The Iowa Bankers Association presented West Bank Chairman and CEO Dave Nelson with the James A. Leach Leadership Award on September 19, 2023 during the Iowa Bankers Association (IBA) Annual Convention at Veterans Memorial Auditorium. The IBA created the Leach Award in 2000 in honor of James A. Leach, a previous chairman of the U.S. House Banking Committee. This annual award honors an Iowa banker who, like Leach, has worked to support and uplift Iowa banking and Iowa communities.
Dave Nelson has exemplified his passion for community banking, supporting local communities and inspiring others to do the same throughout his 39 years in the banking industry. His personal commitment to relationship building is demonstrated in his strong leadership, advocacy on local and national levels and continual involvement in the community.
“Dave Nelson’s contributions to community banking are complemented by his abilities as a strong, charismatic, approachable leader who is personally committed to and invested in the success of his team members and the Bank’s customers,” said Zach Stubbs, vice president of West Bank. “His leadership is best defined by his philosophy that each employee is owed the ‘gift of clarity’ as to what is expected of them and how their development is critical to and reflected in the organization’s success.”
Nelson graduated from Drake University in 1983 and received his MBA at Drake the following year. He began his career in community banking in 1984, becoming a bank president for a bank in Rochester, MN in 1995. He served in that capacity until joining West Bank as CEO in 2010.
During his time here at West Bank, Nelson has made significant contributions both to the success of West Bank and to community banking in Iowa. Under his leadership, West Bank has been repeatedly recognized as one of the best performing banks in America by numerous national publications; in many of those instances, West Bank was one of very few in the Midwest to be recognized.
As an advocate for community banking, Nelson served as chairman of the Iowa Bankers Association during 2016-2017. He now serves on the board of directors for the American Bankers Association (ABA). He regularly travels to Washington, D.C. to talk to representatives in Congress and keeps in regular contact with our elected representatives to consult with them on matters impacting community banks. He previously served on the ABA’s Grassroots Committee, Government Relations Council and Community Bankers Council.
Not only has Nelson been a strong leader within the banking industry, he also demonstrates a passion for supporting the local community through his involvement and leadership roles. He has served a variety of organizations in the Des Moines area including the Greater Des Moines Committee and ChildServe’s board of directors.
His commitment to the West Des Moines community can be seen specifically in his initiative to select a site for the new West Bank headquarters in a West Des Moines location in serious need of redevelopment and revitalization. The new building is expected to open for business in the spring of 2024.
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