Bankers on the Move
Locally owned and operated Community Bank Owatonna and its Board of Directors are pleased to announce the promotion of Todd Cordes to Senior Vice President/Operations and Information Technology. Cordes is a lifelong Minnesota resident with nearly 25 years of banking experience, including the last two years at Community Bank Owatonna where he served as the Vice President/Operations and Information Technology.
Citizens Bank Minnesota is pleased to announce the promotion of Mark Denn to President/Chief Executive Officer. Denn joined Citizens, La Salle Branch, in 2000 as the Branch Manager. In addition to his banking career, Denn operates a corn/soybean farm near Madelia and serves on the Madelia Fire Department.
Nathaniel W. Dunn, President, F & M Bank, is pleased to announce that Jeff Lee has joined F & M Bank as a Vice President. Lee brings over 15 years of banking expertise with recognized success in business banking, most recently 12 years at US Bank. He will help F & M grow its presence in Anoka, Ramsey and Washington Counties. 
The Board of Directors of Lake City Federal Bank have selected Jim Mack to succeed existing President, Bruce Carlstrom. Bruce plans to step down on February 6, 2020. Jim has 37 years of banking experience starting with Eastwood Bank, Eyota & Rochester as VP – Branch Manager. Jim has worked for Independent Community Banks in communities surrounding Rochester including Stewartville, Pine Island, and Plainview.
Unity Bank, a local community bank with 15 locations across Minnesota and Wisconsin, is pleased to announce the hiring of Laura Bensons as their Human Resources Manager. Ms. Benson comes to Unity Bank with more than 10 years of experience working in the Human Resources field. Laura graduated from Rasmussen College in St. Cloud, MN with a BS in Business Management and AAS in Human Resources and Organizational Development. Laura currently lives in Becker, MN area and works primarily out of Unity Bank’s Genola office. 
The Board of Directors of First Resource Bank, one of the fastest growing banks in the State of Minnesota, is pleased to announce the next phase of a Strategic Growth and Planned Succession Program. Effective January 1, 2020, John Seidel will transition from CEO to Senior Credit Advisor/Director of Special Assets, and Timothy Siegle will be named CEO.  Siegle will work alongside Seidel through a transition period ending April 1, 2020.  After the transition, Seidel will remain a member of the Board of Directors, he will advise on credit risk selection, and he will oversee Special Assets.
WNB Financial is pleased to announce that Jenni Bernal has joined the Bank as Branch Retail Lead at its new office in Altoona, Wis. Bernal is responsible for the management and leadership of the WNB Retail Banking Team in Altoona. She brings over 20 years of bank management experience to WNB Financial, most recently with U.S. Bank. 
Unity Bank is pleased to announce that Mary Gritzmacher, Commercial Relationship Manager at Unity Bank since 2011, has been appointed by Governor Tim Walz to a second term as a member of the MN Department of Agriculture’s Rural Finance Authority. The goal of the board and program is to assist MN farmers with loan programs that help them with low interest financing on a variety of different programs from full loan restructure to value added expansion projects. 
National Bank of Commerce (NBC), continues its growth and expansion with the addition of a new associate, hiring Brian Kahlbaugh as a Commercial Banker. Before starting his banking career, he managed his family business in the Duluth and Superior area. This gives him a unique perspective on many of the challenges small businesses work through in our communities. Working out of NBC’s Superior - Main office, Brian will build relationships with both current and new commercial customers to provide solid banking solutions to help our local businesses and communities grow. 
The Bank of Elk River is proud to announce that LeRoy Lindenfelser, Chief Financial Officer (CFO), has been named 2019 CFO of the Year by the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal. This exclusive honor is given to only 20 individuals in Minnesota across private, public, government and non-profit organizations and is a significant and notable achievement in his career.

Lindenfelser started at The Bank of Elk River 25 years ago as a loan officer and worked his way up and through the organization and was promoted to CFO in 2008. During the Great Recession, Lindenfelser was influential in leading the bank to being the most profitable in the bank’s history since its inception in 1885. He is also responsible for the fiscal management of the Metro North Bancshares holding company, Employee Stock Ownership Program and investment portfolio. 
Bell Bank has named Michael LaSalle senior vice president/bank channel director for its equipment finance team. Officed at The Colonnade, 5500 Wayzata Boulevard in Minneapolis, LaSalle will serve as liaison with Bell’s correspondent bankers and the community banks they work with in 14 states. LaSalle has more than 30 years of experience in equipment finance, including extensive background in community bank leasing platforms, credit analysis and lease structures. He previously served as chief leasing officer for Bankers’ Bank, based in Madison, Wisconsin.
Tony Gudajtes, Choice Bank EVP & Ag Market President, was recently appointed by the USDA to serve on their Beginning Farmers and Ranchers Advisory Committee. In addition to his role at Choice Bank, Gudajtes will serve a two-year term with the USDA until September 17, 2021. During his appointment, Gudajtes will advise Sonny Perdue, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, on matters, policies, and programs impacting beginning farmers and ranchers. Gudajtes will also work with the committee to enhance opportunities for beginning farmers and ranchers, including access to land and capital, farmer and rancher recruitment and retention, relief from labor and taxation challenges, and more.
National Bank of Commerce (NBC), continues its growth and expansion with the addition of two new associates, hiring Blaze Zenner and John Conley as Commercial Bankers. 
Blaze Zenner has over thirty-two years of banking experience. Working out of NBC’s downtown Duluth branch, Blaze will originate and manage a commercial loan portfolio. Blaze states, “Banking is about trust, honesty and knowing your customer. When we listen to our customers and understand their business then we can truly partner with them.” He is currently serving on the ARC Northland Board of Directors and is the Financial Secretary for the Knights of Columbus Council #15761.
John Conley has more than twenty-three years of banking experience. Also working out of the Duluth branch, John will be responsible for collaborating with customers to find tailored solutions that are specific to their needs. John has been the Treasurer for the Superior Douglas County Chamber of Commerce for roughly nineteen years. He is also the Treasurer for RiverFront Community Development in West Duluth as well as the MN North Volleyball Club.
Cindy Theien and Cammy Hansen Accept New Positions at National Bank of Commerce
Cindy Theien has accepted the VP - Retail Banking Director position at National Bank of Commerce. She has been with the bank for eleven years and has over forty years of experience in the financial industry. Cindy will now be responsible for the overall management of the retail banking department and will be working out of our Downtown Duluth location. She is currently the Treasurer for the Town of Superior, Board Chair for Head of the Lakes United Way, co-founder and spokesperson for Nutrition on Weekends (NOW) in Douglas County, and a member of Superior Kiwanis. 
Cammy Hansen has accepted a new position at National Bank of Commerce and will now be VP - Mortgage Banking Director. She has been with the bank for eight years and in her new role will be responsible for overseeing mortgage loan production as well as managing the mortgage banking team. She is currently Board Chair for Safe Haven Shelter and Resource Center as well as a Board Member at LISC Local Advisory.

   Retirements


Lou Geistfeld, President and CEO of Citizens Bank Minnesota and former member of the MBA Board of Directors, retired on Tuesday, December 31, 2019 after forty-four years in the banking industry; thirty-eight of those with Citizens. Geistfeld began his career in 1975 as an Assistant Bank Examiner for the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and later became a Commissioned Bank Examiner. He joined Citizens in 1981 as an Assistant Vice President and was promoted to President/CEO in 1987. After his retirement from Citizens, he will remain an active member of the Board of Directors.
After twenty-seven years, Kevin Yager, Senior Vice President of Citizens Bank Minnesota, Lafayette Branch, retired on Tuesday, December 31, 2019. Yager joined Citizens, Lafayette Branch, in December 1992 as a Vice President, Agricultural Lender. He was a graduate of the Graduate School of Banking at the University of Colorado and was most recently promoted to Senior Vice President in January of 2019. Kevin is retiring with 44 years of Agricultural Lending experience including Crop Insurance Sales. Citizens would like to thank Kevin for his dedicated service throughout the years. Kevin and his wife, Cheri, will continue to reside in New Ulm after his retirement.

   In Memory of...


Fred "Skip", Laing II, Age 68, sadly passed away suddenly at his home in Elk River November 27. Skip was born on August 26 in Coronado, California, attended high school in Hopkins, Minnesota, and graduated from Moorhead State College. His professional career was spent leading a non-profit electronic payments association (UMACHA), as President and CEO for 35 years before retiring on September 1 of last year. Fred was the life of the party and made sure that when you came to UMACHA you felt welcome, appreciated and like a guest in his home. He touched the lives of the thousands who knew him, including financial institution leaders across the country.
Rodger Bense sadly passed away on November 13, 2019, at the age of 82. Rodger spent 48 years in the banking industry starting at First National Bank as a teller. In 1979 he left First National to take a presidency at the State Bank of Long Lake. Rodger always wanted to return to his hometown and in 1986 founded Lake Country State Bank. Rodger was a very active member and huge supporter of the MBA including service on the Government Relations Council. He retired from banking in 2007. Fishing was a hobby and passion for Rodger. He could be found on local lakes, summer and winter. We send our sincere condolences to his family and friends.  

  Board Appointments


 Bridgewater Bancshares, Inc., the holding company of Bridgewater Bank, announced the appointment of Lisa M. Brezonik to its Board of Directors. Ms. Brezonik currently serves as President of Salo, LLC, a leading staffing and consulting firm for finance, accounting and human resources. As an accomplished leader with over 25 years of experience, Lisa brings expertise in talent acquisition, human resources and leadership development to Bridgewater.
 Pine Country Bank has announced the appointment of Rosi Przybilla to serve on the bank’s Board of Directors. Przybilla is Owner and Agent of Marshik Insurance Agency in Little Falls, an independent insurance agency providing coverage for families, homes and businesses. She got her start in the insurance industry in 1980 as a secretary and has worked at Marshik Insurance Agency for over 30 years, purchasing the business in 2013.
 


We want to hear about your Bankers on the Move! If you have an announcement you would like to include, please send it to Carla Bush at carlab@minnbankers.com.