Ten Complete Leadership Programs at Citizens Bank Minnesota

Citizens Bank Minnesota is pleased to announce that ten staff members have completed the Citizens Leadership Program. The program, which includes Citizens Leadership Academy and Citizens Leadership Course, was developed to grow leadership skills as well as develop personal and professional growth. 

The Citizens Leadership Academy (CLA) is an internal two-year program that was developed to prepare staff to take on leadership roles in the organization as opportunities arise. The Bank looks for individuals who have a commitment to Citizens, and also have a desire to achieve extraordinary accomplishments through a leadership role. In 2019, six completed the program: Nicole Anderson, Joan Forstner, Laura Franta, Judy Hahn, Tanya Hillesheim, and Sarah Seifert.  Anderson, Loan Processor/Administrative Assistant, LaSalle Branch, has 8 years with the Bank; Forstner, Systems Operator/Bookkeeper, has 15 years with the Bank; Franta, Sr. Client Service Representative, has 4 years with the Bank; Hahn, Loan Processor/Administrative Assistant, has 14 years with the Bank; Hillesheim, Loan Processor/Administrative Assistant, has 5 years with the Bank, and Seifert, Digital Marketing Coordinator, has 7 years with the Bank.

2019 Citizens Leadership Academy Graduates:
Tanya Hillesheim, Joan Forstner, Nicole Anderson, Judy Hahn, Laura Franta, Sarah Seifert

The Citizens Leadership Course (CLC) is an internal one-year program that was developed to prepare staff to take on leadership roles within their department as opportunities arise. The Bank looks for individuals who have a commitment to Citizens, and have a desire to take on more responsibilities within their current departments. In 2019, four completed the program: Lori Dummer, Ashley Eckstein, Denise Fischer, and Kay Meinzer. Dummer, Marketing Assistant, has 4 years with the Bank; Eckstein, Systems Operator/Bookkeeper, has 6 years with the Bank; Fischer, Insurance Agent/Administrative Assistant, has 2 ½ years with Citizens Agency; and Meinzer, Personal Banker, has 6 years with the Bank.  

2019 Citizens Leadership Course Graduates:
Denise Fischer, Ashley Eckstein, Kay Meinzer, Lori Dummer

Currently, there are 17 staff members in the Citizens Leadership Academy who will complete their programs at year-end 2020.   

Mark Denn Promoted to President/CEO of Citizens Bank Minnesota

Mark Denn, President/CEO

Citizens Bank Minnesota is pleased to announce the promotion of Mark Denn to President/Chief Executive Officer. Denn joined Citizens, La Salle Branch, in 2000 as the Branch Manager. He is a 1987 graduate of Madelia High School, a 1992 graduate of the University of Minnesota, Morris and a 2003 graduate of the Graduate school of Banking at the University of Wisconsin. In addition to his banking career, Denn operates a corn/soybean farm near Madelia and serves on the Madelia Fire Department.

Dustan Cross, Citizens Board of Directors Chairperson, said in a statement, “The Board of Directors is excited to have Mark take over leadership of Citizens.  With his extensive banking experience and a personal agricultural background, Mark will be able to lead Citizens into the 21st Century with exciting new products and opportunities for its customers while continuing to maintain the integrity and professionalism that has distinguished Citizens throughout its history.”

Citizens has its home office in New Ulm and branch offices in Lafayette, Lakeville and La Salle, with total assets of $430 million.

Lou Geistfeld, President/CEO of Citizens Bank Minnesota Is Retiring After 38 Years Of Service

Lou Geistfeld, President and CEO of Citizens Bank Minnesota, will retire on Tuesday, December 31, 2019 after forty-four years in the banking industry; thirty-eight of those with Citizens.

Geistfeld, a native of Vernon Center, MN, began his career in 1975 as an Assistant Bank Examiner for the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and later became a Commissioned Bank Examiner. He joined Citizens in 1981 as an Assistant Vice President and was promoted to President/CEO in 1987. After his retirement from Citizens, he will remain an active member of the Board of Directors where he has served as a Director since August of 1987.

When Geistfeld joined Citizens, the bank had one main location in New Ulm, assets of $44 million and approximately thirty employees. Since becoming President in 1987, Geistfeld has been instrumental in growing the company through the acquisition of an insurance agency and the addition of three branch offices located in Lafayette, LaSalle and Lakeville, MN. Currently at ninety-nine employees, the company has grown to assets of $430 million. Bauer Financial, an independent bank research firm, has consistently rated Citizens a 5-Star financial institution for the past 30 years.

Outside of Citizens, Geistfeld has served the community in many roles through involvement with the City of New Ulm, New Ulm Area Chamber of Commerce, New Ulm Economic Development Corporation, New Ulm Area Community Fund, New Ulm Country Club, Rotary, New Ulm Jr. Baseball Association, Legion Baseball Committee, New Ulm Youth Football, New Ulm Basketball Association, and as a co- founder of the Eagles Baseball and Football Boosters.

Other accomplishments include serving on the Minnesota Bankers Association Board of Directors and the Minnesota Professional Sports Franchise Task Force, as well as being named Banker of the Year by Northwestern Financial Review in 2013.

Dustan Cross, Citizens Board of Directors Chairperson, said in a statement, “For over 35 years, Lou Geistfeld has been the face and soul of Citizens.  He has led the bank through every type of economic environment, and has always maintained safe and sound lending practices, while ensuring that Citizens is a leader in partnering with its customers in making their visions a reality.  He has deservedly gained the respect of his peers, the community and the Bank’s shareholders, directors, and employees through hard work, diligence, and the highest standards of integrity and honesty.  As Citizens moves forward into the 21st Century, his legacy and leadership will be evident in the senior management team that succeeds him; a team that he has fostered and trained for many years.  On behalf of the shareholders and Directors of Citizens, we wish Lou and Jean all the best and thank them for their innumerable contributions to our Bank and our communities.”

Citizens announced in January of 2019, that in anticipation of Geistfeld’s retirement, Mark Denn had been appointed Executive Vice President, and would take on the role of President/Chief Executive Officer beginning January 2, 2020. Denn is a 1987 graduate of Madelia High School, a 1992 graduate of the University of Minnesota, Morris, and a 2003 graduate of the Graduate School of Banking at the University of Wisconsin. He has been the manager of the bank’s office in LaSalle, MN since he started with the bank in 2000.

Lou Geistfeld, said in a statement, “I am grateful for the opportunity provided to me by the Board of Directors and stockholders of Citizens Bank Minnesota to serve as their CEO for the past 32 years. During that time, I have been blessed with the greatest group of dedicated and conscientious bankers that you could ever hope to work with and board directors that would always listen and consider new ideas. I will always be proud of what has been accomplished but more importantly, I am confident that our new management team will continue on the same path and continue to grow and improve Citizens. I am looking forward to retirement and that will be easier to do knowing that I left the bank in such good hands.”An Open House will be held on Friday, January 10, 2020, from 7:00 – 9:00 p.m. at the New Ulm Country Club in New Ulm. All friends, clients and well-wishers are welcome. Citizens would like to thank Lou for his dedicated service throughout the years.

Kevin Yager To Retire After 27 Years Of Service.

After twenty-seven years, Kevin Yager, Senior Vice President of Citizens Bank Minnesota, Lafayette Branch, will retire on Tuesday, December 31, 2019.

Yager joined Citizens, Lafayette Branch, in December 1992 as a Vice President, Agricultural Lender. He was a graduate of the Graduate School of Banking at the University of Colorado and was most recently promoted to Senior Vice President in January of 2019. Kevin is retiring with 44 years of Agricultural Lending experience including Crop Insurance Sales.

Outside of Citizens, Yager has served the community in many roles through involvement with the South-Central College Farm Business Management Advisory Committee, U of M Dairy Diagnostics Team, Chairman of St. Paul’s School Campaign Committee as well as various committees and boards at the school and church, and as a volunteer youth coach in baseball, hockey and softball. Yager has been a part of the Hub Club for 30 years, receiving the Service to Ag award in 2010, serving two terms as President of the Club and now serves as a Director on their Board of Directors as Event Chairperson.

An Open House will be held on Tuesday, December 17th from 2:00 – 4:00 p.m. in the Citizens, Lafayette Branch lobby. All friends, clients and well-wishers are welcome. Citizens would like to thank Kevin for his dedicated service throughout the years. Kevin and his wife, Cheri, will continue to reside in New Ulm after his retirement.

National Cybersecurity Awareness Month

Held every October, National Cybersecurity Awareness Month (NCSAM) is a collaborative effort between government and industry to raise awareness about the importance of cybersecurity and to ensure that all Americans have the resources they need to be safer and more secure online.

Citizens Bank Minnesota has a ‘Trending Security Topics’ page on our website that gets updated monthly with new articles about cybercrime, scams and fraud. Be sure to visit the page often to get the latest news and resources to keep yourself safer online!

Harvest 2019

As an eventful and often times stressful 2019 crop season comes to an end with harvest approaching, we would encourage all farmers to consider the following:

  • Farm Safety
    • Please check to make sure all safety equipment (I.E. – safety shields, fire extinguishers, etc.) is in place and in working order.
    • Be especially careful and diligent around any moving equipment and/or parts, don’t assume anything as things happen faster than we expect.
    • Make sure to use your flashers and be aware of your surroundings.
    • Wear protective and reflective clothing. 
    • When working around/in grain bins, use all appropriate safety equipment and if at all possible have a 2nd person around in case of emergency.
  • Crop Insurance
    • Be aware of your crop insurance coverage as area yields are expected to be highly variable and the chances you will have a claim have increased.
    • If you notice that your yields are potentially near or below your insurance guarantees, contact your crop insurance agent immediately to file a claim.
    • Crop Insurance Claims need to be filed within 10 days of harvest completion.
    • Please keep load records of yields from each farm and mark your bins if you are co-mingling production from several farm units.
    • If you are co-mingling 2019 crop with 2018 crop inventory, you need to request a measurement of the 2018 crop on hand.
    • We recommend reporting your yields as quickly as possible post-harvest while the data is still readily available.
    • New for this year, RMA has extended the premium due date to be postmarked no later than Nov. 30th.  Please keep this in mind as should the bill not be postmarked by the Nov. 30th deadline, all interest will be retroactive to Oct. 1st.  
  • Farm Finances
    • Do you have a marketing plan built into your 2019 cash-flow projection and are you adhering to it? Do you know/remember your break-even commodity prices?  Should we end up with a short crop this fall, you may have opportunities for selling crop during and/or after harvest and you need to stay aware of potential opportunities the market may give you.
    • Have you signed up for the 2019 MFP program payment? The deadline to do so is Dec. 6th. Have you thought about how this payment affects your cash flow?
    • Have you signed up for either the ARC or PLC program? The deadline to do so is Mar. 15th.
    • If you utilize an operating line of credit, does your 2019 line have enough availability to cover your expected fall expenses? If there are expected 2020 prepaid expenses being purchased prior to year-end, do you have a 2020 operating line of credit in place?
    • If you are expecting to seal your grain and potentially utilize FSA’s CCC loan program, please notify and consult your operating lender prior to doing so.
  • Capital Replacement Plan
    • Do you have a capital replacement plan?
    • As producers we often evaluate and consider our equipment needs during fall harvest while spending time in the cabs. Is there a year potential year end purchase you are considering?
    • Have you considered Citizens Bank Minnesota for financing these potential needs? We offer very competitive interest rates and flexible repayment terms.

2019 has been a challenging and stressful year when considering trade wars, low commodity prices, wet spring planting weather, and the unknown of what fall harvest will bring.  If you or someone you know needs or wants to talk to someone, please remember that the MN Extension’s Farm and Rural Helpline is available by contacting them at 1-833-600-2670 ext. 1.  From all of us at Citizens Bank Minnesota, we wish you a safe and prosperous harvest!

**Save the Date! Join us on January 16, 2020, from 8:00 AM – 11:00 AM at the New Ulm Event Center for our Ag Seminar, featuring Frayne Olson, PhD – Crops Economist/Marketing Specialist and Director – Quentin Burdick Center for Cooperatives at North Dakota State University. To learn more about Dr. Olson, visit: https://www.agweek.com/business/agriculture/4463910-agweek-market-extra-frayne-olson-north-dakota-state-university

By: Justin Gode, Vice President/Lender

Member FDIC/Equal Housing Lender

INVESTMENT AND INSURANCE PRODUCTS: Are Not Insured by the FDIC or any other federal government agency • Are not deposits of or guaranteed by a Bank or any Bank Affiliate • May Lose Value

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