Winsted-Lester Prairie Journal, April 2, 2001

Jileks offer personal, hometown banking

By Patrice Waldron

The Jileks are from the area, and they believe in the area. It was like returning home when Doug and Shelia Jilek bought First Community Bank in Lester Prairie and First Community Bank in Silver Lake.

The couple purchased the banks when Doug's father, Loren Jilek, retired last December.

Three months ago, they had to go to a bank to purchase a bank, and have been very busy ever since.

Some of Shelia's duties include doing the payroll for both banks, handling the Blue Cross/Blue Shield transactions, handling Medica, file updates, and the things others don't have time to complete.

"I couldn't do it without Shelia, she's taken a lot of pressure off me," said Doug.

The time the pair spends at work is divided between the two banks. About 70 percent of their time is spent in Silver Lake, and the remainder in Lester Prairie.

Doug's father, Loren, bought the Lester Prairie bank in 1969. Doug got his first taste of banking while a teenager, doing typing, filing, and acting as clerk for auctions.

"I was allowed to test the waters, to see if I was interested in banking, but I wasn't pressured by my father,"said Doug.

Both Doug and Shelia are graduates of Lester Prairie High School. Doug spent a year at University of Minnesota - Duluth, studying finance and business administration, and then, finished his degree at College of St. Thomas in St. Paul.

While attending school in St. Paul he was a full-time student and a part-time bank teller, working for First Bank.

He worked at First Bank from 1980 until 1990. After graduating from college, he went to work for First Bank full-time.

He gained experience working as a personal banker, taking care of customer needs, such as loans, assisting with checking accounts, taking care of many phases of banking.

Later, Doug held a position where, when First Bank would take over another bank, Doug would be one of the people who would go on site to train the new employees on the First Bank system, computer software, and how First Bank operates.

Doug left his job at First Bank, when, in 1990, he was offered a cashier/loan officer position at First Community Bank in Lester Prairie.

He spent the last five years as the Managing, executive, vice-president of the Silver Lake bank.

Since their bank purchase, Doug is the president, chief executive officer (CEO) of the Lester Prairie and Silver Lake banks. Doug and Shelia gained bank ownership when they gained a majority of the shares of Prairie Bancshares, Inc.

The Silver Lake bank was bought by Loren Jilek in 1992. to strengthen the company.

"We knew the area and felt that we'd be accepted. Both my parents and my grandparents are from Silver Lake," said Doug.

In order remain independent, and stay strong, it's important to expand the customer base, he explained.

The Jileks are able to offer hometown banking with personalized service, offering the customer service to keep the bank patrons they do have.

"Between the two banks, I feel like I know the customers," said Doug.

The Jileks also believe in being active in the community. With the activities of their four children, they have lots of chances to give something back to the community.

They are involved in the Lester Prairie Business Association and the Lions Club in Silver Lake. Shelia is active in Junior Olympic volleyball, co-chairman of the after prom committee, and was, at one time, very involved in Girl Scouts.

Being involved in community activities allows Doug to get to know the customers. One must keep in mind that the bank is still a business.

"Part of my job is to protect customers from becoming overextended," said Doug.

Once a year, a personal stop is made to all of the larger credit holders, such as businesses, industry, and farmers.

"I've got a pretty good grip on who we're lending to," said Doug.

As a business, the banking world is changing. Traditionally, people used to bank where they lived, now people bank where they work.

It used to be that in the banking business, you'd wait for the customers to come to you, now we have to take a proactive approach and attract the customers to the bank, explained Doug.

In order to remain competitive, the bank must grow with the changes. Within the next six months, they hope to add some technological advances, and expend services to offer 24 hour telephone banking. Further down the line, they hope to add internet banking.

One fact they can boast about is having a CAMELS one rated bank. This is the highest rating in the banking industry and is based on:

C - Capital of bank.

A - Assets (loans).

M - Management.

E - Earnings.

L - Liquidity.

S - Market rate Sensitivity.

Doug and Shelia believe in their banking business, and are able to offer a personalized touch. They are proud of what they can offer, and are ready to serve you.

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