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Keep up with whats happening at SFB and in the surrounding community. We care about making a difference.

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

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. 

SFB Employees to Volunteer in Community on Columbus Day

Monday, October 1

In celebration of Columbus Day, Security Financial Bank (SFB) will be closed on Monday, October 8, 2018. But SFB employees won't be sleeping in during the federal holiday. Instead, employees are using the day off as an opportunity to volunteer in the communities they serve.

"As a community bank, SFB cares about the community. Columbus Day is a perfect opportunity for our employees to give back to various organizations and help to continue to make Western Wisconsin a great place to live," explained Paul Rudersdorf, SFB president and chief executive officer.

SFB has six branches in five cities throughout western Wisconsin as well as a corporate office in Eau Claire. Employees will be volunteering in the following locations:

Eau Claire Branch - SFB employees will be volunteering at the Eau Claire Children's Theatre pruning and weeding landscaping as well as cleaning, sorting items and painting inside the theatre.

Durand Branch - SFB employees plan to clean veterans' markers at the Veterans' Memorial and will paint the shelter and tables at Tarrant Park.

Bloomer Branch - SFB employees will stain 70 picnic tables and benches as well as park equipment in various Bloomer parks.

River Falls Branch - SFB employees will price merchandise and organize the store for Big Brothers Big Sisters.

Ladysmith Branches - SFB employees will prepare and assist with Meals on Wheels for the Rusk County Aging and Disability Center.

Corporate Office - SFB employees will help Big Brothers Big Sisters with power washing and cleaning windows, painting outside and pulling weeds around the building. In addition, employees will help Habitat for Humanity move inventory and paint as well as assemble 1,000 financial literacy kits for the United Way of the Greater Chippewa Valley.

Security Financial Bank is locally-owned bank focused on business and agriculture. SFB strives to provide products and services that exceed its customers' needs and provides guidance that enables them to succeed.

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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