News Blog

Decorah & Cresco – May 23, 2017

Do you know your credit score or what makes up a credit score?

There are over 600 risk factors that are included when calculating a credit score. These risk factors fall into five main categories: payment history, which makes up about 35% of your credit score; how much you owe, which makes up 30% of your score; how long you’ve had credit, which makes up 15% of your score; last application for credit which makes up 10% of your score; and types of credit, which makes up 10% of your credit score.

You may be wondering how your score rates among the rest of the nations. The median score today is 723 which is considered above average. Listed below are credit score ranges:

Credit Scores Ranges: Excellent 750+, Above Average 720-749, Average 660-719, Below Average 620-659, Subpar Below 620

Credit scores impact more than just getting a loan at your local bank. Credit scores are used as tools for businesses to determine the likelihood of you paying your debt back to them. Credit scores are taken into consideration when getting insurance, entering into contracts with cell phone companies and utility companies, and even when applying for jobs. Your credit score can influence the interest rate you will pay on your next loan, your insurance premiums, and the amount of your next utility deposit. Credit scores are being utilized in a variety of ways making it more important that you check your credit report on a regular basis.

Good news! You are entitled to a free credit report annually from each of the three credit reporting agencies: Experian, Equifax, and Trans Union. It is recommended that you check your credit report annually. Checking your credit report can help detect fraud and ensure accurate information is being reported. Your free credit report can be obtained from

Building good credit is a good thing for yourself financially. Remember you can contact us anytime you have questions or want more information. Contact Us.

Family inside of stick build houseDecorah & Cresco – May 11, 2017 – Have you been dreaming, planning and designing your dream home? Before you start falling in love with design options, establish your budget and be prepared to stick to your budget. Figuring out financing is as easy as 1-2-3.

Step 1 – Get preapproval for your construction loan

You’ll want to visit with a home mortgage banker that can guide you through the construction financing process from beginning to completion of your building project. A mortgage lender can provide support and help you find out how much home you can comfortably afford. A building contractor will ask you to obtain financing for your project. Once your financing strategy is in place it’s time to meet with your builder design team to finalize your home design plan and a price that fits into your lifestyle and budget.

Step 2 – Get approval to start building

Your home appraisal is based on a completed set of plans, specifications, estimates, insurance, and the builder’s contract. This is done before the physical work begins. A construction loan has two parts; the interim loan during the construction period, and the long-term loan which is put in place after the house is built. Occasionally the buyer already owns the land and depending on how long they have held the title, this might work as appreciation or equity in the land in lieu of a downpayment. Let the home mortgage banker know if you are in this situation. You’ll want to establish a clear title to your new home site before any physical work starts on the project. The time to build a new house ranges from 3 – 18 months. While in the construction loan phase, you will pay interest only and only on the amount that you’ve borrowed.

Step 3 – Get ready to move in

A final inspection by the home appraiser is done to determine that the house was built according to the original plans and specifications once the house is completed. You’ll sign documents with your home mortgage banker to convert the construction loan to a long-term mortgage plan that makes sense for your needs.

Congratulations! It’s time to settle in to your new home.

It’s important to note that loan products are subject to credit approval. Other terms, restrictions & fees may apply.  Learn about our home construction loans.

Decorah Bank & Trust Co. NMLS# 677265 / An Equal Housing Lender

pocket watch and moneyDecorah & Cresco – April 14, 2017 – We are pleased to bring you Real Time Banking beginning April 25, 2017. This enhancement allows for faster and more efficient banking. Real Time Banking simply means your account balance will be quickly updated whenever a transaction to your account or debit card is processed whether from a purchase, deposit, transfer, or withdrawal. If you have questions about Real Time Banking please contact Customer Support at (563) 387-5230 or (563) 547-2244.


Phone with Apple PayDecorah & Cresco – April 4, 2017 – If you have our debit card, you have a new way to pay! Decorah Bank and Cresco Bank debit cards can now be enrolled in Apple Pay, and used anywhere mobile payments are accepted. Mobile wallets are the latest in smart phone payment technology, and offer a fast and secure method of using your card. Once you are enrolled Apple Pay will provide further instructions on how to use this simple technology. Check out our Mobile Wallet page to learn more about Apple Pay, and other mobile wallet options coming soon!

Interested in Apple Pay but don’t have a debit card? Call now and ask a personal banker to set up your new debit card at 563.382.9661 or 563.547.2244.

Apple Pay and the Apple Logo are trademarks of Apple Inc. registered in the U.S. and other countries


Limestone stairsDecorah – March 9, 2017 – That’s right. You have the capacity to become wealthy. Many of the wealthiest people in America have similar spending habits. It may not be obvious by seeing what millionaires drive or where they shop. You can learn a lot on how to build wealth by looking at these shared habits of the wealthy.

They live within their means and spend less than they earn. Many wealthy people live just like the average household. Many don’t drive expensive cars or live extravagantly. They are content with what they have and don’t try to “keep up with the Jones’s”. As you receive pay raises over the years save the excess.

They automate their savings. You’ve heard the saying “pay yourself first.” Many people use the savings plan that they will save whatever is leftover at the end of each month. For most of us, there won’t be much leftover if we do it that way. Instead, decide how much you will save each month and have that automatically taken out of your paycheck or transferred from your checking account. It’s a painless way to save.

They plan their spending. Make a budget and stick to it. Without a plan, you will spend more than you intend. People are often surprised when they add up what they spend in a year on clothes, restaurants, entertainment, and many other budget categories. A spending plan helps you choose where your money goes and make sure that you are on track to meet your financial goals.

They don’t carry credit card balances. The more monthly payments you have, the harder it is to save. Instead of paying high interest on credit card balances, save for purchases in advance and earn interest on your savings.

They set financial goals. It is important to think ahead about things like purchases you want to make and how much you need to save for retirement. Over half of American workers have never calculated how much money they will need for retirement. You need to set goals and make a plan to reach them.

They take care of their health. Exercise and eating right improves your health which can lower your health care costs.

They maximize their contributions to retirement savings. Any saving you do now will create big returns for you later.

As you can see it’s the little habits that will bring you the most glory. It takes more than dreaming about becoming wealthy – with a little savvy planning and pinching pennies, you’ll be well on your way to building wealth.

Enjoy the journey!

Decorah Bank leadership Joe Grimstad, Donna Thomas, and Ben GrimstadDecorah & Cresco – February 21, 2017

Greetings!  The books are closed for 2016 and we just finished preparing thousands of tax notices for interest paid and earned. 2016 was a solid year for the bank. Following are some highlights.

If you look around town there is quite a bit happening! The Bank is an active partner in many of the projects you see. These projects don’t happen without entrepreneurs with a vision and a willingness to put their capital at risk.  We are proud to support these projects and their owners investing in their future.

The basics of banking haven’t changed. We gather deposits from many and lend those out to people, businesses and farms. The spread between what we earn and pay is our margin. Our margin covers our overhead and risk and provides a profit. We also earn fees from managing money and other assets and underwriting and servicing home loans. We were fortunate to grow a little in all areas in 2016 which is healthy growth.

Agriculture is a big part of our local economy and our farmers are working through a second year of low commodity prices which slows their spending and investing. There is no telling how long a down cycle will last. Factors include weather, global trade, politics and more. We’re having lots of productive discussions with our farm customers about how to adjust through this cycle.

The Bank saw many big projects in 2016. We re-issued over 7,000 debit cards featuring the new chip technology.  This was an important project for us because it is a more secure way of using debit cards. This should help protect our customers and the bank by reducing fraud cases and loss. Of course fraudsters are adapting and have found new ways to commit financial crime. It’s a good idea to remain vigilant in who you trust. We’re here to help!

A logo refresh and new website was another undertaking for us last year. Our classic diamond has served us well and now we added a little color for more energy and combined the look in both Decorah and Cresco. This move provides us some efficiencies and a combined website. Decorah Bank and Cresco Bank are one, but each proudly carries the name of the community it serves which we think is important.

We thank you for banking with us. We know there are many options for banking and financial services. Just like shopping locally stimulates our community, provides jobs and supports families, so too does banking locally. We employ over 90 employee-owners (through an Employee Stock Ownership Plan) who are active in our community.

In 2017 we will bring you real-time technology, mobile payments, two more ag bankers offering crop insurance, an expanded home mortgage team offering mobile and online application technology, and continued wealth management services.

Our doors are always open! We recognize the ease and speed of electronic banking and communication, but know that there will always be a live person here ready to greet you with a smile.

Thanks again and we wish you a healthy and prosperous 2017!

In the Driftless Area & beyond

Decorah & Cresco – January 20, 2017 – Buying and maintaining a home is a big deal. It’s quite the commitment. Feel confident knowing that we offer a knowledgeable team of eleven employee owners to support you during the life of your loan. We’ll have you relaxing with your favorite beverage on your comfy couch in your new home before you know it.

Do you like the tech approach? We are equipped with online mortgage application technology, backed by our team of bankers, making the home financing process more convenient for you.

Call, stop in, or apply online!

Picture of the Mortgage Team: Dorothea Dahlen, Emily McConnell, Mike Huinker, Laura Schmauss, Becky Mitchell, BreeAnn Hageman, Jody Roberts, Muriel Lensch, Joe Grimstad, Rachel Kemp, Ruth Schraeder

Mortgage Team: Dorothea Dahlen, Emily McConnell, Mike Huinker, Laura Schmauss, Becky Mitchell, BreeAnn Hageman, Jody Roberts, Muriel Lensch, Joe Grimstad, Rachel Kemp, Ruth Schraeder

That’s right, not one, but two open houses happening this week!

Reagan Barta will perform at Decorah Bank December 22, 2016

Decorah Bank & Trust’s Christmas Open House is 9-4 on Thursday, December 22nd. You’ll be treated to homemade treats and hot cider all day long. Pianist Reagan Barta will play from 2-4 pm. Reagan is a 22 year old freelance musician that has 10 years of performing experience. Reagan is an advanced level pianist and improvisationalist who is trained and an experienced performer in multiple genres and is classically trained with an emphasis in Romantic time period music. He has composed and arranged multiple pieces for both voice and instruments. Reagan has also trained and received lessons under multiple master class pianists, the most nifty being Frank Sinatra’s. Then, at 4 pm, the children that won the Christmas Coloring Contest will gather for a photograph and collect their cuddly teddy bear.
Cresco Bank & Trust is offering a week-long celebration with cookies and coffee. Pop in anytime! Plus, for every signature we collect in our guestbook we will donate $1 to the Howard-Winneshiek Service Learning Committee. This committee provides clothing for children in need. Join us!

Julie with one of Decorah Bank’s ITMs which also functions as an ATM

Decorah – December 20, 2016 – Now you can have the best of both worlds when it comes to doing banking transactions with your money. You may be familiar with the two Interactive Teller Machines (ITMs) at Decorah’s main location drive-thru on Water Street. These ITMs offer a live teller on the screen to help with your transaction. Now you get to choose if you want ITM or ATM functionality during business hours. After business hours these two machines will work as the ATMs most people are accustomed. Stop by and give our ITM/ATMs a try.

Cresco – October 25, 2016 – Greetings from Cresco Bank. This picture was taken by Zahasky Photography in October 2016, they really know their way around a camera, wouldn’t you say?