Bank Mutual reflects Wisconsin’s values
By Mark Sherry
Mark Sherry photo
Bank Mutual’s Kiel staff consists of (front, from left) Sara Reese and manager Joan Lechler; and (back) Amanda Binversie, Ann Nytes and Annette Lisowe.

When people think about Wisconsinites, they think of words such as steady, conservative, hard working and strong.

With that in mind, it seems even more clear that Bank Mutual is a Wisconsin bank built by and for Wisconsinites, employing over 700 individuals in their 78 Wisconsin branches. Ann Nytes, Sara Reese, Annette Lisowe and Amanda Binversie join manager Joan Lechler in the Kiel office at 622 Fremont St.

Bank Mutual is the fourth largest federally chartered bank in Wisconsin and has been helping customers since 1892. “We are a steady, strong, conservative, reliable bank,” Lechler said. To celebrate its 120-year anniversary, the bank will be having special promotions for opening certain checking accounts and will pay $120 into those accounts if opened during March.

Bank Mutual has been there through the good times and the not-so-good times for Wisconsinites. It is no secret that the last few years lean more toward the latter, but even when other Wisconsin banks took funds, Bank Mutual did not take any federal bank bailout funds.

Overcoming challenges

Dave Baumgarten, president of Bank Mutual, said, “For a lot of people, the sluggish economy is a nonstop source of anxiety. It is creating a sense of urgency in everything from personal finances to the ability to secure business loans. Through good times and bad, Bank Mutual has been helping customers overcome financial challenges.” The Kiel staff could not agree more.

Lechler said, “We offer great products and services including Free Money Management Accounts. This package has no minimum balances in the checking or savings account and offers free combined e-statements, free overdraft protection, free debit card with unlimited usage, free online banking and bill pay, and other services. We also offer other types of accounts to best fit your needs.”

With mortgage rates at such a low point, Lechler continues to be a busy woman at Bank Mutual. She said she is even getting homeowners in to refinance who had done so just a year ago. “I have been in this business for almost 30 years and these are the best rates I’ve seen,” she said. “I love to help customers save money and consolidating debt into a new mortgage is a great way to do it. I’ll give you a couple of options to choose from so you can pick what is right for you. We also offer free pre-approvals for those looking to purchase a new home.”

Bank Mutual’s 15-year mortgage loans have the best rates, but the bank also has now added a 20-year fixed mortgage loan. They also offer in-house seven-, 10-and 15-year fixed mortgages with little or no closing costs. The Kiel office of Bank Mutual earned distinction for being the most over goal in loans during November.

Commercial activity picks up

While Bank Mutual has long been active in the home mortgage area, some people might not be aware that the bank is a commercial lender as well and has been expanding in that area. Lechler said, “Bank Mutual has increased its staff in this area with very experienced, knowledgeable people who are dedicated in helping small and large commercial customers with their banking needs. We have the funds to lend to qualifying customers, both old and new.”

She added, “In March we are expanding our commercial deposit products to help fit the needs of all businesses. Our Treasury Management Department is ready to help business customers with Automatic Clearing House (ACH), Direct Deposit, Remote Deposit Capture, and Online Banking and Bill Pay.”

Lechler earned Bank Mutual’s “Big Dog” Award for doing the most commercial lending during a two-month period late last year and early this year.

Lechler said Bank Mutual also has expanded its merchant services, providing credit card systems for businesses whether or not they are customers of Bank Mutual. “We partnered with First Data to give you many advantages over other processors,” she said. “First Data is known for their enhanced security features to safeguard the merchant and their customers’ personal information. We do free comparison of statements to see where we can save you money, and their technology is the best in the business.”

Internet and mobile banking also continues to grow at Bank Mutual, and not just among younger customers. While the Kiel staff said they enjoy seeing customers come to the branch, they also are glad they offer mobile and internet banking for those customers who do not live close to one of the branches or who prefer to do their banking at any hour of the day or night.

Bank Mutual also offers financial counseling and alternative investment vehicles through its affiliate BancMutual Financial. A financial advisor will visit with clients either at the Kiel office or at the client’s home, explaining annuities and other products offered by the bank. Lechler said a number of Kiel area customers of Bank Mutual make use of this service.

For more information on these or any other Bank Mutual services, stop by the branch in Kiel or call 894-2278.

. YES! The selection of homes on the market has never been this good.

. YES! Interest rates are still near record lows. Don’t make a move… without us.