Howard Lake Herald, November 30, 1998

New Waverly bank president active in many areas

By ANDREA VARGO

There is an old saying, "when you want something done, give it to a busy person."

The person who can get things done in Waverly might just possibly be the new president at Citizens State Bank of Waverly, Jim Vrchota.

He sits on the Maple Lake City Council and is president of the chamber of commerce in Maple Lake, where he lives with his wife, Tammi and four children.

He also holds a place on the board of directors of Minnesota Business Finance, Inc.

Vrchota said he brings to his new job a lot of knowledge in small business administration lending, as well as 17 years experience in banking.

This means one of the things he knows is how to get the best financing for businesses that want to expand or purchase new equipment

Healthy businesses make for good economic growth. Because he is involved in the growth of small businesses, Vrchota was founding chairman of the Economic Development Partnership of Wright County.

He feels a balanced picture is important for Waverly. There is a need for industrial growth to revitalize the area, followed by housing construction for the workers in those businesses.

In Maple Lake, he said, the council worked with the businesses and added or saved about 150 jobs.

"Commercial growth and residential growth feed off of each other," said Vrchota.

He points with pride to the Maple Lake Liquor Store situation.

It seems the old building was in great disrepair and the council chose to move the business to the north side of Highway 55, next to the H & H Sport Shop.

The now, strictly off-sale business is in a newer building and makes a lot more money for the city than the previous location.

But what to do with the old building?

The city found a buyer for the structure, sold it for $1, and got it back on the tax rolls.

The new owner refurbished the old building and brought in several businesses to fill office space. In addition, the new owner remodeled and opened the old laundromat next door.

Vrchota said he is here to help the Waverly grow and flourish. "It's not altruistic. It just makes good business sense," he said.

Sitting next to his growing collection of toy tractors, Vrchota said he has a hands-on feel for the farm community, also.

He grew up in Richfield, but spent many hours on his grandfather's farm in South Dakota, baling hay and doing other farm work.

A University of Minnesota graduate in accounting and finance with a masters degree, Vrchota is far removed from the family business.

His dad was an appliance serviceman, and Vrchota worked with him for awhile.

"I thought I would always work with my dad, but he steered me out of the refrigeration business," said Vrchota.

Like most parents, his dad wanted more for his son, than what he had himself.

"My first choice was engineering. I went to Winona State to wrestle, but I transferred to the U of M," he said.

Struggling in physics, he turned to accounting, which he hated.

Explained Vrchota, "Strategy number one was to get to like a job where I could make decent money."

He took 30 and 36 credits in his senior year to transfer into finance. He was looking to get in with a stockbroker, he said.

He got his chance with ITT Consumer Finance, the old Thorpe Credit company.

From there, he made a series of job moves to give himself more and varied experiences: Norwest, State Bank of New Prague, Bank of Excelsior, Marquette Bank, and his last position at the Security State Bank of Maple Lake.

He has gone from consumer lending to commercial lending, becoming vice-president of the Maple Lake bank and finally president at Citizens State Bank of Waverly.

"Each place I go, I learn something new. I can do everything from loans on airplanes and large sailing vessels to small business loans," he said.

One of Vrchota's most unusual loans was when one of his clients sold a $1.5 million yacht he brought from the Orient. It had all the fancy stuff, he said, gold inlaid faucets and a lot of teak wood.

So, if you need to expand your business, buy an airplane, or need someone on your committee, you might call Vrchota. He is retiring as president of the Maple Lake Chamber of Commerce in December, and may have a few minutes of free time.


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