do businesses. When our communities succeed, we succeed.
We are passionate and dedicated to…
- Engaging with and building the communities we serve.
- Creating a memorable experience every time.
- Making the ordinary “Extraordinary”.
- Honoring and respecting the trust people place in us.
- Acting with honesty and integrity.
- Embracing and driving change.
- Lifelong learning and striving for excellence in everything we do.
- Holding ourselves and each other accountable.
- Encouraging and inspiring each other.
- Education and financial literacy.
- Having fun and making a difference every day
How does your community bank uniquely serve your local community?
CSB team members take leadership roles throughout the communities we serve. We have dedicated staff who serve on local school, county and municipal boards in addition to local, regional and national service organizations like the Kiwanis Club and the United Way.
But for an example where we literally “serve” our customers, our Ag team at CSB is second to none (Vice President Dave Moyer, Assistant Vice President Rachael Crane and Crop Insurance Specialist Cory Jones). They are such a large part of the agricultural community in southeast Wisconsin. In the fall, during harvest time when the farmers are at their busiest, our Ag team delivers them lunch in the field. It’s a nice break from the hard work everyone has been doing. I’ve also seen them close loans on the hood of a pickup truck out on the farm. This is a remarkable group of individuals and only a small example of the team at Community State Bank.
What is the quirkiest, strangest or funniest thing you’ve seen at your community bank?
The Great Duck Rescue of 2014 has to be on the top of that list. The story goes as follows. A mother duck and her ducklings were wandering through our Mt. Pleasant office parking lot on a Tuesday afternoon last spring. They were on the way to the pond across the street. When they got to the other side of the parking lot, the ducklings couldn’t make it up the steep curb with Momma Duck. So, the ducklings walked down the parking lot trying to find a way around the curb and encountered a storm drain…OH NO! The ducklings fell through the grate and into the storm drain…Momma Duck wasn’t very happy! Some of our customers saw what had happened and jumped into action. They coaxed the ducklings through the storm drain to the culvert on the other side of the road, where Momma Duck was very happy to see them. The final challenge for this new family was getting across the highway to the pond. Again, our customers stepped in. They helped stop traffic on the road and then escorted Momma Duck and her ducklings across the street to the pond. High drama for a Tuesday afternoon! The entire event was captured here.
What is your proudest moment from your time at your community bank?
CSB has developed a comprehensive interactive financial literacy program called “MyLIFE” (My Local Interactive Financial Education). MyLIFE is a program for high school students designed to demonstrate the importance of sound money management skills. It’s a unique learning experience for the students, and an opportunity to promote a partnership between the local business community and local schools.
In 2014 Community State Bank received the Governor’s Financial Literacy Award for the MyLIFE program. Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker presented the award to representatives of CSB. The ceremony was held in the Governor’s Conference room inside the State Capitol in Madison.
MyLIFE has been introduced at four local high schools so far and has benefitted nearly 1,000 high school students. The program has been so successful we’ve developed a MyLIFE Essentials program for middle school students.
What is your favorite project you’ve ever worked on at your community bank?
CSB is very involved in leadership roles throughout southeast Wisconsin. We often ask ourselves, “If not us, who?” and “If not now, when?” One of the core values mentioned earlier was “engaging with and building the communities we serve.” Our recent Business Economic Forum Breakfast Series was a great example of that.
In March, CSB hosted two business economic forums. Business leaders were invited to join us for breakfast, listen to some great speakers, and talk about the economy on a county, state and national level. Day one of the event featured Racine County Executive Peter Hansen and Lt. Governor Rebecca Kleefisch (most of our branch network is in Racine County). Day two of the event featured presentations from Racine Area Manufacturers and Commerce (RAMAC) President Jim Ladwig and U.S. House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Paul Ryan. We had more than 250 guests over the two-day event.
Do you celebrate Community Banking Month?
We like to say at CSB we celebrate Community Banking Month every month! In April we traditionally have banners up at our locations announcing Community Banking Month, and we serve treats that were bought from local businesses.
Want to know more about the Community Bankers at CSB? Check out our “Get to Know CSB” section on our website. You can find fun facts like “Who used to teach disco in college?” or “Who wanted to be a racecar driver when they grew up?” It’s a really personal and fun section on our website.