News Blog

Erin Ludwig earns IBA certificateDecember 17, 2021 – Erin Ludwig, an Ag and Business Banker and Consumer Lender at Cresco Bank & Trust, successfully completed the 2021 Iowa Bankers Association Introduction to Commercial Lending School held in Cedar Rapids.

The school is an intense three-day program sponsored by the Iowa Bankers Association. The purpose of the IBA Introduction to Commercial Lending School is to give students a basic understanding of the principles and concepts of commercial lending. The curriculum for the school involves an extensive case study, as well as classroom lecture and problem loan exercises.

Erin joined Cresco Bank & Trust in June, bringing with her almost ten years of lending experience and local ties as she grew up and has worked in the area her entire career.

Congratulations to Erin on this exciting achievement! To speak with Erin about your Ag, Business, or Consumer Lending needs, contact her at 563.203.8150 or via email at



Cresco Prize Donation-Dec2021December 9, 2021 – Cresco Bank employees Shannon Andera, Leslie Sivesind, and Carol Korsmo recently won a bank-wide contest with a prize of donating $1,000 to a charity of their choice. The trio decided to give the donation to Cresco Park and Rec’s Steve McCarville Memorial Field. When asked how they picked this organization, they said, “We chose to donate to Cresco Parks and Rec to support the naming of the Steve McCarville Memorial Field. Steve and the McCarville family have always been big supporters of the City of Cresco, and we felt this would be a good tribute to Steve for all he has done for the community.”



November 30, 2021 -Decorah Bank’s Christmas Coloring Fun is underway! Children ages 10 and under can color to win a stuffed teddy bear. Please stop by our lobby located downtown or our South branch location on Division and Short St. to pick up your coloring registration form or download and/or print the pdf below. Return your form to our lobby by 4:00 pm on Tuesday, December 14th. We will be taking a photo of the winners on Wednesday, December 22nd at 4:00 pm.

December 23, 2021 – Thanks to all of the children who participated in Decorah Bank’s Christmas Coloring Fun! Ten randomly chosen children won a teddy bear! The winners are pictured below.

Coloring Fun Winners

Back Row (l-r): Maya Kuehner, Fiona Clarine, Mylee Hageman, Bristol Buddenberg, Eversyn Panos with Brittnee Panos
Front Row (l-r): Braxton Wilson and Memphis Imhoff
Not Pictured: Dexter M., Tessa S., and Hayden H.


On September 21st, Decorah Bank Employee Nancy Carolan and Decorah Bank Retiree Roger Huinker were honored for 50 years of service in the industry by the Iowa Banker’s Association. Nancy Carolan and Roger Huinker both started their banking careers back in 1971. The IBA has a luncheon each year celebrating bankers throughout the state on reaching this impressive feat and this year, both Nancy and Roger attended as guests of honor.

Roger began his banking career in May 1971 at Decorah State Bank. When the bank merged with Community First Bank in 1996, he transitioned to working there for seven years. For the last 18 years of his banking career, Roger worked for Decorah Bank and Trust Company. Throughout his 50 years of banking, he held many different positions within the bank, from a bookkeeper, teller, operations officer, assistant cashier, cashier, auditor, to a Vice President Trust Officer. Though he retired in May of 2021, Roger now serves as an outside member of the bank’s Trust Investment Committee.

Roger earned his Associate Degree from Northeast Iowa Community College. He graduated from the Graduate School of Banking – University of Wisconsin Madison in 1990 and later graduated from the ABA National Graduate Trust School – Northwestern University in 2003. In 2006, he became a Certified Senior Advisor. For many years, Roger taught the ABA Principles of Banking Course to numerous NE Iowa and SE Minnesota bank employees.

Roger has served in leadership positions within many community organizations. He currently serves as a Trustee of Winneshiek Medical Center, on the St. Benedict Church “Gift for Tomorrow” Legacy Committee, is a member of the Decorah Rotary, and serves in the Decorah Elk Club.

Roger has been married to his wife Pat for 45 years. They have three children and eight grandchildren. In his free time, he enjoys playing tennis, golf, hiking, biking, and attending grandchildren’s activities. Now retired, he most misses the interactions he had with his fellow employees and bank customers.

Nancy never envisioned herself as a banker. In 1971, she attended a job fair to see about a clerk position at a dress shop. The individual she spoke with thought Nancy would be a good fit at a local bank, then called Security Bank, and helped set her up with an interview there. Nancy reluctantly went to her interview, not thinking she would get the job over the other six applicants. However, Bank CEO Larry Grimstad saw Nancy’s potential and hired her as a teller on a six-week trial. The trial went well, and Nancy was hired on as a permanent staff member.

Nancy has been at the same bank, now called Decorah Bank and Trust, for her entire career. She started as a Teller, transitioned to the loan department, then went back to being a Teller and Customer Support Representative, knowing that role suited her best. As the years passed, she developed wonderful friendships with her coworkers and customers. She has always enjoyed her job and says that the customers are her favorite part of the job because you “develop such a relationship with each of them.” In addition, Nancy enjoys working for the Grimstad family, saying they are truly family and always are there to work with you. Currently, Nancy continues to work as a Customer Support Representative at Decorah Bank and Trust and enjoys seeing her customers and coworkers each day.

The Iowa Bankers Association annual convention is the largest yearly convention of bankers in Iowa, attracting over 800 people from throughout Iowa. Decorah Bank & Trust CEO, Ben Grimstad, went with Roger and Nancy to congratulate them on this monumental celebration. (See photo below)

Debit cards are one of the most common forms of payment, and most people carry them everywhere they go. We know that speed, security, and convenience are “must have’s” when it comes to Debit Cards, which is why we are excited to announce a new enhancement to our Digital Banking platform.

Cardholders now can have instant control over their Debit Cards with Card Controls, new, inside Digital Banking. Card Controls allows users to see all cards and manage them as necessary.

Available functionality includes: Blocking and unblocking your card, submitting travel notices, setting dollar amount limits and alerts, and more!

Find Card Controls on your Mobile App or Desktop Online Banking, and enjoy the freedom to manage your cards when and how you need.

Please contact the bank with any questions or concerns, or schedule a meeting with our E-Banking Specialist for a one-on-one session to learn how to use Card Controls!

July 6, 2021 – Our lending team has been busy preparing and processing PPP Forgiveness Applications over the past few weeks and has made tremendous progress.

If you currently have an outstanding PPP loan, you do not need to do anything until you are contacted by someone from our lending staff.  Our team has been busy preparing these forgiveness applications for our customers so often times the only thing a customer needs to do is sign and date the application.  While this makes it easy and convenient for our customers, it does take some time on the bank side to prepare these applications.  If you have not heard from us yet regarding signing your forgiveness application, you will in the next few weeks.

If you would like to begin your forgiveness application on your own, please reference our last post here, which will walk you through which form to use and tips on completing the application.

As a reminder, please make sure you have proof that PPP funds were used as payroll or other eligible costs.  Often times, this means writing yourself a check within 24 weeks of receiving the loan.  If your loan is audited, we will be required to send in bank statements to prove this transfer was made.  Failure to do so may jeopardize your eligibility for forgiveness.

When you are ready to apply for forgiveness, please send the application and supporting documentation to or drop it off with a Customer Support Representative at the Bank.



April 26, 2021 – The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is awarding funding through the Restaurant Revitalization Program to restaurants, bars, and other similar places of business that serve food or drink.  The purpose of this funding is to provide support to eligible entities that suffered revenue losses related to the COVID-19 pandemic.   Funds must be used for eligible uses (payroll, mortgage or rent payments, utilities, debt service, maintenance, etc.) no later than March 23rd, 2023.

Please note the Bank’s role in this program is to simply share the information and bring awareness to our valued customers.  If you choose to apply for this grant program, you will apply directly with SBA.  More information can be found at the link below.




Written by Andy Ludeking, Ag & Business Banker, VP
(Click below to listen to Andy’s message)


Andy LudekingApril 12, 2021 – Whether you’re in agriculture or not, we live in an ag community; it’s always good to have a feel for what’s going on within it. I wanted to share an agriculture update about what we’re seeing from our side of the desk.

2020 was a positive year for agriculture due to government payments and the rise in commodity prices in the 4th quarter. For the first time in several years, there is an opportunity for solid profits in 2021.

It’s important for farmers to take advantage as crop input costs will also rise moving forward if prices stay at these levels. As always, farmers need to pay attention to their break-even costs and manage production costs to ensure the best opportunity for profits in the years ahead. Farmers who locked in their input costs for the 2021 operating year early will benefit greatly as long as they followed a strong marketing plan and the weather cooperates for a solid crop in 2021. 2020 was one of those years where those that marketed ahead of time could not take advantage of the run-up in prices in the 4th quarter, but following a consistent marketing plan over the long haul still pays dividends. Understanding your break-even costs, doing your best to control the cost of production, and having a marketing plan equates to profits and success over the long haul.

Interest rates are continuing to stay relatively low. Short-term rates have remained flat, while long-term rates are starting to move upward. Rates are still very good, but as we’ve seen the treasury yields start to rise slightly, we expect rates to follow that same path.  Cash flow and net worth changes were positive in 2020 due to government payments and the rise in commodity prices. Farmers and bankers are optimistic moving forward into 2021.

What did farmers do with their gains in 2020? Did they extinguish debt on loans or bills? Did they make land or equipment purchases? Did they make real estate improvements? Did they improve their cash position to set themselves up for success in the tough times? It is evident that these government payments will not continue at the level we saw in 2020; therefore, this non-recurring income needs to be recognized by farmers. It’s important that farmers used this money in a way that benefits the operation long-term by improving cash flow or building their cash position versus buying capital items that require debt service for several years.

The dairy and livestock industry was up and down in 2020. Government payments kept them afloat; however, Covid-19 had a negative impact due to the economy being shut down for a period of time. Looking into 2021, experts in the field predict a strong demand for their products as the economy reopens.

Please reach out to any Ag & Business Banker at Decorah or Cresco Bank with questions or to discuss this information further. We look forward to helping your farm achieve its’ long-term goals.



April is financial literacy monthApril 9, 2021 – One of Decorah and Cresco Bank’s core values is to be a leader in our area’s financial education outreach. We believe that by helping improve community members’ financial lives, we can improve our communities’ economic well-being.

What are we doing to accomplish this?

Decorah & Cresco Bank is dedicated to sponsoring several financial literacy programs throughout many schools in our area. Between our two branches, we partner with Banzai Financial Literacy and CEMARK (How To Do Your Banking and Saving with Mandy & Randy). We provide FREE financial literacy courses to 13 area schools, where 24 teachers have signed up to teach these programs to their students. Wow! These programs range from Kindergarten through High School. Many students receive more than one course before graduating.

As a Banzai Financial Literacy partner, we also offer FREE online financial literacy courses and resources to anyone who wishes to learn how to make smart financial decisions. Test your knowledge by taking one or all three courses offered, read dozens of financial literacy articles, or participate in several virtual coach sessions. Visit our Banzai sponsored site to get started.

In addition to sponsoring financial literacy programs, we offer occasional seminars, presentations, and classroom tours and visits to the Bank. We also participate in local financial education outreach events when they become available.

April is financial literacy month, which means it’s an opportunity to educate yourself on this important subject. If you’re someone who wants to accomplish financial freedom, visit our Financial Education page on our website to learn about the many options we offer to help you achieve your financial goals.

If you are a teacher in our area and would like to get set up with one of our sponsored financial literacy programs, contact Laura Ode, our Financial Education Coordinator, at Marketing(at)

Laura OdeLaura Ode
Marketing & Financial Education Coordinator


March 31, 2021

We are happy to share that Congress has extended the PPP program to May 31st, 2021 to help provide further relief to small businesses.  There have been many updates to this program since March 2020 including:

Owners Draws:  If you are using Gross or Net Income to calculate Loan Amount, you must write out a check to cover the owner’s draw as this is the only way to verify you used loan proceeds on payroll.  Failure to write this check may affect your eligibility for forgiveness. 

Schedule C Filers:  If you are a sole proprietor, independent contractor, or self-employed individual, you are now eligible to use gross income (Form 1040 – Sch C – Line 7) in calculating your loan amount.  Be sure to fill in the application specifically for Schedule C Filers.  Your application will not be accepted if you do not use the correct application.  For further information for Schedule C Filers, please visit our webpage at:

Schedule F Filers:  If you are a Farmer or Rancher and file a Schedule F you are also eligible to use gross income (Form 1040 – Sch C – Line 9) in calculating your loan amount.  Schedule F filers will either use “First Draw Borrower Application Form” or “Second Draw Borrower Application Form” found on our website at:

Second Draw Eligibility:  If you have received a First Draw PPP Loan any time before March 25th, 2021, you may be eligible to apply for a Second Draw PPP Loan.  In order to qualify for a Second Draw PPP Loan you must be able to show a 25% reduction in Gross Sales in one quarter of 2020 compared to the same quarter in 2019.  You will be required to present signed financial statements or bank statements to document this reduction.

Forgiveness Applications:  You have eight to twenty four weeks to use PPP funds for eligible payroll costs.  If you are a sole proprietor, you must wait at least 11 weeks to receive full forgiveness.  At the end of your Covered Period, you will be required to submit an application for Forgiveness in order to have your loan forgiven.  For more information, please visit our website at:

Information:  For assistance on calculating loan amount for different types of borrowers, please reference either “Calculating PPP Loan Amount”, or the Excel file “PPP Loan Calculation Worksheet”.

To apply, please securely submit the required information to, using your business name in the subject line or drop-off documents at the Decorah Bank or Cresco Bank locations.  As always, we are here to help.  If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out.

Calculating PPP Loan Amount | pdf

PPP Loan Calculation Worksheet | xlsx