By Ivan Raconteur
LESTER PRAIRIE, MN Lester Prairie resident Douglas Jilek, president/CEO of First Community Bank Lester Prairie and First Community Bank Silver Lake, was elected chairman of the Independent Community Bankers of Minnesota (ICBM) during the association’s annual convention Aug. 6-9.
The honor is the latest step in Jilek’s banking career, which has spanned nearly 30 years.
He describe his new post as “an exciting challenge,” and said he feels fortunate to have the chance to serve as chairman.
“It is an honor that my peers wanted me to serve,” Jilek said.
The ICBM represents more than 550 independent Minnesota community bank locations with assets exceeding $21 billion.
The state has more independent community banks than any other state in the nation, Jilek said.
Jilek served as ICBM’s vice-chairman from 2008 to 2009, and served six years as a director for District 6. He has also been a member of the ICBM’s legislative committee.
Jilek said he believes it is important to take an active role in the association, and he intends to use his energy to try to get more community bankers involved, as well.
In May 2008 and May 2009, Jilek traveled with about 25 other community bankers to Washington, DC to meet with congressmen.
Jilek said one thing he has learned is not to assume that elected officials understand issues.
He even had congressmen ask him ‘What did you do with the TARP (Troubled Asset Relief Program) money?”
He said he had to explain to some congressmen that independent community banks did not receive TARP money, and were not part of the bank bailout.
“Don’t assume they know,” Jilek said. “You have to make your voice heard.”
The ICBM has been successful in getting community bankers to meet with legislators in St. Paul, Jilek said, but his goal is to significantly increase the number of members who travel to Washington to meet with legislators there.
Jilek said one thing the group accomplished by traveling to Washington in May of this year was convincing regulators to reduce the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) special assessment on insured institutions from 20 basis points to five basis points.
The special assessment was part of a restoration plan for the FDIC’s Deposit Insurance Fund.
Jilek said Main Street banks did not cause the problems on Wall Street, but they are being asked to subsidize the large institutions that did.
His main goal as chairman will be to increase the ICBM membership statewide.
Jilek and ICBM president/CEO Marshall MacKay plan to do this by traveling across the state and talking to independent community banks that are not ICBM members, and explaining the benefits of becoming a member.
A broad range of banking experience
Jilek started his career in 1980 as a bank teller for US Banks.
In 1982, he earned a finance/business degree from the College of St. Thomas. After graduation, he continued to work as a personal banker at US Banks, and served as a director at First Community Bank Lester Prairie.
Jilek began full-time employment at First Community Bank Lester Prairie in 1990, and later was promoted to vice president at First Community Bank Silver Lake.
Jilek became president/CEO of the both the Silver Lake and Lester Prairie offices in 2000.
In 2007, Jilek was appointed to a three-year term on the board of the Bank Holding Company Association (BHCA), a non-profit trade association that serves the educational needs of bank holding companies in Minnesota, Wisconsin, North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, and the upper peninsula of Michigan.
Outside of his banking duties, Jilek serves as treasurer for the Lester Prairie Foundation for Education.
He also enjoys coaching his son in football, basketball, and baseball.
Jilek is carrying on a family banking tradition that was started by his father, Loren Jilek, who began working at First Community Bank Lester Prairie in 1963, and was president of the institution prior to Douglas taking over as president/CEO. Loren’s wife, Miriam, worked at the bank, as well.
Douglas’ wife, Sheila, also works in the bank as vice president/human resources officer, and their three daughters have all worked in the bank.
Association supports community banks
The ICBM, which is headquartered in Eagan, is dedicated to keeping community banks competitive for the benefit of their customers and the communities they serve.
According to Jilek, the association offers education, state legislative representation, compliance and technology networks, an annual convention, a technology trade show, and an array of products and services tailored to the needs of independent community bankers.
“The ICBM’s value is to keep community banking strong and vital on the main streets of Minnesota,” Jilek said. “ We need to remain independent to give our customers the service they deserve. These have been trying times, but community banks still remain strong.”