Dec. 11 , 2006

Flagship Bank Winsted is new name for local bank

By Linda Scherer
Staff Writer

Community Bank Winsted has changed its name to Flagship Bank Winsted.

Even though the name is a new one, this is an established local bank, providing the identical services as in the past, with the same employees and staff.

Flagship Bank Winsted began as Citizens State Bank of Winsted in 1932. The bank was purchased by Roy Terwilliger’s bank group in 1989 from local owners Ralph Rathmanner and Dick Sterner.

Terwilliger is currently the chairman of the Winsted bank’s board of directors and also chairman of its holding company.

The Winsted bank had its first name change in 1994, when it became Community Bank Winsted. At that time, the bank was affiliated with eight banks. Four of them in the Minnesota River Valley were recently sold to Hometown Bank of Redwood Falls so the banking group could concentrate on the metropolitan area banks. Terms of the sale were not disclosed, though the branches have combined assets of $55 million.

After the sale, the offices remaining were Winsted, Wayzata, Eden Prairie, and Jordan.

Wayzata, Eden Prairie and Jordan are one bank charter and Winsted is a separate bank charter. In other words, the holding company owns two banks; one bank owns three offices and Winsted has one office.

The new name, Flagship Bank Winsted, came about because of the growing number of banking groups using community as part of their name, including banks in Long Lake, Chaska, Chanhassen, and Plymouth. It was decided that it would save a lot of confusion if the name would be changed once again to differentiate this banking group from others.

“There wasn’t an identity problem in the Winsted bank, but to be consistent with the organization, it was decided to change the name of the bank in Winsted with the bank that is located in the metropolitan area. We saw a problem situation and felt we needed to be proactive and make a change,” Flagship Bank Winsted President Roger Boyce said.

A focus group of approximately 100 people were given various names that described strength, good character, stability, and safety. The group consensus was Flagship had more appeal than some of the other names.

Boyce has been president of Flagship Bank Winsted since 1991. He is originally from Nebraska, but moved from Iowa, where he had been working at another bank.

“It was the best move of my life. This is a great community. When we first moved up here, our kids were just out of junior high and elementary and now, all three of them are out of college,” Boyce said.

Boyce talked about the need to keep up with the times and with technology.

He remembered when he first got into banking and the old counter checks that were so popular in small towns. Local grocery stores would have stacks of blank checks available for anyone who forgot their checks at home.

With the counter checks, there were numerous problems, including fraud. The counter checks were completely done away with and from there, it was decided that personalized checks were the way to go.

“I have been in banking since 1970 and have probably seen more changes in the last five to seven years than I have seen in the previous 30-plus. One of the things that has happened to banking, as in so many other industries, is the quantum leaps in computer technology and its effect on banking. We are not on the front edge of that wave, but we are trying to keep up with the changes,” Boyce said.

Winsted bank customers will see one of the bigger changes beginning this month in an imaging process that will be used for processing cancelled checks.

The actual cancelled check will be replaced with the check’s image. A number of check images will appear on one sheet of paper in sequential order. The image is a legal document. The actual cancelled checks will be shredded after 30 days.

After the check images and statement have been reconciled with the checking account, they can be placed in a one-inch, three-ring binder that should hold all of the check images and statements for a year for the average customer. It will make it easy to locate information, including tax data at the end of the year.

The new check-imaging process provides a visual of an upgrade in technology at the Winsted bank.

Cancelled checks were previously sorted by magnetic ink character recognition (MICR) coding at the bottom of the cancelled check. The sorter was the size of three refrigerators (see photo).

It is being replaced by a piece of equipment that takes up a small corner of a desk (see photo). The image reader reads the MICR coding, endorses it for the bank, images it, and stores it in the computer.

Boyce also talked about the convenience of the debit card. A debit card is just like writing a check. Merchants are willing to take the debit card because the card will be rejected if there are no funds. With a check, they run the risk that the check can be returned for insufficient funds.

Boyce still likes to write checks to pay his bills, but he became a believer in the card when he attended his grandmother’s funeral about seven years ago in Nebraska.

He and his family left home early Saturday morning without thinking about bringing any cash. They did not even have a full tank of gas.

He figured he could use a credit card to pay for the gas, but did not have any cash in his pocket to buy breakfast.

Boyce walked in the convenience store and there was an ATM machine. “I got the money I needed, and didn’t have to show an ID, or have a manager come out,” he said.

“I thought, ‘is this a great country or what?’ I was back on my way, and I have been a believer in the debit card ever since,” Boyce said.

Although Flagship Bank Winsted will continue to keep up with technology and make technological changes, the bank still feels the most important element is the human element.

“We still want to see that personal touch. We try to know the person when they come in, and every time they come in they should not have to make out a new application to do business with us. And if I don’t know you when you walk in, about two or three other people can call you by name,” Boyce said.

Community Club

Anyone who is a customer of Flagship Bank Winsted and is 50 years or older can be a Community Club member. There are a number of special “perks” when you’re a part of the club. Check it out at www.flagshipbanks.com.

Community Club members recently donated 171 pounds of food to the McLeod Emergency Food Shelf.

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