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SFB Awards Scholarships to High School Graduates

Thursday, May 28

Paul Rudersdorf, president and CEO of Security Financial Bank (SFB), is pleased to announce that nine area recent high school graduates each have been awarded a $500 scholarship to be used to further their education.

Recipients include: 

  • Jenna Ewer, a graduate of Ladysmith High School, will major in elementary education at Winona State University. 
  • Megan Gillett, a graduate of Fall Creek High School, will major in business at the University of St. Thomas. 
  • Rylie Jarr, a graduate of Bloomer High School, will major in business at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. 
  • Jalen Kitchner, a graduate of Durand High School, plans to major in marketing/business at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. 
  • Julia Paschke, a graduate of River Falls High School, will be majoring in international business/finance at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. 
  • Mason Smetana, a graduate of Bloomer High School, plans to study business management at Chippewa Valley Technical College. 
  • Cole Stensen, a graduate of Augusta High School, will major in accounting at Western Technical College. 
  • Lucas Winkler, a graduate of Durand High School, will study business management at Chippewa Valley Technical College. 
  • Kathleen Zimmer, a graduate of Flambeau High School, plans to study agricultural business at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. 

Each year, SFB awards up to two $500 scholarships in each of its markets to graduating high school seniors. Recipients are chosen based on involvement in school, youth organizations and community events with particular preference given to students pursuing a career in finance, accounting or business administration.

SFB Lobbies Will Reopen June 1

Friday, May 22

All SFB lobbies will reopen beginning Monday, June 1. In preparation, we have followed the guidance and direction of our local health departments in effort to best protect the health and safety of both our clients and employees.

With that in mind, when you visit you will notice a few changes including:

Shields - We have installed plexiglass guards in all of our teller windows. Guards also are available when meeting with other bank personnel.

Social Distancing - Signage has been installed as a reminder to help keep at least six feet of distance. We appreciate your cooperation in helping maintain social distancing.

Masks - Clients are welcome to wear a mask in our lobby; however, you may be asked to temporarily remove it to identify yourself.

Limited Entrances - Only one entrance will be open at each location.

Temporary Closure of Restrooms and Water Fountains - To help prevent the potential spread of COVID-19, restrooms and water fountains will be closed to non-employees.

Cleaning - We have increased our frequency of our cleaning and have implemented measures to disinfect areas throughout the day.

We will review these procedures on a regular basis and adjust them accordingly.

SFSC to Acquire Jackson County Bank

Monday, May 18

Security Financial Services Corporation (SFSC), the parent company of Security Financial Bank (SFB), and Wisconsin Bank Services, Inc., the parent company of Jackson County Bank, announced that SFSC intends to acquire Jackson County Bank. The joint announcement was issued by Paul Rudersdorf, president and chief executive officer of both SFSC and SFB, and John Drace, president of Wisconsin Bank Services and Jackson County Bank.

The acquisition has been approved by the Boards of Directors of each company and each bank. The transaction is subject to the customary closing conditions, including approval by the shareholders of Wisconsin Bank Services and the required regulatory approvals. It is anticipated that the transaction will close late in the third quarter of 2020.  

"Our respective Boards and Executive Management Teams share a common vision of this opportunity," Rudersdorf said. "We believe this acquisition will make both banks stronger. It will allow us to continue our superior standard of service and commitment to our communities while providing our clients with an expanded product suite and increased lending power in a larger geographic footprint." 

Drace agreed that this was a positive opportunity for both financial institutions. 

"This will combine two community banks in a manner that is in the best long-term interests of the customers, communities and employees of both banks," Drace added. "Customers of each bank should enjoy expanded and enhanced services and products and the benefits of a larger branch network." 

As a result of the acquisition, Jackson County Bank will operate as Security Financial Bank. The combined assets of the merged entity will be about $700 million.

Established in 1934, SFB is a locally-owned community bank with offices in Bloomer, Durand, Eau Claire, Ladysmith and River Falls. Jackson County Bank, which was founded more than 140 years ago, has locations in Black River Falls, Alma Center, Hixton, Taylor and Merrillan.

SFB Donates $20,000 to Local Food Pantries through Grant Program

Friday, May 15

Area food pantries will be able to buy more food for those in need in five area communities thanks to a donation from Security Financial Bank (SFB). Through a partnership with the Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago, SFB recently donated a total of $20,000 to local food pantries.

"We are committed to supporting our customers and communities, now more than ever. Through our partnership with the Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago, we are happy to help support area food pantries as they help feed so many in need during this uncertain time," said Paul Rudersdorf, SFB president & CEO.

The Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago is offering a COVID-19 Relief Program consisting of zero-rate advances and grants to support all of its member institutions and the communities they serve in Illinois and Wisconsin directly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Through this program, SFB received a $20,000 grant, of which they donated $4,000 to food pantries in each of their five markets including Durand, Bloomer, Eau Claire, Ladysmith and River Falls.


Food pantries receiving funds included:

  • Bloomer - Bloomer/New Auburn Area Food Pantry
  • Durand - Durand Area Food Pantry
  • Eau Claire - Feed My People
  • Ladysmith - Hope Lutheran Food Pantry
  • River Falls - River Falls Community Food Pantry  

At the beginning of the year, SFB unveiled a year-long campaign entitled "Helping to Feed Our Communities" in an effort to try to help end hunger. The campaign involves bank donations and employee volunteer efforts to support local organizations that help those who are experiencing food insecurity. The Federal Home Loan Bank grant was a perfect opportunity to assist in those efforts. 

"We are grateful to have local food pantries and food banks in the communities we serve," Rudersdorf said. "At Security Financial Bank, we pride ourselves on helping our communities, and we were thrilled that we were able to help such worthwhile causes."

A Message From Our CEO

Wednesday, April 29

These are challenging times to say the very least. Not only are you concerned about the physical health of your family and friends, but the economic uncertainties as well. We hear ideas and opinions from the experts about "what the new normal" may look like, and because we don't know for sure, we experience fear and anxiety. That is only normal. 

SFB is a well-capitalized, strong bank and has taken the right measures to sail in these unchartered waters. As a customer, you not only want to know that we can weather the storm, you also want to know that we will be there to throw you a lifeline if you need help.  Here is what we have done since COVID-19 came upon us:

 ·   We have worked with our customers to defer loan payments where needed.

·   We have approved and funded more than $50 million in Payment Protection Plan (PPP) loans as part of this Small Business Administration Program, serving well over 200 small businesses and farmers. Almost a quarter of the businesses we helped were not clients of SFB.  

·   We are in the midst of helping additional clients during phase two of PPP.

·   Most importantly, we are listening to our customers and working on crafting solutions to guide them through these times.

Our CORE values are respect, accountability, humility, embracing change, and having fun. While some think these values are mostly for our employees, they apply as much to our customers as well. When we hold ourselves accountable to living these values with our customers, we all win. 

In any crisis, if we care for each other and communicate, we form trust. We believe this is the formula for solving problems.

I want to thank you for being our customer. I enjoy getting customer feedback, and you can email me at prudersdorf@sfbank.com or call me at 715-672-2449 with any thoughts or questions you may have.

Paul Rudersdorf
President & CEO

Angie Bryan Promoted to Lead Personal Banker

Monday, April 13

Paul Rudersdorf, president and CEO of Security Financial Bank (SFB), is pleased to announce that Angie Bryan has been promoted to lead personal banker. In this newly-created position, Bryan will oversee all personal bankers throughout SFB's five locations. She will be responsible for staff schedules, training personal bankers and assisting in providing products and services that meet SFB's client needs.

Bryan joined SFB in 2008 as a casual teller. Throughout the years, she has served in a variety of roles including full-time teller and universal banker and then was most recently promoted to personal banker in 2015.

A Durand native, Bryan earned a bachelor's degree in business management/business administration from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. She is active in the community serving as a Junior Achievement classroom teacher and a volunteer for Reality Check in Durand and Real Life Academy in Eau Claire.

In addition to her new role, Bryan will continue to serve as a personal banker in SFB's Durand office.

Andy Wieser Elected to SFSC Board of Directors

Wednesday, April 8

Jerry Bauer, chairman of the Board of Directors for Security Financial Services Corporation (SFSC), the Holding Company that owns Security Financial Bank (SFB), is pleased to announce that Andy Wieser has joined the organization's Board. Wieser, who was elected by unanimous consent of the Board, will begin his term May 1, 2020.  

Wieser is president/CEO of Wieser Concrete Products, Inc., a nationally recognized precast concrete manufacturer with 170 employees. The company is headquartered in Maiden Rock, Wis. and has additional locations throughout Wisconsin and southern Illinois.

"I am pleased to welcome Andy to SFSC's Board of Directors," Bauer said. "He is a proven business leader with a long history of service, both locally and nationally. I look forward to working with Andy and the rest of the Board as SFSC continues to grow." 

An established leader in the precast industry, Wieser is actively involved in the National Precast Concrete Association (NPCA). He chaired various committees as well as served 10 years on the Board of Directors, completing his term as NPCA chairman of the Board in 2016. In 2017, Wieser was presented the industry's top honor, the Robert E. Yoakum Award. 

Prior to his national service, Wieser was president of the Wisconsin Precast Concrete Association and a six-year member of the Plum City School Board. He remains active in the community as a member of the Ellsworth Rod and Gun Club and Rush River Trail Riders Snowmobile Club. He is currently serving on the Executive Committee as vice president of the Security Insurance Company of North America. 

Wieser will replace Steven Schultz, who is retiring from the Board as of April 30, 2020. Schultz served 10 years on the Board.  Bauer expressed on behalf of the Board and the Stockholders his thanks and appreciation to Steve for his contributions to SFSC's success these past 10 years. 

Also at the meeting, Bob Komro, Jim Price and Paul Rudersdorf were re-elected by the Board joining continuing Directors Chuck Forster, Jack Kaiser and Jim Mayo along with Bauer.

Paycheck Protection Program -- SBA Loans Available for Businesses Maintaining Their Payroll

Monday, March 30

An important provision in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (Act) is the Paycheck Protection Program, which allocates almost $350 billion to support emergency loans to qualifying businesses. This program, which is administered by the Small Business Administration (SBA), provides emergency lending to help small businesses cover operating expenses such as payroll, rent and utilities. Portions of the loans may be forgiven if a business satisfies certain conditions, such as maintaining their payroll during the crisis or restoring their payroll afterward.  

• More Information on Program Can Be Found HERE

• Application Can Be Found HERE

• Contact a SFB Lender for Assistance  

If you are in need of resources to help your business during this COVID-19 pandemic, please contact one of our lenders to help guide you through this program. SFB is a SBA-preferred lender.

CONTACT A LENDER

Bloomer
Matt Schley • 715.568.6325

Durand
Cathy Asher • 715.672.2410
Mark Chilson • 715.672.2422
Jenny Jereczek • 715.672.2427

Eau Claire
Kimberly Bunce • 715-930-7877
Scott Erickson • 715.930.7024
Curt Van Auken • 715.930.7021

Ladysmith
Norb Christman • 715.609.1507
Randy Ptacek • 715.609.1508

River Falls
John Lisowski • 715.629.4077
Krista Paulus • 715.629.4078

SFB Lobbies to Temporarily Close

Monday, March 16

At Security Financial Bank, our most important priority is the safety of our employees, clients and the communities we serve. As concerns around COVID-19 continue to evolve, we are temporarily closing lobby access at all of our branches. These changes will go into effect Tuesday, March 17, 2020.

DRIVE-THRU OPEN
We will continue to offer regular drive-thru services during office hours. In addition, our night deposit box will remain open.

MOBILE BANKING
We encourage all our clients to utilize mobile banking whenever possible. Through this service, many of our financial services are available right from the convenience and safety of your home. You can view accounts and transfer funds, pay bills, make a deposit and view statements, notices and checks. Our SFB mobile app is available to download HERE for Apple and HERE for Google Play.

ATMs
SFB provides cash access at the drive up ATM 24 hours a day in our Bloomer, Durand and Eau Claire locations. In addition, SFB debit cards can be used at any MoneyPass® location without paying a surcharge. To find a MoneyPass® location, visit https://moneypass.com/atm-locator.html

BY APPOINTMENT
Our personal bankers and lenders will continue to work regular office hours and are ready to help with business or personal banking needs, including mortgages, access to safety deposit boxes, treasury management and loans. To make an appointment, please call 888.254.0615. For a listing of SFB lenders, please visit here. Click on their name to send them an email.

TELEPHONE
As always, SFB's Customer Service team is ready to help with any questions or concerns. You can contact us at 888.254.0615.

A Message to our Clients About Coronavirus

Friday, March 13

As concerns around COVID-19 and its potential impact to our communities continue to evolve, SFB's most important priority continues to be the safety of our employees, clients and the communities we serve. We are continually monitoring the situation, have implemented precautionary measures to help address the issue and will continue to follow government guidelines as they become available.

While SFB is open for business, we encourage all our clients to utilize mobile banking whenever possible. Through this service, many of our financial services are available to you right from the convenience and safety of your own home. You can view your accounts and transfer funds, pay bills, make a deposit and view your statements, notices and checks. If you haven't already done so, you can download the SFB Mobile app HERE for Apple and HERE for Google Play.

As always, we appreciate your business and the trust you place in SFB. Please feel free to reach out to us if you have any questions or concerns -- 888. 254-0615 or customerservice@sfbank.com.

Paul Rudersdorf
CEO & President


 

SFB Announces New Portfolio Manager

Friday, February 28

Paul Rudersdorf, president and CEO of Security Financial Bank (SFB), is pleased to announce that Matt Schley has accepted a new position at the bank. Schley will serve as a commercial portfolio manager in SFB's Bloomer office.


In this new position, Schley will assist in structuring deposit and loan products to meet the unique needs of clients. He will facilitate the preparation of credit underwriting and analysis of loans and will ensure that all data and information is received in accordance with policy and compliance.

Schley joined SFB in August 2016 and had served as a credit analyst before accepting this new position.

A Bloomer native, Schley graduated from Bloomer High School in 2011 and studied economics at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. He currently serves on the Bloomer Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors.

Schley can be reached at the SFB Bloomer office at 715-568-6325 or mschley@sfbank.com.

SFB Accepting Applications for Scholarships

Tuesday, February 4

Security Financial Bank (SFB) is currently accepting applications for scholarships it awards to graduating high school students continuing their education.

Each year, SFB awards up to two $500 scholarships to graduating high school seniors in each of its markets, including Bloomer, Durand, Eau Claire, Ladysmith and River Falls. Recipients are chosen based on involvement in school, youth organizations and community events with particular preference given to students pursuing a career in finance, accounting or business administration. The applicant or parent/guardian of applicant must be an account holder of SFB. 

For more information and complete guidelines, students are encouraged to download an application at http://www.sfbank.com/webfiles/fnitools/documents/2020_sfb_scholarship_application. Application deadline has been extended to May 1. Applications can be delivered to a branch location or mailed to SFB Giving Committee, 4813 Keystone Crossing, Eau Claire, WI 54701.

Contact Becky Seelen, SFB marketing director, at 715-930-7030 with any questions.

Andrew Robertson Joins SFB as Senior Credit Officer

Thursday, January 23

Paul Rudersdorf, CEO and president of Security Financial Bank (SFB), is pleased to announce that Andrew (Andy) Robertson has joined SFB as senior credit officer for the bank. He will be responsible for the development and enforcement of the credit policy and the credit quality of the loan portfolio for the bank. In addition, Robertson will manage and oversee all credit analysis and loan operations support functions throughout SFB.

"With Andy's experience in the banking industry, he will be an outstanding asset for Security Financial Bank," Rudersdorf said. "His expertise will be instrumental in leading SFB as we continue to grow."

Robertson earned a bachelor's degree in business administration from UW-Stout. Before joining SFB, he spent the past nine years with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) as a bank examiner. He also has an additional eight years of experience working within the banking industry in Wisconsin and Colorado with positions in the lending and credit departments. 

Robertson will work out of SFB's corporate office located in Eau Claire.

Yeast Appointed Chief Technology Officer at SFB

Friday, January 3

Paul Rudersdorf, president and CEO of Security Financial Bank (SFB), is pleased to announce that Randy Yeast has been appointed chief technology officer for the bank. With this promotion, Yeast will be responsible for the overall management and strategic vision of the bank's information technology, systems and business intelligence data management.  

"Randy is an asset to Security Financial Bank, and his knowledge and expertise in the technology field will be instrumental in leading SFB to a new level," Rudersdorf said. "We congratulate him on this well-deserved promotion."

Yeast, who has been with the bank since 2015, has more than 16 years of experience in the IT field. He is a graduate of UW-Madison Graduate School of Banking and earned an associate's degree in computer information services from Chippewa Valley Technical College. In addition, Yeast holds several certificates including the Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) and the Six Sigma Lean Black Belt Professional (LBBP).

Are You Making the Most of Your HSA?

Thursday, January 2

Have you contributed the maximum allowable amount to your health savings account?  It's not too late! You have until tax filing deadline to make a contribution to your HSA for the prior year.

A Health Savings Account (commonly referred to as an HSA) has many benefits. But you may not realize that while it is a great way to save for medical expenses and reduce your taxable income, you also can use an HSA to save for retirement!

If you are enrolled in a high-deductible health insurance plan (HDHP) as defined by the government, then you qualify for an HSA.

There are many benefits to an HSA,  but often overlooked is the ability to use as a retirement account at the age of 65.

At Security Financial Bank, we pride ourselves in no hidden or monthly fees for maintaining a Health Savings Account with us. SFB offers an HSA checking account, which pays interest to allow your funds to grow and a free debit card for easy access to your funds.

If you would like to know more or open your HSA today, please contact a personal banker at a location near you.

 

Chippewa Valley Ag Conference Registration Deadline Approaching

Tuesday, December 24

Reminder: Register by January 9, 2020


EAU CLAIRE - The deadline to register for a conference specifically designed for area agriculture producers is quickly approaching. The Chippewa Valley Ag Conference will be held from 9:30 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. on Thursday, January 16 at Chippewa Valley Technical College's Energy Education Center, 4000 Campus Road in Eau Claire. The deadline to register is Thursday, January 9.

"For growers in our area, 2019 has been a challenging year. Weather and global trade have created uncertainties and new challenges for our producers," indicated Jenny Jereczek, Security Financial Bank (SFB) Ag Department manager. "Our vision for this conference is to provide growers with information and resources to address those uncertainties. Our goal is that growers are left feeling empowered and reenergized to focus on the future of their operations."  

Chippewa Valley Technical College (CVTC) and SFB have worked together to coordinate this first-time event.

"Chippewa Valley Technical College Farm Business Program's mission is to support our local farm businesses," said Mark Denk, farm business instructor for CVTC. "This conference is an excellent opportunity for ag producers to come and take part in an educational experience that will help their bottom line."

The conference will kickoff with a keynote address on The Positive Power of Servant Leadership by Tom Thibodeau of Viterbo University. Carl Babler of Atten Babler Commodities will provide a lunch keynote on Marketing Your Commodities in a Global Market.

Throughout the day, attendees also will have the opportunity to attend three separate breakout sessions. Topics include:

  • Agricultural Credit Risk from a Regulatory Perspective by Jay Branger of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC)
  • Tools to Mitigate Risk by Gene Grimsley, Marthie Crouzer and Randy Vogt of NAU Country
  • Agricultural Lease Agreements by John Leary, Ruder Ware
  • Tax Cuts and Jobs Act; What We Know Now by Pat Erickson, CliftonLarsonAllen
  • Generating Field Level Return on Investment (ROI) Maps and Using this Tool to Manage Profitability by Mike Christenson of Countryside Cooperative
  • Converting from a Dairy to Beef Cattle in Wisconsin by Dr. Amy Radunz of Purina Animal Nutrition
  • Doing Something with Price by Chris Atten of Atten Babler Commodities
  • Know Your Numbers by Cathy Asher of Security Financial Bank and Mark Denk of Chippewa Valley Technical College (CVTC)
  • Dairy Nutrition by Sheldon Betzold and Mike Wachtendonk, Countryside Cooperative
  • Debt Protection by Maria Ocrant of Cincinnati Life Insurance Companies
  • Estate Planning for Ag Producers 101 by Linda Danielson of Ruder Ware
  • A Gateway to Global Markets by Katy Sinnott of WEDC and Mark Rhoda-Reis of WI Dept. of Ag, Trade and Consumer Protection
  • Growing Opportunities and Challenges with Industrial Hemp by Jerry Clark of UW-Madison Extension
  • Utilizing Dairy Data to Drive Success by Taliah Danzinger of AgSource/Valley Ag Software
  • Need Equipment? Exploring the Benefits of Buying vs. Leasing by Representatives from Ag Direct and CNH Capital
  • Peer Group Panels facilitated by Mark Denk, CVTC

Cost to attend is only $20 per person and includes lunch, both keynote sessions and three different breakout sessions. To register, visit https://cvagconference.eventbrite.com. Registration deadline is January 9, 2020, but attendees are encouraged to register early as space is limited.

To download a conference brochure with detailed description of each breakout session, CLICK HERE. For more information or questions, contact Becky Seelen, SFB marketing director, at 715-930-7030.

The conference is being presented by Chippewa Valley Technical College and Security Financial Bank along with CliftonLarsonAllen, Countryside Cooperative and Ruder Ware.

Joscelyn Baker-Hoy Joins SFB as a Credit Analyst

Wednesday, November 20

Paul Rudersdorf, CEO and president of Security Financial Bank (SFB), is pleased to announce that Joscelyn Baker-Hoy has joined SFB as a credit analyst. Baker-Hoy will be responsible for completing the credit analysis and presentation functions to assist relationship managers in the credit approval and review processes. She also will assess the credit worthiness and appropriate risk rating level of new loan requests and ongoing loan portfolio relationships.

Baker-Hoy earned a bachelor's degree in finance from UW-Eau Claire and is currently a Level 2 Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) candidate. She is a 2016 graduate of the Eau Claire Area Chamber of Commerce's Leadership Eau Claire program. 

Before joining SFB, Baker-Hoy gained several years of experience working in indirect lending and commercial lending. She also worked in wealth management trading on the market and reviewing portfolio performance and financial statements. 

Baker-Hoy will work out of SFB's corporate office located in Eau Claire.

Kimberly Bunce Joins SFB as a Commercial Relationship Manager

Thursday, November 7

Paul Rudersdorf, CEO and president of Security Financial Bank (SFB), is pleased to announce that Kimberly Bunce recently joined SFB as a commercial relationship manager. Bunce will work out of the Eau Claire location and will focus primarily on commercial banking relationships. 

An Eau Claire native, Bunce received an accounting degree from UW-Eau Claire and earned her CPA in 1990. She spent nine years as a practicing CPA gaining both tax and audit experience. In addition, she has almost 20 years of sales experience in the telecommunications, media and fitness industries.

Bunce is active in the Eau Claire community serving as an Ambassador for the Eau Claire Area Chamber of Commerce. In addition, she serves on the Chamber's Health & Wellness Committee, is a fitness instructor for both the YMCA and Gold's Gym and is a member of the Altoona Blades Hockey Team.

Bunce can be reached at kbunce@sfbank.com or 715-930-7877.

More than 4,300 Books and $5,000 Donated to Hope Gospel Mission

Thursday, November 7

Every child deserves the chance to learn to read, and community members throughout Western Wisconsin made sure homeless children had access to plenty of books. To support the cause, 4,301 books were recently collected.

The book collection was part of Security Financial Bank's (SFB) "Bank Some Books" campaign, which encouraged the public to drop off their favorite childhood classics to a SFB location in Bloomer, Durand, Eau Claire, Ladysmith or River Falls. All books were donated to Hope Gospel Mission's new facility for homeless women and children. The facility is set to open in Eau Claire in December. 

For every book collected during the month-long campaign, SFB pledged to donate $1 to Hope Gospel Mission up to $5,000. While the campaign didn't quite hit 5,000 books, SFB was inspired by the generosity of all those who donated books and contributed $5,000 to the homeless facility.

"It was really heartwarming to see the generous donations of SFB clients and community members. SFB also wanted to contribute to help these families in need," SFB President & CEO Paul Rudersdorf said. 

According to Hope Gospel Mission, recent data indicates that the Eau Claire Area School District classified 360 students as homeless, and Chippewa Falls School District indicated that another 70 students were homeless. Because Hope Gospel Mission had to routinely turn away women and their children, they embarked on a campaign to open the New Hope Renewal Center for Women & Children.

The most books were collected in SFB's Durand location with 2,722 books followed by SFB's Bloomer location with 657 books.

Brandon Litwiller Joins SFB as Loan Operations Officer

Thursday, October 31

EAU CLAIRE - Paul Rudersdorf, CEO and president of Security Financial Bank (SFB), is pleased to announce that Brandon Litwiller recently joined SFB as loan operations officer. Litwiller will be responsible for the development of SFB's loan operations teams and the systems used for consumer, mortgage, commercial and agricultural loan processing, servicing and imaging. 

A Barron, WI native, Litwiller earned an associate's degree in business with a focus in finance from Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College in Rice Lake. Before joining SFB, he gained several years of experience working with other financial institutions in their loan processing and serving departments.

Litwiller will work out of SFB's corporate office located in Eau Claire.

SFB to Close on Columbus Day to Volunteer in Community

Friday, October 4

In celebration of Columbus Day, Security Financial Bank (SFB) will be closed on Monday, October 14, 2019. But SFB employees won't be sleeping in during the federal holiday. Instead, employees are using the day as an opportunity to volunteer in the communities they serve.

"It's part of SFB's mission to invest in the communities we serve. Columbus Day is a perfect opportunity for our employees to give back to various organizations and help to continue to make our area a great place to live," explained Paul Rudersdorf, SFB president and chief executive officer.

SFB has locations in five cities throughout western Wisconsin as well as a corporate office in Eau Claire. About 100 employees will be volunteering in the following locations:

Eau Claire Branch - SFB employees will be volunteering at the Eau Claire Children's Theatre.

Durand Branch - SFB employees plan to clean veterans' markers at Forest Hill Cemetery and also will volunteer at St. Vincent de Paul's and the Durand Area Food Pantry.

Bloomer Branch - SFB employees will paint the ice rink and visit residents at the local nursing home.

River Falls Branch - SFB employees will volunteer at Turning Point.

Ladysmith Branches - SFB employees will be volunteering at the Rusk County Senior Center.

Corporate Office - SFB employees be completing various projects for the Beacon House, Beaver Creek Reserve, Hope Gospel Mission, Trinity Equestrian Center, Habitat for Humanity and the YMCA Sports Center.

For more information on SFB, visit www.sfbank.com or call 888-254-0615.

SFB to Hold Children's Book Drive for Hope Gospel Mission

Tuesday, October 1

The "Bank Some Books" Campaign Will Donate Money for Every Book Donated 

Every child deserves the chance to learn to read, and Security Financial Bank (SFB) is doing what they can to make sure area homeless children have the resources they need to help them learn.

Throughout the month of October, SFB will be collecting new and gently used children's books to donate to Hope Gospel Mission's new facility for women and children. The "Bank Some Books" campaign encourages the public to drop off their favorite childhood classics to their area SFB location. For every book that is donated, SFB will donate $1 to Hope Gospel Mission up to $5,000.

"Sadly, homelessness is affecting a growing number of children in our area," said Paul Rudersdorf, SFB president and CEO. "We are pleased that Hope Gospel Mission is opening this new facility to address this issue, and we want to help fill it with books and resources to help these families."

According to Hope Gospel Mission, recent data indicates that the Eau Claire Area School District classified as many as 360 students as homeless, and Chippewa Falls School District indicated that approximately another 70 students were homeless. Because Hope Gospel Mission had to routinely turn away women and their children, they embarked on a campaign to open the New Hope Renewal Center for Women & Children, which is slated to open later this fall. The books collected in this drive will be given to this new facility.

"We are so fortunate and blessed to have community focused businesses like SFB partner with us to help meet this growing need of struggling families.  Any books and donations will be greatly needed and appreciated," said Brett Geboy, community relations director for Hope Gospel Mission.

The public is encouraged to drop off children's books at any of the following Security Financial Bank location:

Bloomer -- 1401 Main St.
Durand -- 212 W. Prospect St.
Eau Claire -- 4217 Southtowne Dr.
Ladysmith -- 200 Miner Ave. W.
River Falls --1561 Commerce Ct.

Christmas Wishes Applications Available

Monday, September 30

Applications for the 2019 Christmas Wishes program will be available starting in October for children ages 18 and under who reside in Pepin County and/or the Durand-Arkansaw School District boundaries and who meet the criteria listed on the application. The Income Guidelines for the Reduced Food Assistance Program will be used to determine eligibility. 

Applications are available in all Durand area schools and also at Security Financial Bank (SFB) in Durand, Pepin County Food Pantry, Pepin County Human Services Department, St. Vincent de Paul, Durand Fresh Market and WRDN. 

Completed applications will be accepted until November 18, 2019.  Applications will not receive a letter confirming eligibility. They will receive a call if they do not qualify. Trees will be placed at SFB in Durand in November where the community will be able to take an ornament of their choice, purchase and wrap the gift and return it to the bank with the tag attached by December 12, 2019.

Gifts will be distributed Saturday, December 14th from 10 am to noon and Monday, December 16th from 5 to 7 pm at SFB in Durand.  No late requests will be honored except in the case of an emergency.

For more information, contact Diane Sinz at Security Financial Bank at 715-672-2441.

8 Reasons You Should Switch to E-Statements

Wednesday, September 4

You may have been a bit sluggish to switch from paper to electronic statements, but now is the time to make the change! We are convinced that once you see the benefits, you'll wish you had done it so much sooner!

1. It's Faster Than Snail Mail
Want to get your statements as soon as possible? Electronic statements will be available the day after the statement period ends. No waiting for the mail.

2. 24/7 Access to Important Information
Any time you want to know about your account, you can log on and find the information you need.

3. It's More Secure
With electronic statements, you don't need to worry about someone intercepting your mail and viewing your confidential information.


4. Tax Information Available
Need to get a copy of your 1099 tax forms? If you are enrolled in e-statements, you have access to this information electronically.


5. Helps You Stay Organized
A year's worth of statements are saved on your online banking account helping you to reduce clutter and stay organized.


6. It's Better for the Environment
Think of all the trees you will be saving!


7. Print is Always an Option
If you ever need a printed copy of your statement, just print off the statements you need right from your home computer.


8. It's Easy to Sign Up
All you have to do is email customerservice@sfbank.com or call Customer Service at 888.254.0615. You also can self-enroll on your online banking account.

Karlee Marg Joins SFB as Credit Analyst

Friday, August 23

Paul Rudersdorf, CEO and president of Security Financial Bank (SFB), is pleased to announce that Karlee Marg recently joined the bank as a credit analyst. Marg will be responsible for completing the credit analysis and presentation functions to assist relationship managers in the credit approval and review processes. She also will assess the credit worthiness and appropriate risk rating level of new loan requests and ongoing loan portfolio relationships.  

A Winona, Minn. native, Marg earned a bachelor of business administration degree in finance from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. She previously worked as an operations associate at Orgel Wealth Management. 

Marg will work out of SFB's corporate office located in Eau Claire.

Mark Chilson Receives Certification to Sell LGM-Dairy Insurance

Tuesday, August 13

Mark Chilson of Security Financial Bank (SFB) recently became certified to sell Livestock Gross Margin-Dairy (LGM) insurance through NAU Country Insurance Company. In order to receive the certification, Chilson completed a mandatory course and successfully passed an exam. 

"LGM-Dairy is a product that allows dairy farmers to protect against the loss of gross margin between milk price and feed cost," Chilson explained. "This is another opportunity for producers to mitigate risk during these challenging economic times in agriculture." 

Chilson, who was recently appointed to lead SFB's newly-expanded insurances services, has been a license insurance agent since 1985. Some of the insurance products he sells in addition to LGM include dairy revenue protection (DRP), multiple peril crop and crop-hail. Chilson also is licensed to sell term life, return of premium life, whole life and disability income insurance. He joined SFB in 1991 and has served as a relationship manager focusing on agri-business loans. Chilson has been SFB's market president in Durand since 2014. 

For more information about LGM or other Ag insurance products, contact Mark Chilson at 888-254-0615 or mchilson@sfbank.com.

SFB Awards Scholarships to High School Graduates

Monday, July 29

Paul Rudersdorf, president and CEO of Security Financial Bank (SFB), is pleased to announce that nine area recent high school graduates each have been awarded a $500 scholarship to be used to further their education.

Recipients include: 

  • Aspyn Arendt, a graduate of Bloomer High School, will major in business administration from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. 
  • Nicholas Barka, a graduate of Eau Claire Memorial High School, will major in sport management at Minnesota State University - Mankato. 
  • McKenzie Brion, a graduate of Durand High School, will major in business administration at Winona State University. 
  • Julia Hayden, also a graduate of Durand High School, plans to major in accounting at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. 
  • Mikayla LeBakken, a graduate of Bloomer High School, will be majoring in elementary education at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. 
  • Jonathan Nelson, a graduate of Flambeau High School, plans to study agribusiness at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. 
  • Jacob Miller, a graduate of River Falls High School, will major in economics and political science at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. 
  • Hans Schultz, a graduate of Ladysmith High School, will study business administration at Wisconsin Lutheran College in Milwaukee. 
  • Melissa White, a graduate of Altoona High School, plans to study business communication at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.

Each year, SFB awards up to two $500 scholarships in each of its markets to graduating high school seniors. Recipients are chosen based on involvement in school, youth organizations and community events with particular preference given to students pursuing a career in finance, accounting or business administration.

Building or Remodeling a Home?

Thursday, July 18

We have a variety of construction loans that will help!

Many homeowners have enjoyed low interest rates in recent years. While they may not be living in their dream home, they want to keep their low interest rate, so they opt to remodel instead. 

Now with a new program offered by Security Financial Bank (SFB), homeowners can retain the benefit of their low first mortgage interest rate and tap into the increase of equity that their home remodel may generate. 

"This is a unique program that allows the borrower to keep their first mortgage in place while being able to do a major remodel using the future equity in their home," explained Shayna Reichert, sales manager of Mortgage Banking at SFB. 

 "Homeowners can keep their first mortgage at a low rate that they love, and our construction program offers them a second mortgage to help finance their renovations," Reichert said. 

In addition, SFB is offering low construction rates for new homes. For specific loan rates and terms, please contact one of these SFB mortgage bankers:

Bloomer
Kurt Van Roy
NMLS #553087
715.568.1057

Durand
Bernadette Grochowski
NMLS #508085
715.672.2412

Eau Claire
Wendy Hollenbeck
NMLS #553597
715.930.7028

Shayna Reichert
NMLS #552650
715.930.7020

Ladysmith
Cheryl Carter
NMLS #814959
715.609.1509

River Falls
Tami Langer
NMLS #553758
715.629.4075

Established in 1934, SFB is a locally-owned, community financial institution focused on business and agriculture with offices in Bloomer, Durand, Eau Claire, Ladysmith and River Falls.  SFB strives to provide products and services that exceed its customers' needs and guidance that enable them to succeed. For more information on SFB, visit www.sfbank.com or call 888-254-0615.


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Why It is More Important Than Ever for Ag Producers to Create a Marketing Plan

Friday, July 12

Between the sustained lows in commodity prices and recent volatility with international trade, many agriculture producers are left feeling as if they are at the mercy of the marketplace and have little control over what they receive for their commodities.

That is why it is more critical than ever that producers develop and execute a marketing plan, according to Cathy Asher, a relationship manager for Security Financial Bank (SFB) in Durand. Asher, who specializes in agri-business lending, provided a few tips for farmers to consider when developing an operation's marketing plan. They included:

  1. Understand Your Operation's Break-Event Cost
    "Once you know this cost, you can remove the emotion from deciding when to sell," Asher said. "Your lender would be happy to assist you with calculating your break-even costs or there are several online tools available to assist you with performing the calculation. The key to arriving at an accurate break-even cost is to use complete and current financial information." 

  2. Include Pricing Objectives
    Pricing objectives should consider market rallies and incorporate both futures and current pricing, she said.  

  1. Set a Marketing Timeline
    "Your timeline should consider the seasonality of production and supply," Asher said. "In other words, examine when you usually see more product in the marketplace, which would generally mean lower prices for your commodities." 

  1. Consider Marketing Tools
    There are several tools available to assist growers with marketing, thereby limiting price risk to the operation. These tools include (but are not limited to) basis and hedge-to-arrive contracts, puts and calls. These tools can be used in conjunction with SFB's in-house risk management tools of Multi-Peril Crop Insurance (which includes revenue protection coverage) as well as Dairy Revenue Protection. 

  1. Reasons for Your Strategy
    "Don't forget to include the reasoning behind your strategy," Asher cautioned. "This final component of your plan should be included to reduce second-guessing that can sometimes come with decision making." 
     
  1. It's Time to Execute!
    "Execution of the marketing plan is critically important.  You may not perfect your marketing plan for the first cycle.  Just as with production agriculture, there are tweaks that can and may need to be made from year to year," she said. "What is certain is that you will have an improved understanding of your farm's marketing gaps and will identify opportunities for growth."

Additional marketing resources for both crop and dairy producers to assist with developing their marketing plans are available at the following sites:

Jenny Jereczek Promoted to SFB Ag Banking Department Manager

Monday, July 1

Paul Rudersdorf, president and CEO of Security Financial Bank (SFB), is pleased to announce the promotion of Jenny Jereczek to Ag Banking Department manager. She will be responsible for leading and growing SFB's ag team and portfolio. 

Jereczek joined SFB in 2009 as a credit analyst and has been an ag relationship manager in the Durand Market since 2014. 

Jereczek received a degree in business administration from the University of Wisconsin-Stout and completed coursework at the Wisconsin Bankers Association's Commercial Lending School and Ag Lending School. In addition, she is currently enrolled in her second year of the Graduate School of Banking. 

Jereczek grew up on a dairy farm in Durand and continues to raise a small beef herd with her husband and two young sons. 

"Jenny has a special understanding of the agriculture community because she is a part of it. That knowledge helps her to be a well-rounded lender," Rudersdorf explained.

"I have always loved the ag industry and truly enjoy working with farmers and partnering with them to help achieve their dreams and be successful," Jereczek said. "I am honored to be a part of an industry that is the backbone of our local communities." 

In addition to managing the Ag Banking Department, Jereczek will continue serving as a relationship manager for her ag clients. She is located in SFB's Durand office.

Nancy Meier Promoted to New Role at SFB

Wednesday, June 19

Paul Rudersdorf, president and CEO of Security Financial Bank (SFB), is pleased to announce the recent promotion of Nancy Meier to commercial banking assistant supervisor. In this new role, Meier will be responsible for training and supervising all banking assistants.

Meier, who has been with SFB for the past four years, was previously a banking assistant. She has worked in the financial services industry for 20 years.

"I look forward to sharing what I have learned over the years with our team of SFB banking assistants and working with our relationship managers to achieve our bank goals," Meier said.

Meier is active in the community volunteering with Day of Caring, cleaning up the highway and other community efforts.

For more information, contact Meier at 715-568-6311 or nmeier@sfbank.com.

Mark Chilson Appointed to Lead SFB Insurance Services

Monday, June 17

Paul Rudersdorf, president and CEO of Security Financial Bank (SFB), is pleased to announce that Mark Chilson has been appointed to lead SFB's newly-expanded insurances services. Chilson, who has been a licensed insurance agent since 1985, will help bring the bank's insurance products to clients in other SFB locations. 

Chilson joined SFB in 1991 and has served as a relationship manager focusing on agri-business loans. He has been the Durand market president since 2014 and will continue to serve as market president in his new role directing insurance sales.

"Mark's expertise in both ag insurance and lending has made him a tremendous asset to our clients in the Durand area," Rudersdorf said. "With his leadership, we are excited to be able to help more clients with their insurance needs in our other markets."

SFB offers agricultural-related insurance products including crop-hail, dairy revenue protection (DRP) as well as multiple peril crop insurance (MPCI) with production and revenue coverages. In addition, SFB offers term life insurance. Chilson will be offering these products to clients in Bloomer, Durand, Eau Claire, Ladysmith, River Falls and the surrounding areas.

For more information or to contact Mark Chilson, call 888-254-0615 or mchilson@sfbank.com

SFB Welcomes Back Cathy Asher

Wednesday, June 12

Cathy Asher recently returned to Security Financial Bank (SFB) as a relationship manager. She will develop and maintain a business loan portfolio, with an emphasis on agri-business. 

Asher, who has 19 years of experience in the ag industry, first served as a credit analyst for SFB from June 2014 through September 2017 before leaving to accept a position at Countryside Coop. 

"We are pleased to have Cathy back at SFB," said Paul Rudersdorf, CEO and president. "With her expertise in both business and agriculture, she will be able to serve SFB clients in order to help them succeed and reach their goals."  

Asher has also spent nine years with the Farm Service Agency and five years as an agriculture education teacher. She received a bachelor's degree in agricultural education and a master's degree in educational evaluation and research, both from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. 

Originally from Elmwood, Asher grew up on a small dairy farm and currently lives in Durand with her 13-year-old son, Levi. 

"My significant other, Jeff Olson, dairy farms and crops about 1,100 acres," Asher explained. "So, the current challenges of the ag economy are understood both personally as well as professionally."

Asher will work out of the office in Durand. To contact her, call 715-672-4237.

Christman Named Ladysmith Market President

Wednesday, June 5

Paul Rudersdorf, president and CEO of Security Financial Bank (SFB), is pleased to announce that Norb Christman has been appointed market president of Security Financial Bank in Ladysmith. With this promotion, Christman will be responsible for helping establish and grow SFB's brand and image as a local, community-focused bank. In addition, Christman will continue to provide overall relationship management of assigned business loans.

"Norb's knowledge of business banking and keen understanding of the Ladysmith community are tremendous assets to the team as we continue to provide quality service to our clients," said Rudersdorf. "I am pleased with the contributions Norb has made to SFB and his promotion to market president is well deserved."

Christman, who is a lifelong resident of Ladysmith, has 15 years in commercial and agriculture lending. He earned finance and accounting degrees from Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College (WITC). Christman is active in the community serving as treasurer of the Ladysmith Community Industrial Development Corporation and on the WITC Financial Services Advisory Committee. He also is the clerk for the Rusk County Livestock Project Auction.

Sheehan Appointed Senior Credit Officer at SFB

Monday, June 3

Paul Rudersdorf, president and CEO of Security Financial Bank (SFB), is pleased to announce that Melody Sheehan has been appointed senior credit officer for the bank. With this promotion, Sheehan will be responsible for the development and enforcement of the credit quality of the loan portfolio and the credit culture for the bank. 

"Melody is an asset to Security Financial Bank, and her knowledge and expertise will be instrumental in leading SFB to a new level," Rudersdorf said. "We congratulate her on this well-deserved promotion and look forward to watching her continued success."

Sheehan, who has been with SFB since 2011, most recently served as the director of credit and loan administration before her promotion. She has 16 years in the financial services industry. 

Sheehan received a bachelor's degree in economics and finance from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and is currently enrolled in the Graduate School of Banking.

It's So Gouda!

Wednesday, May 8

Two smiling ladies in a meeting with a cup of coffee

When Marieke Penterman immigrated to the United States in 2003, she dreamed of owning a business of her own. Her husband, Rolf, was busy with the family's 400-cow dairy farm, but Marieke wanted to do something on her own before the age of 30. After missing the cheese back home in The Netherlands, making her own Gouda cheese seemed like the perfect idea.

"I do feel like the timing was right," Marieke explained. "There are not very many female cheesemakers, but I felt like I was welcomed with open arms."

Marieke worked with a local cheesemaker to obtain her state license. She traveled back to her home country where she trained alongside two different cheesemakers throughout the week. There she learned how to make authentic Dutch Gouda cheese, and her new business - Marieke Gouda - officially began.

Just four months after Marieke crafted her first batch of Gouda in November 2006, she captured a gold award at the U.S. Champion Cheese Contest in 2007. Dozens of awards followed including her biggest win thus far, the United States Grand Champion in 2013.

In November 2013, the Pentermans opened a brand new state-of-the-art facility along Highway 29 in Thorp. It includes a store and viewing windows to see the farm and cheesemaking process. This is where their ultimate dream came true: the opportunity to have a location where they can share their passion for modern family farming and handcrafting the best Marieke Gouda in an open and educational environment.

But like any business, it hasn't always been easy. At times, it was a challenge to find the right lender who could meet the new business' needs. But then, Marieke met a team from Security Financial Bank (SFB). 

"SFB is a bank with a vision," Marieke said. "I look at all my past experiences, I never felt as good about a lender as I do about SFB."

They looked at the numbers, but they also looked at us as entrepreneurs, she said.

"They heard us. They believed in us. I feel like it is a good partnership," Marieke said.

Jenny Jereczek, a relationship manager with SFB, has worked with Marieke to help her achieve her dreams.

"Marieke is an inspiration for all small business owners. She exhibits all of the traits necessary to own and operate a successful business," Jereczek said. "Marieke is driven, persistent and innovative. She is a true entrepreneur who has a clear vision and goal and is willing to take necessary risk for growth."

Marieke also is flexible in her way of thinking and understands that change may be necessary along the way, Jereczek explained.

"SFB showed me that they are a different bank," Marieke said. "They are willing to take a risk because they believe in their customers."

While Marieke has already seen great success, she has many other goals yet to accomplish, including making Marieke Gouda a well-known household brand. Currently, her Gouda is sold in many stores including Festival, Kroger's, Whole Foods, Safeway, Jewel, Albertsons and other specialty cheese stores throughout the country. She also would like to grow the business large enough that they need to buy additional milk besides their own. Ideally, she would like to have a co-op to give farmers a fair price for their milk.

"With that, we would be able to give back to the industry," Marieke explained. "Dairy farmers are so special. They are driven by passion - not by money. They make sure that everyone has food on their table, and right now, they don't have food on their own tables."

To learn more about Marieke Gouda or to plan a visit to the facility, visit www.mariekegouda.com.

SFB Reports Record Year

Thursday, April 25

EAU CLAIRE - At its Annual Meeting on Tuesday, Security Financial Services Corporation (SFSC), the holding company for Security Financial Bank (SFB), reported a record year for 2018. 

SFSC reported net income of $5,958,000 for the year ending December 31, 2018, which was a 20 percent increase over the prior year. Earnings per share for the year of $522 were the highest ever for SFSC. In addition, SFB ended the year with $491,884,000 in total assets, which places it in the largest 50 banks headquartered in Wisconsin. 

"Security Financial Bank continues to maintain a strong capital position, talent throughout the bank, stable deposits and strong credit quality," indicated Paul Rudersdorf, CEO and president of Security Financial Bank.

SFB saw both loan and deposit growth in 2018 with year-end deposits of $402,004,000 and loans of $350,356,000. In July 2018, SFB acquired 100 percent of the stock of Pioneer Bank of Wisconsin in Ladysmith, paying $9.1 million in cash. With this acquisition, SFB added $33 million in loans and $65 million in deposits from Pioneer Bank. The newly acquired location also contributed approximately $420,000 in earnings to SFB in 2018.

"With the guidance of the Board of Directors, led by Chairman Jerry Bauer, SFB is in an ideal position to continue its strategic growth," Rudersdorf said.

Also at the Annual Meeting, Board members re-elected to three-year terms included Bauer, Chuck Forster and Jim Mayo. In addition, Jack Kaiser was recognized for serving 10 years on the Board and Jim Price for serving five years. Additional Board members include Bob Komro, Steve Schultz and Rudersdorf. 

Established in 1934, SFB is a locally-owned, community financial institution focused on business and agriculture with offices in Bloomer, Durand, Eau Claire, Ladysmith and River Falls.  SFB strives to provide products and services that exceed its customers' needs and guidance that enable them to succeed.  

SFB Brings Financial Literacy to Kids Through Reading

Tuesday, April 9

EAU CLAIRE - With Americans spending more and saving less, young people often don't learn valuable personal finance skills that will benefit them throughout life. 

Together, educators, bankers and parents can help children build good financial habits from an early age. That's why Security Financial is participating in the annual National Teach Children to Save Day campaign on April 12. 

Volunteers from Security Financial Bank have found a way to teach kids about saving that provides instant gratification - and can be continued at home. Using a Wisconsin Bankers Foundation program called Reading Raises Interest, bank staff will read age-appropriate books with a message about money or saving to students at area schools in Altoona, Bloomer, Durand, Eau Claire, Ladysmith and River Falls. 

This year's featured book is Sammy's Big Dream by Sam Renick. In the story, Sammy Rabbit has a big dream: to ride the world's first outer space roller coaster! Read along as he works to earn and save enough money to do it. The book can also be a good starting point for conversations about money between children and their parents.

"Although parents may initially feel uncomfortable talking with their children about money, it's a topic that can't be overlooked," said Cathy Couey, SFB's chief retail officer. "The discussion can begin with something as simple as wants vs. needs." 

In addition to reading books to their children about money, parents can involve kids in spending decisions, encourage them to save part of an allowance and explain the family's finances in general terms. 

To encourage students and parents to read more, Security Financial Bank will donate copies of Sammy's Big Dream to the class. Throughout the month of April, Security Financial Bank also will give free piggy banks to anyone opening up a Youth Savings Account. Individuals are encouraged to see a personal banker at a SFB location in Bloomer, Durand, Eau Claire, Ladysmith and River Falls for more information on Youth Savings Accounts. 

National Teach Children to Save Day is an initiative sponsored by the Wisconsin Bankers Foundation and the American Bankers Association Education Foundation. Last year, bankers from more than 30 institutions reached out to their community to make Teach Children to Save Day presentations. Together, these bankers reported nearly 300 presentations to almost 9,000 students. 

For more information about the program, contact SFB at information@sfbank.com.

SFB Announces Promotion Within Organization

Wednesday, April 3

Paul Rudersdorf, president and CEO of Security Financial Bank (SFB), is pleased to announce the promotion of Nikki Frickson to Call Center Representative II. In this new role, Frickson will be focused on promoting SFB products and understanding the digital needs of SFB's customers.  In addition, she will serve as a customer resource for remote deposit and cash management questions or concerns. 

Frickson has been with SFB for six years. She began her career at the bank as a teller and then move into customer service for the past five years. Frickson is excited to start her new adventure and help more of SFB's customers.

SFB Announces Recent Promotions of Graese and Ender

Wednesday, February 20

Paul Rudersdorf, president and CEO of Security Financial Bank (SFB), is pleased to announce two recent promotions within the organization.

Gail Graese has been promoted to Business and Ag Credit Administration supervisor. In her new position, Graese is responsible for assisting, coaching and developing the credit analysis staff. She communicates credit information and procedures to ensure that SFB's credit culture is understood and implemented in all markets in a consistent way. She also is responsible for verifying that proper approvals have been obtained and regulatory and credit policy and operational requirements have been met.

Graese joined SFB in February 2017 as a business and Ag credit analyst. She has eight years of credit analysis experience in the banking industry.

Becky Ender has been promoted to Business and Ag Loan Processing supervisor. She supervises and directs the work flow of all business and Ag loan processers as well as assists, coaches and develops the loan processing staff. She will be responsible for onboarding and training new employees within her department and will handle complex loan servicing and loan processing issues.

Ender has been with SFB since July 2016 and previously served as a commercial/Ag loan processor. She earned a bachelor's degree in human resource management from Bethel University.

Use Your Health Saving Account to Save for Retirement!

Wednesday, February 6

A Health Savings Account (commonly referred to as an HSA) has many benefits. But you may not realize that while it is a great way to save for medical expenses and reduce your taxable income, you also can use an HSA to save for retirement!

If you are enrolled in a high-deductible health insurance plan (HDHP) as defined by the government, then you qualify for an HSA.

Benefits of an HSA:

  • Tax-deductible contributions

  • Catch-up contributions to those age 55 or better

  • Tax-free withdrawals for qualified medical expenses

  • Tax-free earnings

  • Balance can carry from year-to-year

  • At age 65, can be used as a retirement account

  • Portable

  • Convenient

At Security Financial Bank, we pride ourselves on no hidden or monthly fees for maintaining a health savings account with us. SFB offers a HSA checking account, which pays interest to allow your funds to grow. In addition, your first order of checks is free, and you will receive a free debit card for easy access to your funds.

If you would like to know more or open your HSA today, please contact a personal banker at a location near you.

Security Financial Bank Employees Receive WBA Lifetime Service Awards

Monday, February 4

EAU CLAIRE - Several employees at Security Financial Bank were recently honored with a Lifetime Service Award from the Wisconsin Bankers Association. The award recognizes bankers who have completed at least 30 years of service in the industry. The following SFB staff members were recipients: Marcia Berger, Durand location; Mary Berger, Eau Claire Corporate; Cheryl Carter, Ladysmith; Cindy Koller, Durand; Laurae Mallinson, Ladysmith; Jean Marcon, Ladysmith; Faye Owen, Durand; Paul Rudersdorf, Eau Claire Corporate; and Julie Sabelko, Eau Claire Corporate. 

Marcia Berger started her career at SFB in 1976 working in the Bookkeeping Department. Throughout the years, she also has worked in the loan department and as operations officer/teller supervisor. In 2007, she became the customer service officer, and today she serves as the Call Center manager. 

Mary Berger began her career in bookkeeping and soon moved into a teller position.  After nine years, she moved into the lending area processing loan payments. In 2003, she became a banking assistant helping customers with various banking needs. Today, Mary is a Central Loan Services specialist. 

Cheryl Carter, a mortgage banker in SFB's Ladysmith office, recently celebrated her 40th year in the industry. Through her banking career, she has held many positions including teller, compliance officer, BSA officer, HR manager and bank security officer. Carter has experience in the loan department and real estate lending. In 2011, she became a mortgage banker where she continues to enjoy helping  Security Financial Bank customers find their forever home.

Cindy Koller began her career with Security Financial Bank as a teller in December of 1978 and is currently serving as the lead teller of SFB's Durand location. Koller has witnessed and experienced many changes in banking over her 40-year career. In her current role, she relies on the knowledge and experience she has gained to meet the needs of SFB customers and to manage and support the Teller Department and staff in Durand.  

Laurae Mallinson began her banking career in 1972 in bookkeeping. SFB is fortunate to have her as a teller in its Ladysmith office. 

Jean Marcon started at the bank in Ladysmith in 1976, took a short break to have a family and returned in 1978.  She has trained as the backup bookkeeper and ran proof for 18 years. She was promoted to head teller and later became assistant cashier and booked loans.

 Faye Owen was originally hired as the lead system operator and bookkeeping clerk for Security National Bank in Durand in 1977. She later became the supervisor of data processing and bookkeeping. Owen also has supervised the operations and teller staff at the Bank. In 2003, she was appointed as the Bank's security officer and Bank Secrecy Act officer.  Later, Owen was appointed as OFAC officer, Fact Act officer, and in 2015, the roles of ERM officer and compliance officer.

Paul Rudersdorf began his banking career in 1986. Throughout his banking career at several banks, Rudersdorf served different roles including commercial lender, overseeing the Commercial Lending, Credit, Retail, Marketing and Sales and was part of the Executive Management. In 2015, Rudersdorf joined SFB and currently serves as president and CEO.

Julie Sabelko's entire banking career has been with Security Financial Bank.  She started in April, 1988 as a teller and is currently serving as director of quality control.  During her 30-year tenure, she has gained valuable experience in many areas of banking such as teller/customer service, new accounts, deposit and loan operations, data processing, investment portfolio accounting/recordkeeping, accounts payable, shareholder relations, human resources, corporate secretary and supervisory management.

Is Your Credit Holding You Back?

Friday, February 1

As spring approaches, do you find yourself daydreaming about purchasing a new home, remodeling your current home, or maybe even going on vacation? Have you thought about financing your dreams to make them a reality? Now is the time to take steps to ensure your credit will not hold you back. 

  1. Obtain a copy of all three credit reports for free at annualcreditreport.com. It is important to review all three of your credit reports for inaccuracies to your personal information, late payments, accounts that you did not open or even inquires to your credit report that you did not authorize. Not only can these inaccuracies potentially have a negative effect on your credit score, but they could also be warning signs of identity theft.

  2. Review your revolving account balances. A rule of thumb is to utilize a maximum of 35 percent of the revolving debt available to you. You may be tempted to start closing down credit cards with a zero balance, however closing those down might have a negative impact on your credit score if it significantly increases the utilization of your revolving debt.

  3. Meet with your SFB mortgage banker. If you have any questions about your credit or how SFB can help finance your dreams, please contact a Security Financial mortgage banker today.

SFB Announces Recent Promotions

Wednesday, January 16

EAU CLAIRE - Paul Rudersdorf, president and CEO of Security Financial Bank (SFB), is pleased to announce three recent promotions within the organization that include Tyler Mustard, Sheila Uhren and Sara Longdo.

Tyler Mustard has been promoted to senior systems administrator. In his new position, Mustard is responsible for the overall IT helpdesk operations and advanced infrastructure deployments at SFB. Mustard joined SFB in July 2016 as a systems administrator. He earned an associate's degree from Chippewa Valley Technical College in IT-network specialist in 2012.

Sheila Uhren has accepted a new position at SFB as a project manager. She will be responsible for institution-wide projects and project portfolio management. Previously, Uhren served as a desktop support I. Uhren received a bachelor's degree in business administration - information systems in 2018. She has been employed at SFB since 2015.

Both Mustard and Uhren are based out of SFB's administrative office in Eau Claire.

Sara Longdo has been promoted to a travelling universal banker position at SFB. Longdo, who previously served as a teller at the bank, will now be responsible for assisting customers with account openings/closing, providing information on products and services, assisting customers with banking transactions and managing customer accounts and questions. The universal banker role is a blended position, encompassing teller and personal banker responsibilities.

Longdo will be primarily based out of the Bloomer office but will occasionally travel to other branches to provide support. She received a bachelor's degree in business administration from UW-Stout and joined SFB in August 2018.

Non-Profit Sees Increase in Donations Thanks to SFB Support

Wednesday, January 9

EAU CLAIRE - It's that time of year when everyone packs away their holiday decorations and begins organizing for the New Year. Often residents are left with large items that they wish to donate to a local charity but have no means to deliver them. Now with a recent donation from Security Financial Bank (SFB) and a grant from the Eau Claire Community Foundation (ECCF), area residents are in luck.

Chippewa Valley Habitat for Humanity (CVH4H) builds and repairs homes for lower income families that are in need of safe, decent and affordable housing. In 2017, the area non-profit organization opened ReStore, which sells donated furniture, appliances and home furnishings along with construction and remodeling supplies. CVH4H uses 100 percent of the store's proceeds for its local programs. However, the area non-profit was seeing a lack of donations because residents didn't have a vehicle large enough to deliver the used items.

To help solve the problem, Security Financial Bank recently pledged $10,000 to CVH4H for a purchase of a used box truck and storage trailer. The ECCF matched the pledge with a $10,000 grant, and CVH4H was able to purchase a truck to pick up items from donors.

The truck is already seeing a lot of use, according to CVH4H's Executive Director Aaron Czappa. The truck makes on average 10 donation pick-ups a week within a 30-mile radius.

"The best donations always come in on the truck," Czappa said. "The items we pick up are usually large donations from a corporation or estate sale that are too large to deliver. They tend to be a larger quantity as well and are items that are much more needed by our shoppers."

SFB first learned of the need from its Chief Financial Officer/Chief Operating Officer Paul Solyntjes, who serves on Habitat for Humanity's Board of Directors.

"Chippewa Valley Habitat for Humanity is a great organization that changes lives for those who are especially in need of extra help," Solyntjes said. "When Security Financial Bank discovered that a delivery truck was critical for CVH4H to secure more donations, we wanted to do everything we could to help them."

The truck purchase also would not have been possible without the support of the Eau Claire Community Foundation.

"The Eau Claire Community Foundation is thrilled that it could provide a $10,000 grant to help fund Chippewa Valley Habitat for Humanity's much-needed delivery truck. We know that by facilitating donations to the ReStore, this grant will help many families in need finally fulfill their dreams of a new home," said Susan Bornick, executive director of the Eau Claire Community Foundation.

This year, Habitat for Humanity plans to build a new home for a family in Mondovi. In addition, the non-profit organization is starting to do home repair projects for families who own a home but need help with vital renovations.

When individuals donate unwanted items to ReStore, not only does it allow Habitat for Humanity to use the proceeds from the sale of the items to build houses for those in need, but it also has additional benefits for the community in general.

"Without a place to take many of these items, they often end up in landfills," Czappa explained. "Now, the donor can receive a tax write-off instead of a dumpster fee."

In addition, all of the large item donations are saving thousands of pounds of material from entering local landfills on an annual basis, he said.

"This has a great impact on our environment and promotes sustainability initiatives," Czappa explained.

There is no fee for the pick-up service. To make an appointment, contact ReStore at 715-895-8177.

ReStore, which is located at 145 N. Clairemont Ave. in Eau Claire, is open Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. Drop-off donations also are accepted during store hours.

SFB Recognizes Staff with Quarterly Awards

Tuesday, December 11

EAU CLAIRE - Several staff members at Security Financial Bank (SFB) were recently recognized for their outstanding efforts during an all-staff meeting. Employees were nominated by fellow coworkers for their accomplishments during the third quarter of 2018.

The following individuals were recognized:

Tiffany Riske, a personal banker in the Bloomer branch, received the Face of the Bank Award. This award recognizes an employee who consistently offers phenomenal customer service to their internal and external customers, is resourceful and creative in solving customer issues and strives to exceed the customer's expectations in every way.

Krista Paulus, commercial relationship manager at the River Falls branch, was recognized with the Community Impact Award. Paulus was honored for making a significant contribution to the community by offering her time, actions, talent and dedication.

Diane Sinz, commercial/ag banking assistant at the Durand branch, received the Plays Well with Others Award. This award recognizes employees who make a positive impression on others around them - both internally and externally.  Interactions with this person leave a smile on your face and you look forward to working or interacting with them in the future.

Mel Sheehan, director of credit and loan administration in the corporate office located in Eau Claire, received the Champion/Process Improvement Award. This award recognizes employees who identify inefficiencies/problems in work processes and/or procedures, found an innovative solution and transformed internal processes and/or procedures to improve the problem or inefficiency. 

In addition, Mark Chilson from the Durand office earned the Commercial/Ag Lending - Top Performer award, and Bernadette Grochowski, also from the Durand office, received the Mortgage Banking - Top Producer award.

SFB employees more than 100 staff members in six locations. Employees are recognized each quarter.

Security Financial Bank Donates $8,000 to Area Lunch Programs

Monday, December 10

Security Financial Bank (SFB) wants area children to focus on learning - and not worrying about whether they have funds in their accounts to pay for lunch. Earlier this year, the bank started a No Negative Balances campaign in hopes of raising funds and awareness of the issue for the communities they serve. Recently, SFB donated $2,000 each to the Bloomer, Durand-Arkansaw, Eau Claire and River Falls school districts to assist in the payment of negative school lunch account balances. 

In addition, tellers in each location collected funds from customers for the cause. Bloomer raised an additional $267.35, Durand $56, Eau Claire $15 and River Falls $74.83. 

"We hope this helps ease the burden of families who may be facing some extra bills during the holiday season," SFB President and CEO Paul Rudersdorf commented. "We are proud to be a member of each of these communities we serve, and with that, we feel a responsibility to help those in need." 

For those interested in contributing to the cause, please contact a Security Financial Bank office in your community.  

 

SFB Earns Excellence in Financial Education Awards

Monday, November 19

EAU CLAIRE - Several staff members at Security Financial Bank earned recognition recently for their outstanding financial education efforts with an award from the Wisconsin Bankers Foundation (WBF). The following members earned the Certificate of Participation Award for contributing their time and talent to the community:

  • Bloomer - Barb Blum, Tony Hein and Kurt Van Roy
  • Durand - Angie Bryan
  • Eau Claire - Cathy Couey, Amber Doverspike, Darian Prince and Sheila Uhren

The Foundation awarded 29 banks and 13 individual bankers from around the state with Excellence in Financial Education awards on November 14 at a special breakfast during the WBA LEAD360 Conference to honor their commitment to growing financial education in their communities. In addition, 98 bankers received certificates recognizing their contributions of time and talent given to the community through at least five financial education presentations.

From June 2017 through May 2018, nearly 500 bankers from across the state reported over 1,600 personal finance presentations which reached nearly 39,500 consumers of all ages. In the month of April alone, in conjunction with Teach Children to Save Day, bankers from over 30 institutions reported nearly 300 presentations that reached nearly 9,000 students.

"Consumer education is an important part of banking, no matter what the banker's role is at their institution," said WBF Board Chair Rose Oswald Poels, president and CEO of the Wisconsin Bankers Association. "We commend these bankers for their dedication and commitment to improving financial education not only for the benefit of individual consumers, but also the community as a whole."

Shelly Stensen and Becky Seelen Join Security Financial Bank

Monday, November 5

EAU CLAIRE – Shelly Stensen and Becky Seelen recently joined Security Financial Bank (SFB).

Stensen, a financial analyst, has more than 25 years of experience in the banking industry. In her new position, she will be responsible for quarterly regulatory reports, preparing monthly management and Board reports and monitoring and balancing the general ledger. In addition, she will oversee the reconciliation of internal bank accounts, accrual and prepaid accounting and the account payable process.

Stensen earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting and finance from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. She and her husband, Peter, have three children and reside in Augusta. In her free time, she is a volunteer for the Augusta-Bridge Creek Fireman’s Auxillary.

Seelen was named SFB’s new marketing director. Her responsibilities will include marketing, advertising and community relations. Before joining SFB, Seelen served for the past 20 years as the program and administrative services director for the Eau Claire Area Chamber of Commerce. She earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Seelen is active in the community and serves on the Board of Directors for the Boys & Girls Club of the Greater Chippewa Valley, Blugold Beginnings and the Chippewa Valley Museum. She and her husband, Chris, have two children and reside in Eau Claire. Both Stensen and Seelen will work out of the corporate office located in Eau Claire. 

Welcome Pioneer Bank of Wisconsin Customers!

Monday, July 9

We are so excited to welcome the customers of Pioneer Bank of Wisconsin in Ladysmith. If you are a Pioneer Bank customer and you have been routed here from www.pioneerbankwis.com, you will find an outline below of some helpful tips to get you started.

  • Online and mobile banking will be unavailable from approximately 5:00 PM on Friday, July 13th to approximately 9:00 AM on Monday, July 16th.
  • You do not need to re-enroll in online or mobile banking, but you will be prompted to setup new security questions the first time you login.
  • Please delete your Pioneer Bank of Wisconsin mobile app. It will no longer be operational after 5:00 PM on Friday, July 13th. Your new mobile app is called "sfb mobile", and is available on both Apple and android devices. You will be able to access your account on sfb mobile at 9:00 AM on Monday, July 16th.
  • You do not need to re-enter your Bill Pay information, however we ask that you confirm that all items have been transferred properly.
  • You can still use your checks until 6/30/19. You will have until 5/31/19 to order a free replacement box of checks through Security Financial Bank.
  • You will be able to use your new Security Financial Bank debit card any time after 8:00 AM on July 16th.

We appreciate your patience as we make this exciting change! If you have any questions, please contact Security Financial Bank at 888.254.0615.

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