Southeastern Wisconsin financial service industry news
Tuesday, October 28, 2014
Savvy Panda acquired by Pennsylvania inbound marketing firm
October 28, 2014 10:03 AM
Elm Grove-based Savvy Panda, an inbound marketing and web design agency, has been acquired by Warrington, Pa.-based Square 2 Marketing.

The acquisition was made to offer Square 2’s clients more advanced web developments, and serves as a complement to its existing inbound marketing and inbound sales processes.

Savvy Panda has eight employees in Elm Grove and in Carmel, Ind. Square 2 has 45 employees. Square 2 does not plan to make any staffing changes, according to Mike Lieberman, president of Square 2.

Gabe Wahhab, founder and president of Savvy Panda, will take a new role as director of interactive services.

The Savvy Panda office in Elm Grove will become a branch of Square 2.

“The current clients will continue to receive the same excellent service they had with Savvy Panda and our hope is that we can potentially offer them a wider suite of inbound marketing services that helps them get leads and close more sales,” Lieberman said.

“This merger elevates our capabilities and promises our clients world-class websites, as well as inbound marketing expertise from HubSpot’s first and only Diamond Level Agency Partner,” Wahhab said. “It is an entirely new and exciting chapter for our team and we cannot wait for our current clients to experience the new, broader set of services available from our team here in Milwaukee and in Indianapolis.”

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First Business Bank opens Kenosha office
October 28, 2014 10:06 AM
First Business Bank—Milwaukee has opened a new office in Kenosha, at 6633 Green Bay Road, Suite 2.

The office will follow the bank’s cashless model, through which clients complete transactions electronically with secure online baking, remote deposit and branch automation.

First Business Bank offers business banking, specialty finance and private wealth management tailored to the manufacturing, wholesale, distribution, professional services and commercial real estate industries. Its family of companies, under Madison-based First Business Financial Services Inc., has $1.3 billion in assets.

The Kenosha office will help First Business Bank-Milwaukee to leverage the lending power and ancillary services of the whole company.

Wes Ricchio will serve as president of the Kenosha office. He has 21 years of commercial lending experience, most recently as managing director and group manager of Wisconsin Commercial Lending for Talmer Bank and Trust. Robert Pieroni, also formerly of Talmer, will serve as vice president and business development officer, and Rebecca Rosenow will serve as client relationship specialist at the Kenosha office.

"We can lend significantly more per client than a typical startup bank, as well as offer the same services as much larger, national banks,” Ricchio said. “It’s much more efficient, and that efficiency gets passed along to the client in terms of price and the amount of attention we can provide to them.”

"We have identified small to medium-sized privately held companies as our target market so we can provide the service they deserve rather than trying to be everything to everybody," Ricchio said. "The very small and startup businesses, or those with a lot of cash transactions, are typically not a good fit for us as their product and service needs are much different than what we are structured to provide."

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First Bank Financial Centre launches Holi-Days of Giving program
October 28, 2014 10:08 AM
Oconomowoc-based First Bank Financial Centre has launched a Holi-Days of Giving program to give to charity during December.

The community bank will distribute $500 checks to 12 nonprofits and gifts of up to $500 in value to 12 families or individuals.

First Bank encourages the community to nominate local charities and individuals who could benefit from the program. Nominations will be accepted at a bank branch or at until Nov. 14.

Each of the bank’s 12 area branches will distribute one of the nonprofit donations and one of the gifts. The bank has locations in Brookfield, Germantown, Grafton, Hartford, Hartland, Menomonee Falls, Mequon, Oconomowoc and West Bend.

“We have a long history of giving back and supporting the communities we serve. It’s a commitment that’s woven into our culture and spirit,” said Mark Mohr, president and CEO of First Bank Financial Centre. “We hope our gifts will be used in all sorts of ways to bring joy. We’d love to fly grandma home for the holidays, fund care packages for military troops overseas or give a local charity a boost.”

First Bank donated almost $250,000 to local organizations in 2013, and its employees served more than 300 groups and nonprofits by volunteering. The company expects similar charity results in 2014.

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Community Bank & Trust to merge with Wisconsin Bank & Trust
October 28, 2014 10:20 AM
Dubuque, Iowa-based Heartland Financial USA Inc. has agreed to acquire Community Banc-Corp of Sheboygan Inc., the parent company of Sheboygan-based Community Bank & Trust, for about $52 million or 155 percent of the tangible equity of Community Banc-Corp at closing.

Heartland also owns Madison-based Wisconsin Bank & Trust, which will be merged with Community Bank & Trust. Community Banc-Corp shares will be converted into Heartland common stock.

Community Bank & Trust has assets of about $525 million, loans of $410 million and deposits of $429 million as of Sept. 30. It has a main office and three branches in Sheboygan, as well as branches in Sheboygan Falls, Plymouth, Elkhart Lake, Chilton, Glendale and Greenfield.

"Our board views this merger as an excellent move for the customers of Community Bank & Trust,” said Anthony Jovanovich, chairman and chief executive officer of Community Banc-Corp. “As we considered our strategic direction, including the importance of identifying a potential quality merger partner, Wisconsin Bank & Trust, backed by the deep resources of Heartland, stood out as an excellent fit. We are very pleased to partner with a strong company that operates under a proven business model and is well-known as a forward-thinking organization.”

“We are excited to expand the Heartland community banking business model further into Wisconsin,” said Kevin Tenpas, president and CEO of Wisconsin Bank & Trust. “We are impressed with the quality of Community Bank & Trust’s markets and the opportunity to serve more of the attractive Sheboygan area. We are also pleased to add a talented team of experienced commercial and personal banking professionals with an excellent knowledge of the communities and the clients they serve.”

According to Heartland, the acquisition is expected to close in the first quarter of 2015 and opens the Milwaukee area to future expansion.

Following the transaction, Heartland will have $6.4 billion in assets and 87 branches in 10 states. Wisconsin Bank & Trust will have assets of more than $1.1 billion, and 19 branches in Wisconsin.

“We are excited about the prospect of expanding further in Wisconsin,” said Lynn Fuller, president and CEO of Heartland. “Community Bank & Trust is an excellent fit for our community banking business model, and its locations match our desire to ‘fill-in’ attractive areas in or close to our existing geographies. Community Bank & Trust is a profitable and financially sound bank that presents an excellent opportunity to build on its solid market share with business and retail customers.”

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Generac acquires Pramac America assets
October 28, 2014 10:22 AM
Waukesha-based Generac Power Systems has acquired some assets of Kearney, Neb.-based Pramac America LLC, from Siena, Italy-based Pramac Industries Inc.

The transaction price was not disclosed.

Pramac America manufactures and distributes portable generators, water pumps and other related products under the Pramac, Powermate, DeWalt and Porter Cable brands under a licensing agreement with the U.S., Canada and Mexico.

Generac purchased the Powermate brand, working capital and equipment from Pramac. It will also assume the licensing agreement for the DeWalt and Porter Cable brands. The entity will be renamed Powermate America LLC.

Pramac previously announced it will close its Kearney facility. That closure will still happen, Generac said, but it will retain the Marietta, Ga. location and operate the business from there.

Generac acquired the assets to expand its portable engine powered tools offerings.

“It will provide even greater distribution opportunities for both companies and allow Generac to leverage our combined scale and strength to create value for our customers in sourcing, distribution, manufacturing and product design,” a Generac spokesman said.

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Regional banks report flat quarterly results
October 28, 2014 10:26 AM
Three regional banks with a strong Milwaukee market presence have reported flat or slightly lower net income in their third quarter earnings reports.

Pittsburgh-based PNC Financial Services Group Inc., parent company of PNC Bank, reported third quarter net income of $1 billion, or $1.79 per share, compared to $1 billion, or $1.77 per share, in the third quarter of 2013.

“In the third quarter, PNC continued to deliver solid performance in a challenging revenue environment by executing on our strategic priorities,” said William Demchak, chairman, president and chief executive officer. “We added customers, grew deposits, and increased fee income and capital. We also effectively managed expenses even as we made targeted investments in our businesses and technology. Looking ahead, balance sheet discipline should continue to differentiate PNC and help to drive long-term shareholder value.”

Minneapolis-based U.S. Bancorp, parent company of U.S. Bank, reported third quarter net income of $1.5 billion, or 78 cents per share, compared to $1.5 billion, or 76 cents per share, in the same period last year.

“U.S. Bank delivered another solid performance in the third quarter with $1.5 billion of net income, or 78 cents per diluted common share,” said Richard Davis, chairman, president and chief executive officer. “Our ability to provide customers and clients with a diverse array of banking products and services while addressing their distinct financial objectives, in any economic environment, allows us to continue generating an industry-leading financial performance. Our return on average common equity, return on average assets, and efficiency ratio metrics remain among the strongest in the industry. Our consistently solid financial performance is a result of our adhering closely to the core fundamentals of controlling expenses, managing capital prudently, selectively investing in initiatives that generate steady long-term growth, and expanding existing customer relationships. That was certainly the case in the third quarter as our disciplined approach returned positive operating leverage and the diversification of our business profile allowed us to maintain our momentum as the economy slowly rebounds.”

And Chicago-based Northern Trust Corp. reported third quarter net income of $204.5 million, or 84 cents per share, down slightly from $206.5 million, or 84 cents per share, in the third quarter of 2013.

“Our financial performance in the third quarter of 2014 reflects continued growth in our business serving personal and institutional clients,” said Frederick Waddell, chairman and CEO. “Trust, investment and other servicing fees, which represent two-thirds of our revenue, increased 11 percent compared to last year. New business and higher equity markets contributed to strong growth in assets under custody and under management, which increased 13 percent and 9 percent, respectively. Our pre-tax profit margin improved to 28.2 percent in the quarter and our return on equity was 10.1 percent. This performance reflects ongoing efforts focused on growing our client franchise while achieving sustainable improvements in productivity.”

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Waterstone Financial reports higher earnings
October 28, 2014 10:17 AM
Wauwatosa-based Waterstone Financial Inc. reported third quarter net income of $4.8 million, or 14 cents per share, up from $3.2 million, or 9 cents per share, in the third quarter of 2013.

Total assets at the WaterStone Bank parent company were $1.8 billion, up from $1.6 billion in the same period a year ago.

The company said the increase was due to better performance from the community and mortgage banking segments. Community banking reported net income of $3.4 million, up from $2.5 million in the third quarter of 2013. Mortgage banking net income was $1.2 million, up from $639,000 in the same period a year ago.

"The community banking and mortgage banking segments performed well during the quarter with revenue and net income up in both segments on a linked quarter and year-over-year basis, reflecting our balance sheet growth, improving credit quality, and focus on operating efficiency," said Doug Gordon, president and chief executive officer of Waterstone Financial.

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First Business Financial reports flat Q3
October 28, 2014 10:13 AM
Madison-based First Business Financial Services Inc., parent company of First Business Bank-Milwaukee, reported third quarter net income of $3.6 million, or 89 cents per share, flat from $3.6 million, or 91 cents per share, in the third quarter of 2013.

Assets totaled $1.4 billion, up from $1.3 billion in the same period a year ago.

The third quarter included $104,000 in non-recurring expenses related to First Business Financial’s acquisition of Aslin Group. The acquisition is expected to close in the fourth quarter.

"Strong third quarter results demonstrate the strength of First Business' consistent approach to growth; punctuated by double-digit growth in trust and investment services fee income and service charges on deposits, both key strategic initiatives," said Corey Chambas, president and chief executive officer of First Business. "We are strategic, we invest in talent and we focus on relationships, every day. As a result, the third quarter of 2014 marks our tenth consecutive quarter of record loan balances, delivering double-digit linked-quarter annualized loan growth even as we continue to maintain rigorous lending standards and experience competitive pressures. By executing on what we believe to be the Midwest's premier business banking model, we've produced a track record of success that continues to attract talent to our franchise. We are committed to increasing earnings power and shareholder value."

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New hires and promotions
October 28, 2014 10:10 AM

Richard Behrendt, J.D., has been named director of estate planning services at Elm Grove-based Annex Wealth Management. Behrendt previously served as senior vice president and director of estate planning at Robert W. Baird & Co. Inc., where he served as an estate planning resource for more than 700 Baird financial advisors nationwide. He also spent 12 years as an estate tax attorney at the Internal Revenue Service, auditing estates of up to $50 million in net worth. Behrendt holds a bachelor’s from Hunter College of New York City and a law degree from Brooklyn Law School.

GSF Mortgage Corp. has hired Bruce Olster as director of capital market and corporate development. A mortgage industry veteran, Olster most recently served as senior vice president for multifamily warehouse lending at Banco Popular North America in Rosemont, Ill. He holds a bachelor’s in economics from the University of Pennsylvania and completed an advanced management program at Harvard Business School. In his new role, Olster will help expand Brookfield-based GSF’s capital market presence and increase its origination and retail channel footprint.

BMO Harris Bank has hired Matt Hilton as premier services market manager for Wisconsin’s Southeast Region. Hilton will partner with premier services market manager Anthony Hudson to lead the region’s premier team. He has more than 18 years of experience in the financial industry, most recently as a district manager for Wells Fargo Bank in Chicago. In his new role, Hilton will oversee a team of seven and help them develop strong community partnerships in the area, while enhancing the bank’s local presence.

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Molly Dill This exclusive news bulletin is compiled by BizTimes Milwaukee reporter Molly Dill. This bulletin is published every Tuesday morning. Send financial services industry news and tips to or call her at (414) 336-7144.

Additional Resources

» Wisconsin Association of Accountants
» Wisconsin Institute of Certified Public Accountants
» Wisconsin Association for Financial Professionals

Financial Institutions

» Wisconsin Bankers Association
» The Wisconsin Credit Union League
» Community Bankers of Wisconsin
» Wisconsin Mortgage Bankers Association

Financial Planning

» Financial Planning Association of Southern Wisconsin
» National Association of Personal Financial Advisors


» Professional Insurance Agents of Wisconsin
» Wisconsin Association of Mutual Insurance Companies

Mergers & Acquisitions

» Midwest Business Brokers and Intermediaries
» Association for Corporate Growth - Wisconsin
» Turnaround Management Association - Chicago/Midwest

Other Resources

» Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions
» Wisconsin Government Finance Officers Association

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