Bank focuses on community efforts
By Eric Mathes

As the name may indicate, Community Bank & Trust is a business focused on supporting its local communities.

Community Bank & Trust was founded in 1989 by 14 local investors in Sheboygan. The group felt a growing need for a locally owned and operated independent bank. Since then, the bank has grown to over $530 million in assets, operates 10 offices, and employs nearly 200 people.

The bank continues to grow by holding true to its mission statement to meet or exceed its customers’ expectations.

This philosophy is what resonates in the Community Bank & Trust office of Elkhart Lake Office President Branden Boerner.

“Our business was created with a passion for small communities,” Boerner said. “We work really hard to build relationships and become a valuable resource for our clients.”

The philosophy lays the groundwork for the company to connect and serve the surrounding community, enabling them to grow together.

Active in the community

Community Bank & Trust’s presence in the local area can be seen in many ways.

“We are active in the great events held in Elkhart Lake,” Boerner said.

Some of the events the bank sponsors and participates in includes local favorites like Schnee Days, Downtown Night, Jazz on the Vine, Old World Christmas Market and events at Road America.

Boerner said, “Our involvement helps the bank become a part of the community. So we can give back, but also, so we can get a better understanding of ways we can serve our customers. Our goal is to build and grow, together, with the community.”

Boerner is close to celebrating his second year as office president in Elkhart Lake. He started with Community Bank & Trust in 2005, when he was hired as a teller.

Serving as the treasurer on the Elkhart Lake Chamber of Commerce Board, Boerner has helped Community Bank & Trust build enduring relationships throughout the area.

“The entire staff here works hard to support our area in many ways,” Boerner said. “It’s very important to all of us.”

Lending creates opportunities

When Boerner took the role as office president he began to identify opportunity within local markets.

“After connecting with more people in the community, I saw opportunity to become more involved in agricultural lending,” Boerner said.

Historically, Community Bank & Trust hasn’t been heavily involved in the farming and agricultural industry.

To counter specific agricultural risk factors, Boerner’s office utilizes the advantages of governmental guaranteed programs.

“What sets us apart from other lenders is how we mitigate risk by properly structuring debt,” Boerner said.

In a capital intense industry, with lots of short-term borrowing needs, Community Bank & Trust is able to help customers manage debt.

“These short-term loans can pile up over time,” he said. “By restructuring debt, we are able to use programs to promote business growth for local farmers.”

This is just one example Boerner is able to give about the advantages of building relationships between businesses and the community.

Working closely with the Farm Service Agency out of Manitowoc, Community Bank & Trust is confident this end of the business will continue to grow.

Boerner continues to challenge his staff and said, “We are very ambitious in setting goals for our business. In 2013, our bank did just over $42 million in SBA (Small Business Administration) guaranteed lending. This made us the #2 SBA lender in the State of Wisconsin and this year our goal is set at even higher.”

The company’s dedication to community involvement has led them to create unique factors of service unmatched by many other banks.

“Because we handle complex loan applications with more tolerance and utilize the right programs, we have been able to help a lot more people,” Boerner said.

Whereas many banks shy away from those loans, Boerner said that he works closely with customers eager to start a new business in situations that may not appeal to other lenders.

Taking on complex loans

Boerner’s group is able to take on complex loan relationships because of their extensive knowledge of available programs and resources.

“We set ourselves apart from others in that we can offer more opportunity for certain clients,” Boerner said. “We are more knowledgeable about lending programs because we have an entire department dedicated to it.”

Community Bank & Trust has employees dedicated to working with SBA loans for customers as well as researching and keeping up with special governmental programs.

With complex rules and regulations, many lenders simply can’t keep up with the amount of information required to comply, which is why Community Bank & Trust has designated staff assigned to that portion of the business.

Community Bank & Trust’s services also include personal services, business services, lending services, private banking, investment strategies, cash and wealth management, and trust services.

Being proactive and taking on risk aligns with the bank’s philosophy of helping people and growing new business.

“Our personal touch makes it easy for customers to connect with loan officers to solve problems and answer questions,” Boerner said.

Working hand-in-hand with the local area while providing customer service with a personal touch allows Community Bank & Trust to grow its capabilities as a dependable financial resource.

Community Bank & Trust is a full-service bank providing a full range of banking products and services from its 10 branch offices. Stop in today at any of their office locations and experience award-winning customer service. Their corporate office is located in downtown Sheboygan, along with offices in Sheboygan Falls, Elkhart Lake, Plymouth, Chilton, Glendale and Greenfield. “And thank you for naming us the Best Bank in Sheboygan County seven years in a row.” Call 888-582-4440 or go to Bank & Trust is a Member FDIC bank.