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When Chris Twibell left the Winnetoon branch of the Brunswick State Bank, he never thought he’d be back.
The Orchard High School alum spent the first five years after graduating from Dakota Wesleyan University at Winnetoon before taking a banking job in Chambers. But 12 years ago, Twibell returned as president and has increased its assets by about $100 million.
“If you would have told me we’d grow to have $130 million (in assets) when I walked in the door almost 12 years ago, I would have laughed,” he admitted.
Twibell said he attributes the growth to the new ownership looking for business and being competitive. Twibell has been with the organization since shortly after it was purchased by the current owners.
“We strive to have good customer service and take care of our customers. They’re our bread and butter,” he said. “We have a different mentality and became a bank.”
Twibell said under new owners the bank became more aggressive in deposits and more competitive with rates. They’ve also diversified their loans and offer commercial and real estate loans, besides agriculture and auto loans.
“We’re trying to show that we can provide you with what you get with the big boys,” he said. “It’s all a balancing act trying to get the right mix.”
Twibell said it was a learning curve as he moved into the presidency. Much has changed under Twibell’s leadership, especially on the digital side of banking.
Although the Brunswick State Bank is located in two small communities, the bank offers online banking and bill pay, something not many small banks offer.
“I’d say 99 percent of people who open an account, that’s the first thing they want to know is how do they get online and what can they do,” Twibell said. “I don’t know if it’s driven a lot of business, but it’s kept a lot of business.”
Another high-tech option customers are taking advantage of, Twibell said, is remote deposits.
“We offer remote deposit for businesses, where they can deposit right from their computers. We provide the scanner, and it’s handy for remote customers,” he said.
Twibell is quick to credit his staff with the organization’s growth and for the technology the bank offers.
“We’re fortunate to have a good staff. They have the expertise and put the time in to make sure we have the right vendors. We’re pretty lucky to have the staff that we do,” Twibell said.
In 2017, the Brunswick State Bank celebrated its 100th anniversary.
“It’s hard to believe a bank in Brunswick has been around for more than 100 years and more successful now than it has been in a long time,” he said. “Winnetoon is also an active branch. Things are going in the right direction.”