Record year in 2012 at Community Bank & Trust
By Mark Sherry
Mark Sherry photo
Staffing the Elkhart Lake office of Community Bank & Trust are (from left) Kristy Mulder, Tammy Wagner, Linda Krueger, Tanya Wick, Shannan Kessler, Gina Feldmann and office president Branden Boerner.

Last year was more than a good year for Community Bank & Trust—it was a record year.

Anthony L. Jovanovich, chairman and chief executive officer of Community Banc-Corp. of Sheboygan, Inc. announced recently that Community Bank & Trust posted record earnings of $5.0 million for 2012.

Jovanovich said that between core earnings and partial recovery of their deferred tax asset for both the bank and the bank’s holding company, combined earnings for Community Banc-Corp. of Sheboygan, Inc. were also strong at $3.3 million.

Community Bank & Trust, which is headquartered in Sheboygan, has 11 offices in Wisconsin and assets over $540 million. The greater Kiel area is served by offices in Elkhart Lake and Chilton but, as always, a customer of Community Bank & Trust can do business at any of its offices—from Appleton to the Milwaukee area and points in between.

SBA relationship key

Branden Boerner, office president at Community Bank & Trust’s Elkhart Lake office, said the bank’s relationship with the Small Business Administration (SBA) in making loans primarily to businesses is one of the key reasons for the bank’s continued growth and excellent 2012.

Community Bank & Trust specializes in SBA guaranteed loans and has been consistently recognized as one of the top two SBA lending banks in Wisconsin, which Boerner said is “pretty incredible for the size of our bank.”

One of the things which sets Community Bank & Trust apart from other banks is that it does not just use SBA loans, it masters them. The bank is designated as both a Preferred and Express lender with the SBA, which allows it to underwrite a small business loan quickly and efficiently. Boerner said customers can sometimes get things done on SBA loans in days via Community Bank & Trust whereas those same customers reported going months without answers from other banks.

Local control is another advantage which plays well for both SBA loans and Community Bank & Trust. Boerner said he has seen a lot of activity which benefitted from SBA loans in the past year right in Elkhart Lake. A couple new businesses opened and a couple more did remodeling projects.

Customers near and far

The area agricultural/agri-business sector also has been good in the past year for Boerner and Community Bank & Trust. Because of the bank’s growing reputation as a SBA lender statewide, Boerner even worked with a farm south of Madison on a project. He recalls the farmer telling him, “This couldn’t be any easier” about the SBA loan process. Community Bank & Trust also has worked with the Farm Service Agency in bringing other loan programs to area farmers.

A Community Bank & Trust SBA loan can help a person open a business; purchase an existing business, building or land; construct, expand or improve a building; purchase machinery, equipment, furniture or fixtures; acquire inventory or fund working capital; or refinance existing business-related debt on more favorable terms.

Benefits of SBA loans through Community Bank & Trust can include longer terms and amortization, improved cash flow through a lower payment, larger loan amounts than otherwise might be available, competitive interest rates and terms, no balloon payments, and closing costs which can be included in the loan.

There are some requirements for businesses to use SBA loans. They must be operated for profit and meet size limits set by the SBA. For new businesses, SBA guidelines generally require a minimum capital investment by the owner ranging from 10 to 50 percent of the total project cost. The capital requirement varies depending upon the project specifications.

For existing businesses, the historical financial statements must demonstrate that the business can operate on a sound financial basis.

Loans of more than $5 million

Loans can be made for as much as $5.5 million in some circumstances. Repayment terms generally range from five to seven years for working capital, seven to 10 years for equipment and certain fixed assets, and 15 to 25 years for real estate acquisitions or construction.

SBA loans are a big part of the success of Community Bank & Trust but they do not tell the whole story. Asked what he feels sets the bank apart from its competition, Boerner said, “I think it’s the customer service and quick turnaround times. We make local decisions. We don’t have to outsource it to a corporate office.”

Continuing low mortgage interest rates also have some customers still looking to refinance and others looking to purchase a new or different home, Boerner said.

Boerner is approaching his one-year anniversary at the Elkhart Lake office. “Community Bank’s been very supportive of me,” he said. “It took a while to meet all the customers out here, but my staff knows everyone. They call them by name.”

Community Bank & Trust also offers some impressive programs for customers; for example, its Community Plus club for older customers arranges some attractive trips—like one coming up this October to Costa Rica.

Meanwhile, the bank also gives back to the communities in which it is located by supporting local events. In Elkhart Lake that has included sponsoring a band for Schnee Days, being a sponsor of the annual Old World Christmas Market, and helping out with other events such as Jazz on the Vine and Downtown Night.

For more information about Community Bank & Trust stop in or call the Elkhart Lake office at 876-3600 or check out www.communitybankandtrust.com.