A committed entrepreneur, Bob Dittrich began his banking career in 1972 when he and a colleague purchased the Klossner State Bank in Klossner, MN. After building a successful trucking business, Bob Dittrich Trucking, and owning several grain elevators and a commodities business, purchasing a rural bank was a logical progression.
In 1983, Bob and Ray Bentdahl, a fellow New Ulm High School classmate, purchased the Sleepy Eye State Bank. Remaining lifelong friends with Ray, Bob took full ownership of the bank in 1985 and renamed it Americana Community Bank. Bob’s banking career has been unusual, but his skill at assisting budding entrepreneurs and his down-to-earth approach have made him a favorite banker to countless customers. This year, Bob stepped down from his position on the Americana Community Bank Board of Directors, but his love of teaching and mentoring emerging business owners keeps him active in service to the bank and its business customers.
Frances R. Luhman
Fran began her career with Citizens State Bank of Waverly on August 14, 1972. She started as a teller and worked her way up to a lead teller position. She went through many changes during her career including doing everything manually and on ledgers until computers came along. Fran did an excellent job evolving and growing in her role at the bank. Fran loved working with customers- assisting them with their accounts and developing relationships with multiple generations of families. She was a highly regarded employee, and we were extremely fortunate to have her as a part of the Citizens State Bank of Waverly family for the 50 years she was with us.
After graduation from South Dakota State University in 1973, Chuck started his banking career as a Management Trainee for First Bank System (now US Bank) in Wahpeton, ND. While working for First Bank, he held positions in Wahpeton, Virginia, Willmar, and Grand Forks. In 1991, he joined Community First Bankshares as president of their Windom, MN office. During his 15 year tenure with Community First, he also served as president in Worthington and later as Western Division President. When Community First was sold to Bank of the West, he assisted with the transition as head of the Midwestern Division for one year until joining Frandsen Financial Corporation as Chief Administrative Officer in 2005. He was named CEO of Frandsen Financial in 2019, a position he currently holds. Chuck and his wife Peggy enjoy traveling and entertaining their four children and seven grandchildren at their lake home near Park Rapids. Chuck’s favorite phrase is, “If you have a job you love, you never work a day in your life”.
Mike started with Prinsburg State Bank, now PrinsBank, in June of 1972 as part of the bookkeeping department. There were a total of five employees. In 1977, Mike was promoted from a bank teller to President. With his leadership, the bank has grown through multiple credit cycles, regulatory changes, and the acquisition of an FDIC failed bank in 2010. PrinsBank now has two locations, Prinsburg and Champlin, with over 30 employees. Mike has been married over 50 years to his wife, Bev. They have three daughters, one son, and six grandchildren. Outside of the bank, Mike has served on the board at Central Minnesota Christian School and is an active member of Unity Christian Reformed Church in Prinsburg. Being a sports enthusiast, Mike has been head basketball coach at CMCS for several years, and as an outside hobby, enjoys time on the golf course.
Carol Wallenburg Nelson started working at the Exchange State Bank (now Security Savings Bank) of Hills on May 21, 1973. It is hard to convey how much banking has changed since 1973. When change was knocking on the bank’s door, Carol was willing to jump in and try new things. She has been a loyal employee of the bank and has had multiple roles in several locations. Some of those roles include Proof Operator, CSR, Loan Administration, New Accounts and Teller duties. Carol is active in the community and is a good ambassador for the bank. The management and staff of the bank sincerely appreciate everything she has done for the bank. Thank you, Carol, for your many years of service.
Arlo Sanvick began working in the financial industry in 1973 at Thorp Financial, then ITT Finance. In January of 1981 he was hired as the VP and main lender at Chisago State Bank, where he took care of numerous local businesses and individuals for many years. He survived one acquisition, but his desire to be at a bank similar in size to Chisago State Bank lead him to First State Bank of Wyoming in 2000. He retired from First State Bank of Wyoming in 2003 but remains active with the bank to this day as a member of their board of directors.
Betty Van Watermulen
Betty has been with United Community Bank for 51 years. She has been one of our best tellers since she started working here, on April 1st, 1972. Betty comes in every day with the same smile and can-do attitude. In 2018, the bank went through a core conversion and Betty was the first to learn and master it. She always jumps in and is the first to learn new technology and she embraces every change that has come her way. She means so much to this community and our bank. UCB has been changed, for the better, because Betty chose to work here and we are so happy and proud of her and everything she has done.