Chippewa Valley finds opportunity in SuperiorFor years, Chippewa Valley Bank has been looking for a Superior site. As soon as they backed off and focused on opening a new bank in Ashland, a golden opportunity came their way. Chippewa Valley Bank CEO Rick Gerber found out Superior Bank might be for sale.
By: Maria Lockwood, Superior Telegram
For years, Chippewa Valley Bank has been looking for a Superior site. As soon as they backed off and focused on opening a new bank in Ashland, a golden opportunity came their way. Chippewa Valley Bank CEO Rick Gerber found out Superior Bank might be for sale.
“It’s a hard decision to take on two offices at the same time,” Gerber said. But the opportunity was too great to pass up — a great location, an existing customer base and room to grow in a city that is poised for a job boom.
“We feel Superior has a very strong future in front of it and it is going to take off here,” Gerber said. “So we want to be part of that.”
So Chippewa Valley Bank is buying Superior Bank. It is slated for conversion on Aug. 20.
The sale must still be approved by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions and the Federal Reserve. Although approval seems likely, Superior Bank President Tom Germann declined to give particulars of the sale. He did say they negotiated at length with Chippewa Valley Bank and were very comfortable with them.
“It’s a very good fit for our customer base,” Germann said. “And that was important to us.”
The building at 2820 E. Second St. will remain intact and account numbers will stay the same, Gerber said. Only the name will change. Current employees will be retained as well.
“Our goal is to keep the same staff,” Gerber said, and the bank’s history bears that out. Five years ago, when Chippewa Valley Bank purchased existing banks in Bayfield and Iron River they kept every person who was on staff the day they opened. All are still employed at the banks today, Gerber said.
The products and services offered at both banks should mesh well, Gerber said. Superior Bank customers can expect an expanded menu of options — more IRA choices, more checking account, money market and CD options and a new Health Savings Account offering.
“We act and feel like a small community bank, but we offer all the services any major national bank would,” Gerber said. “Internet banking, bill pay, we offer it all.”
Chippewa Valley Bank, which has 12 locations in northwestern Wisconsin, focuses on basic, customer-friendly products without a lot of fees.
“Our strongest asset in all of our communities is our customer-friendly service,” Gerber said.
Chippewa Valley Bank started in 1917 in Winter, Wis. Over the years, banks in Radisson, Bruce, Hayward, Weyerhaeuser, Lake Nebagamon, Lac du Flambeau, Bayfield, Iron River and Washburn were added. The new Ashland bank opened in May. Of the 12 banks, seven have been built from the ground up.
Gerber and his brother, Gary, have been involved in Chippewa Valley Bank for more than 30 years.
The bank’s growth is a point of pride for the brothers. They took the bank from $8 million in assets in the 1980s to $300 million today.
“I’m proud of the fact that we’ve grown,” Gerber said. “Every year has been better than the year before.” He credits luck and good business decisions for that success. The bank stayed in its area of expertise and it stayed in the local geographic area. Now, it is poised to move into Superior.
“I think it’s a great place to be,” Gerber said.