Banking On Community
Northwestern Bank has been bedrock of city for more than a century
Everyone has heard of community banks in the Chippewa Valley but what really makes a bank part of the community? For some answers, we reached out to Jamie Leibrandt, Market President at Northwestern Bank. The bank has been serving west central Wisconsin with its headquarters in Chippewa Falls for over 119 years.
What does being a community bank mean to you?
It means that we are a dependable, local resource that people can trust with their hard-earned money. To be a community bank also means that we help local people realize their dreams. The bank offers careers and opportunities for employees to be involved in the community. Banking decisions are made locally by people who know their clients and the community. The leadership team and board all have ties to the region and are actively engaged in building a stronger community.
How does Northwestern Bank encompass those ideas?
Our team is actively volunteering on community projects, youth activities, and participating in local events. Their families live in the area, they shop at the local stores and send their kids to school here. They have a vested interest in making our community stronger. Our senior management team supports activities they are passionate about and volunteer their leadership with multiple organizations.
To the people we serve this money is a tool to make their dreams happen and we need to protect it.
Market President at Northwestern Bank
How has Northwestern Bank given back to the Chippewa Falls community?
As a bank, we give to over 450 organizations annually. It takes so many people working together to make the Chippewa Falls area a great place to live and we are glad to help however we can. We give to community events that bring people together, organizations that help families struggling with basic needs, and groups that give area youth opportunities and support. This community has grown over the years and we are proud to support events like Oktoberfest, Music at the Riverfront, and the Farmer’s Appreciation Dinner. Members of our team volunteer with the Boys & Girls Club, youth sports, Junior Achievement, and many more organizations helping kids to develop their best selves. We understand that for a community to thrive sometimes people need some extra help and support from places like Agnes’ Table, Hope Village, and the Free Clinic. These organizations and so many more are at the heart of our community and are important to our team.
What does a community bank do to keep your money safe?
Community Banks exist to keep their local businesses and community members' money safe. We invest in the people and communities we know, not projects hundreds of miles away. We understand that the funds in our safekeeping are someone’s life savings, their downpayment for a home, grocery money, or their kid’s college fund. To the people we serve this money is a tool to make their dreams happen and we need to protect it. All our accounts are insured by the FDIC and our team works diligently to keep informed of the latest security measures. Our tellers are trained by professionals to recognize fraud and to help connect our customers with people who can help them through tough situations. The Bank President and leadership team are trained on how to back up the bank's funds and ensure security. The community banking difference is that, as a customer, you can reach out directly to our leadership team to find out how your funds are kept secure.
How does the community bank experience at Northwestern differ from larger-scale banks?
When you call our local branches, you always get a real person at the branch to help direct you to the services you need. We are here to help you and provide you with local dependability. People bank locally for the same reason they shop locally – they have a relationship with the bankers and tellers, and their money stays here and funds jobs here. Larger banks have their marketing, HR, IT, and bookkeeping functions centralized at headquarters hundreds of miles away. When you support a local, community bank you support the creation of these jobs locally.