What’s happening? At Decorah Bank & Trust Co. Greetings! While national news is tough to watch with many challenges ahead, on a local level our economy is strong. Our market has a 5% unemployment rate as of December 2012. This is near full employment. Agriculture is strong with area farmers having some record years. Area home prices increased in 2012 showing demand in housing. We are blessed with a diversified economy of light industry, agriculture, service, retail, government and tourism. Our quality of life factor draws new residents regularly. It’s good to be a community bank in a community like ours! Though economic activity is “tepid” we did see about $10 million growth in deposits and loans in 2012. Other 2012 highlights include refinancing a record 492 home loans for $72 million. We volunteered over 2,000 hours with area non-profits and donated nearly 5% of our earnings back to the community. Unfortunately we also handled 87 debit card fraud cases, ID theft and levies and garnishments. Every job has its good parts and bad. We further reduced our carbon footprint by adding a 24kW photovoltaic solar system on our roof in Decorah. Additionally, we made a significant investment in Winneshiek Energy District to help in their efforts. This year we introduced low interest energy loans for area residents to make similar investments in their homes or businesses to make them more efficient and/or produce energy. It’s a win/win. Not only is it great for the environment but is can also be a great ROI! Our longest term Decorah Bank employee retired at the end of 2012 after 50 years in the bank. Irene Lovstuen will be missed greatly! She worked with 3 generations of Grimstads. She wasn’t willing to hang on for the fourth. Looking ahead we will launch enhanced mobile banking services. For clients who enjoy instant access to banking on mobile devices we will offer Android and iPhone Apps which will include “person to person” payments and the ability to take a picture of a check to deposit into their account. For those who want to improve their financial condition, we will offer more Dave Ramsey financial improvement courses in 2013. It’s a great course. As bankers we picked up some good ideas taking the course and so can you. We continue to partner with area schools providing various financial education curriculums – check our website to learn more about our educational efforts. Don’t get too distracted with media news. Work on your own situation –health, happiness and financial position. You can have an impact on that. And, let us know how we can help. Thanks for banking with your local bank! Ben Grimstad and Joe Grimstad Decorah Bank & Trust Co.