By Tara Mathews
LESTER PRAIRIE, MN Lester Prairie native Brooke Jilek is the third generation of Jileks to work at her hometown bank, First Community Bank.
“My grandpa (Loren Jilek) bought this bank when he was in his 20s, and my dad (Douglas Jilek) bought it from him in 2000,” Brooke commented.
After Brooke’s father passed away in March 2013, her mother, Sheila Jilek, stepped in to managing the bank full time.
With the exception of Brooke’s younger brother, Blair, all of the Jilek children worked at the bank during their high school years.
Brooke is the first of the Jilek children to follow in her father’s footsteps and make banking her career.
“My sisters and I worked as tellers at the bank, and all of us have done other odd jobs to help out as the need arose over the years,” Brooke explained.
She likes knowing the names of the people who come into the bank, and thinks it’s an important quality for all employees or owners of a community financial institution.
Brooke enjoys the friendly small-town feel of community banks, she added.
“Customers don’t choose a community bank to just deal with banking. They come to develop a relationship with their banker and tellers also,” she said.
Brooke expressed the importance of having that relationship with customers.
“If customers didn’t want a hometown feel, they would choose a larger bank,” she stated.
Brooke graduated from Lester Prairie High School in 2008.
She attended MSU Mankato to obtain a finance degree.
In January, Brooke began her financial officer position at the bank.
“Brooke is a great addition to the bank, and a wonderful young business person,” commented First Community Bank President and Chief Executive Officer Dean Perry. “She definitely has a bright future as her banking career progresses. She has been instrumental in developing plans to implement e-statements, on-line bill pay, and even mobile banking as the bank looks to provide new services to existing customers while attracting new customers. ”
Brooke lives in Lester Prairie with her mom, and is looking forward to purchasing a home with her soon-to-be husband, Beau Weise.
“I want to live in Lester Prairie, and we plan to buy a house here,” Brooke said.