Decorah Bank & Trust Company’s mission is to help its customers achieve their dreams. The Bank is family and employee owned through an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP). Employee-owners have a vested interest in the long-term viability of the Bank and the community it serves. Decorah Bank is a $500 million community bank serving a mix of agriculture, business, and individuals in Northeast Iowa.
The Bank was formed in 1935 and purchased by the Grimstad family in 1960. Today, the third generation of the Grimstad family is involved in leadership of the Bank. In 1987 a minority block of stock was sold to a newly formed ESOP so that employees could participate in the success of the Bank. This has served the Bank well in increasing employee engagement. The Bank has three locations in the cities of Decorah and Cresco (using the name Cresco Bank & Trust Co.) in rural Northeast Iowa. In addition to $500 million in bank assets, the Bank’s Wealth Management division manages approximately $400 million in assets for others. The Bank was named among the top 1% community banks by the Institute for Extraordinary Banking the past three years recognizing employee culture, financial performance, philanthropy, and innovation.
Decorah Bank is governed by an eight member Board of Directors. Five directors are independent members of the community and 3 are Bank employee-owners. Ben Grimstad is CEO and Board Chairman.
Market Focus, Products and Services
Decorah Bank is the leading provider of home mortgage in its market. The Bank offers both long-term fixed rate loans through Freddie Mac which it services, and portfolio loans for self-employed and non-traditional borrowers. The Bank also leads the way in small business lending to locally owned businesses.
Northeast Iowa is rich in fertile soils and agriculture is the leading industry in this landscape, so a third of bank business is in agriculture, including crop and livestock production. In 2000, the Bank started a Trust business since the next closest Trust office is 50 miles away; this addition has grown both Trust and Investment services.
In February 2020, the Bank will introduce greenpenny, a digital-only bank focused on raising deposits which are used to finance clean and renewable energy projects in the U.S.
Benefits of being part of GABV
Decorah Bank has always put customers and community ahead of shareholders when making decisions. More recently the Bank has become a leader in NE Iowa in promoting clean renewable energy and practices to combat climate change. The Bank has financed over 100 solar projects, invested itself in solar, and in 2019 became carbon neutral. Decorah Bank is committed to finding more ways to use finance as a way to promote sustainable practices to create a healthier environment for all. Understanding the Bank is only as strong as its community, it is heavily involved in community projects and non-profit leadership and consistently reinvests 5% of annual profits back into the community.