News Blog

April 24, 2019 – Important Update – We received word from Federal Home Loan Bank of Des Moines that grant fund applications came in so quickly that grant money is already exhausted. Grant funding was only available to a handful of selected banks, Decorah Bank and Cresco Bank was fortunate to be chosen. Our home mortgage team was able to help some area individuals with grant funding to help offset their homebuying expenses. Please contact our home mortgage team if you want to learn about other financing options or if you want us to contact you when our Bank is the recipient of grant funds in the future.

April 23, 2019 – Decorah & Cresco – A new $7,500 homebuyer grant is now available for qualifying homebuyers at Decorah Bank & Trust and Cresco Bank & Trust.Homeownership within reach

Through a grant partnership with the Federal Home Loan Bank of Des Moines, Decorah Bank & Trust and Cresco Bank & Trust is offering funds to assist homebuyers whose annual incomes are at or below 80 percent of the area median income.

“We are excited that our Bank was chosen to bring this program to homebuyers in Winneshiek, Howard, and surrounding counties,” commented home mortgage banker Laura Schmauss. “The grant funds provide additional resources to area low-income homebuyers to help them purchase a home that may have otherwise been out of reach.”

Mike Huinker, home mortgage banker, added “For some people, a down payment is a barrier that can delay or prohibit the dream of homeownership. This $7,500 grant will assist in breaking down that barrier and help convert renters into homeowners. If you are in the market to buy a home, yet concerned about affordability, contact our home mortgage team. You will learn about grant qualification requirements and a homebuyer education class.”

Homebuyer grant program guidelines are available by contacting the home mortgage team at either Bank location. Call 563-382-0091 or 563-547-2244 for details on how to take advantage of this valuable program.

Equal Housing Lender

Jordan RueApril 10, 2019 – Cresco – Jordan Rue of Cresco Bank & Trust has successfully completed the Iowa Bankers Association Consumer Credit School recently. The school is an intense program sponsored by the Iowa Bankers Association (IBA). The purpose of the IBA Consumer Credit School is to prepare consumer credit personnel who want to broaden their consumer credit knowledge as consumer credit bankers. This is accomplished by developing a better understanding of the consumer credit function, deepening the comprehension of the managerial aspects of consumer credit operations and developing and refining skills necessary to meet the credit needs of their customers.

Jordan joined Decorah Bank & Trust in March of 2016 where she began her banking career at the Hospitality Desk, and then became a Teller in the summer of 2016. In July of 2017 she was excited about advancing her career to work as a Personal Banker at Cresco Bank & Trust. Her major responsibilities as a Personal Banker involve meeting with customers and discussing their financial needs. When asked what she likes most about her career as a Personal Banker, Jordan states, “I love that every day is different! It really makes me happy when I can help a customer and see their lives change because of a new opportunity they wouldn’t have had without banking at Cresco Bank.” Jordan studied Hospitality Management at Kirkwood Community College and she enjoys watching movies with her husband and their family dog, Bubba.

If you need a personal loan, see Jordan.

March 21, 2019 – Decorah – It really is all about the customers. Even those with four legs. The question, “Why do you do what you do?”, was recently asked of our Teller Team. They couldn’t wait to answer. Here is what a few of our Tellers had to say. Check out “Our Story” to read more about why we do what we do.

LoriLori’s Why:
Employed 6 months

As a teller, I feel privileged to be let into some parts of peoples’ lives when they come to me.  Many times we don’t just exchange money, but also stories, jokes, tips, experiences or even emotions resulting in tears or fits of laughter.

Here are some reasons why I love what I do in the six short months I’ve been here:

I’ve learned how to get better TV reception, where to get the best pizza, how to find the greatest deal online or in town, where to vacation and how to vacation. I’ve been enthusiastically told about the greatest coffee drink or the most amazing exercise class I need to try.

I’m always on top of weather reports when I’m at the teller line.  After my day is done, I feel like I could teach the meteorologist a few things about tomorrow’s forecast.

These are just a few of the fun little tidbits I get on any given day. I love coming to work and helping people.

Nancy’s Why:
Employed 47 years

The teller area has been my home for many years. It’s a great feeling to see our regular customers every day and getting to know new customers. Our customers seem to enjoy a familiar face and will often ask about us when we aren’t here. Isn’t that sweet? We are a part of their lives, and it’s a privilege and an honor to be trusted with their financial information, and often, friendship. I have always believed that being a bank teller is the best department in the Bank and has proven to be an excellent career for me.

KelleyKelley’s Why:
3 years

We have some of the sweetest customers! My favorite story is when a young customer showed her generosity, kindness, and compassion for others when the Bank was doing a fundraiser for area Food Pantries.

Last fall, I would often get asked about Templeton the whiskey barrel piggy bank. On this particular occasion, I had just finished counting cash back for a woman who had cashed her paycheck when she asked, “What does the pig do?”

After explaining the fundraiser, she walked over to Templeton and put all of her cash and change in from her entire paycheck and walked away with a big smile on her face. This still moves me. It is nice to know we live in such a great and giving community.

TriciaTricia’s Why:
10 years

Six months after I began working at the Bank, people would often approach me while running errands or attending events and ask why I look so familiar. Due to confidentiality, I couldn’t tell them that I saw them at the Bank. During those times I would smile and make comments about small-town familiarity.

Fast forward five years, now customers could often place me as a teller of Decorah Bank. We would often have such a nice time getting to know one another that some would ask about my family. Getting to know customers is one of my favorite things.

Fast forward five more years so ten years total, my customers occasionally see me with family out and about and will comment on how the children are growing up so fast. This is exciting to me; I like having the web of caring people who I’ve gotten to know.

Taking good care of customers doesn’t end at 5 o’clock. I enjoy being involved in the community and being a good role model for the next generation.

JaniceJanice’s Why:
20 years

The customers and their appreciation bring me to work every day. It’s that feeling of being appreciated after I help them when their debit card doesn’t work at our ATM; it makes their day. When someone had shoulder surgery and couldn’t get their deposit in the drawer at the Branch, I stepped outside to get it from them and then did the same with their receipt. Or, on a Friday night past closing time when there is still a line of vehicles; a customer is so glad to get his check deposited before we close.  Or it could be the time a dad was going to the hospital to pick up his wife and new baby, forgot his wallet and checkbook at home and needed to buy a car seat.  Wow, talk about being appreciated! There are so many little things that we do, and we don’t even realize how we are making a difference in someone else’s day. This is why I love to do what I do.

KalaKala’s Why:
6 years

Tellers are the frontline that represents the Bank to our customers. We see many customers daily. We get to have GREAT conversations with new and existing customers! These are the people who make our careers rewarding.


JulieJulie’s Why:
13 years

I’ve been sharing the good times with customers for over 13 years. It’s rewarding to know some customers so well that you not only know their name but also how they like their transactions done. They trust the Bank and myself to do everything we can to help them with their financial lives and dreams.

I enjoy keeping up with the lives of families; especially children from the day they were born and watching them grow. I especially love it when customers bring in their dogs for a treat. There are many reasons why I love what I do.

Coloring contest winnersDecember 20, 2018 – Decorah – Congratulations to the winners of the Christmas coloring contest! Winners of the coloring contest are as follows; back row (l-r): McCoy Bonnet, Chloe Albert, Bristol Parker, and Kaci Wangsness. Front row (l-r): Sawyer Gilbertson, Ada Lyon, Harper Scott, Kyra O’Hara, and Lucy Harman. Not pictured: Bonham Atkins. Thanks to all of the children that participated. You really know how to make our lives more colorful! Merry Christmas!

Shopping bag Shop LocalDecember 18, 2018 – Decorah & Cresco – This round of our latest Debit Card Shop Local promotion has come to an end. Thank you to all of you using your debit card and shopping and dining locally! Congratulations to our twenty shop local winners who have each received $250 in cash for using their debit cards in Howard & Winneshiek Counties.

Shop Local Winners of $250

Week One: Megan B. of Decorah; Briana B. of Decorah; Anthony C. of Decorah; and Joseph L. of Cresco

Week Two: Ray B. of Lime Springs; Janet H. of Decorah; Susan H. of Decorah; and Kelly A. of Decorah

Week Three: Greg M. of Decorah; Kristin T. of Decorah; Lester B. of Decorah; and Mindy L. of Cresco

Week Four: Grant T. of Cresco; Elliott J. of Decorah; Boyd W. of Decorah; and Jay T. of Decorah

Week Five: Nikki B. of Decorah; William S. of Waukon; Mary S. of Decorah; and Jeromy S. of Cresco

December 18, 2018 – Decorah & Cresco – Did someone say cookies?! We admit it. Baked cookies and hot cinnamon apple cider are two of our favorite things to share on special occasions. Our employee-owners at our Decorah and Cresco locations are serving up these goodies during our week-long open house celebration during business hours through Friday, December 21, 2018. We would love to see you. Take a little time to enjoy – our treat! Merry Christmas!

Lydia and Erica holding plate of cookies

November 26, 2018 – Decorah – Following tradition, Decorah Bank’s Christmas Coloring Contest is now underway. Parents, click on the pdf link below to download and print a coloring form or stop by either of our locations and pick up a coloring registration for your kids. Return by 4:00 pm on Monday, December 17th. Ages 10 and under. Happy Coloring!

Decorah Bank Christmas Coloring registration [pdf 1 MB]

Stocking Winneshiek County food pantriesFeed the Pig. Feed the Community.

November 20, 2018 – Decorah – This is an example of community generosity at its best. On October 1, Decorah Bank & Trust, in partnership with Lynch Family Foundation, announced a pledge challenge to help stock the Winneshiek County Food Pantries. The Bank would match the community’s donations up to $2,500, and Lynch Family Foundation would match up to $2,500 in pork. The Bank, at a recent fundraising event, purchased a giant piggy bank crafted from a used Templeton Rye whiskey barrel. This fun new addition to the lobby at the bank is now known as “Templeton.” We thought it would be fun to run a “feed the piggy” campaign using our new friend Templeton.

 Hunger and food insecurity is a serious concern.Food pantry photo

The first few weeks that Templeton was accepting gifts, a few small and wonderful financial contributions were dropped in him. We were happy to see that people noticed the opportunity to help others during this season of giving.

Watching the magic unfold

Later in the campaign, one contributor stood out: Our teller noticed that a young woman, in her twenties, dropped all of the proceeds from her entire paycheck in the piggy bank. What a gift! It was great to see community members come together to accept the pledge challenge – customers and community members reached the $2,500 goal by early November! In total, customers, community, and Decorah Bank contributed $6006.12 in monetary donations. The Bank contributed $2,500 and customers and community members contributed $3,506.12. We are overwhelmed by the generosity of many people who helped stock Winneshiek County food pantries for the upcoming holidays to provide nourishment for community members.

As for Templeton? The giant piggy bank is taking a break in the “back 40.” Perhaps he will be involved in more wonderful projects in the future.

Decorah & Cresco – November 1, 2018 – For its second year, family and employee-owned Decorah Bank & Trust Company is named among the topmost extraordinary banks in the United States by The Institute for Extraordinary Banking™. Decorah Bank & Trust and its affiliate, Cresco Bank & Trust Co., was recently recognized with the Institute’s Banky™ Award for its commitment to excellence in banking and its community through customer service, philanthropy, innovation, bank culture, and financial literacy education.

The Bank also won the Outstanding Workplace Culture Award that recognizes employee engagement in its mission, vision, and values.

Decorah Bank president Ben Grimstad states, “Management guru Peter Drucker famously said that culture eats strategy for breakfast. No matter what business strategy you try to implement with your team, its success will depend on the people implementing the plan. We’ve learned that if people driving the strategy are not engaged, do not see their purpose, or do not feel valued; then we stand little chance of implementing the plan.

Decorah Bank president Ben Grimstad shares workplace culture success story at The Institute for Extraordinary Banking™

A team effort. “We consistently offer personal and professional development opportunities for our staff. Earlier this year the Bank held an Employee-Owner Appreciation Day as a way to say thanks. The employee-owner team was treated to breakfast, a chair massage, and coaching time with one of two local “Dream Managers” or a consultation with a local nutritionist.” The Dream Managers now visit quarterly for continued private coaching sessions. Grimstad adds, “If we help our employees identify and work toward their dreams, I think they will be better at helping our customers with their dreams.” The Bank also recently held an Effective Parenting Class for employees that are parents or grandparents to help them at home. “We recognize that professional and personal development produces a more knowledgeable team and higher engagement with each other, our customers, and community.”

Like a Grammy, an Emmy or a Tony, a “Banky” is awarded for a bank’s outstanding work in its industry.

The Bank is also recipient of The Des Moines Register’s 2018 Top Workplaces Award. Why it’s relevant to you.