West Bank opened the doors of its Rochester business bank on April 1, 2013. This event marked West Bank’s first expansion beyond the Iowa borders. We are celebrating our 5 year anniversary in Minnesota this month.
Back in 2013, our Chief Executive Officer, Dave Nelson, recruited his former colleagues, Mike Zinser, Mike Schletty and Michele Sursely to build the new Minnesota customer base. The team soon became referred to within West Bank as Minnesota 3M (Mike, Mike and Michele).
Starting with zero customers and a small business condo, the Rochester team, including Nelson, used their strong reputations and connections to grow the bank to profitability in just 9 months of operations. Eventually the team was expanded with the addition of Don Paulson and Natalie Jones, and most recently Deb Anderson, also former longtime Nelson colleagues.
The Rochester team has a combined experience of nearly 200 years, and are all very respected in the Rochester business and banking community. Adding to the strength of the team was an original 15 member Community Board of Directors, a group which in 2013 earned the Post Bulletin headline “West Bank lines up Who’s Who of Rochester Business Leaders”.
West Bank opened our dynamic new bank building in late 2016, located on ever expanding West Circle Drive. The building exhibits a sophisticated architectural design and is accentuated with modern technology such as its state of the art drive through and interactive teller machines. The project was designed by HGA Architects and Engineers, under the direction of Hal Henderson of Rochester. The building was constructed by general contractor A.B. Systems of Rochester, led by Pete Schuller.
“Our company has constructed over 2,000 buildings in our 40-year history,” said Schuller, “and this facility has, without question, the most unique design and is the most attractive that A.B. Systems has ever constructed.”
The 15,000 sq. ft. building with 18 ft. ceilings includes a top floor board room with an interior lounge and a dynamic outdoor rooftop terrace, which allows bankers and leadership to spend time developing relationships with their customers and other community members. These areas provide miles of beautiful views that include the downtown skyline extending to St. Mary’s campus in southwest Rochester as well as many miles of West Circle Drive NW, both to the north and the south.
Mike Zinser, Rochester President, said “Our Rochester team feels most days like we have gone back in time 20 years, to a time when banking was fun and personal relationships were the cornerstone of banking.” Zinser continued “To be back together with Dave, and joining our new West Bank family has been an incredible blessing, and we are grateful to be part of such a great group of people in Des Moines and Iowa City.”
West Bank is pleased that we have provided over $250,000,000 in business loans to Rochester businesses since we opened in 2013, and well over 100 businesses have moved their banking relationship to us during that time. We are very proud of the first class team we have assembled, the customers that have joined us and the strong reputation we continue to earn in the Rochester business community. We look forward to being the leading business bank in Rochester for many years to come.