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Anchor moments in history

50 years of Anchor Bank

In 1967, North Shore State Bank in Wayzata had a new owner, and a new vision. With just about four employees and $1.7 million in assets, the bank began its journey to becoming a successful community bank. Over the course of 50 years, the bank became Anchor Bank and opened 17 other locations. Take a walk with us down memory lane as we reflect on 50 years of Anchor Bank history.


Udderly amused

There was a lot to celebrate at our finance team’s holiday party in December 2015, but the most memorable moment came when Chief Financial Officer Dennis Nisler got a surprise birthday gift. Inside the box was a cow costume. After some convincing and monetary motivation (which went to charity), Dennis put on the costume and walked around the Pool and Yacht Club in St. Paul. There were a lot of guests there that gave Dennis quite a look of amazement, and many laughs. The money collected for his cow strut went to an organization called Place of Hope.

Dennis Nisler cow suit image


Meet Jenny Vos – administrative assistant – commercial banking

Jenny Vos began her career in customer service at a young age. She began her banking career at Wells Fargo as a teller, vault teller, receptionist, customer service representative and records manager. She had a desire to work more “behind the scenes” in banking, and she found an opportunity at Anchor Bank. She started working in the Small Business Administration department, where she did administrative work and worked on some small SBA loans. She stayed with that department for over nine years. Recently, Jenny joined the commercial banking team as an administrative assistant.

Jenny lives in New Brighton with her husband, son (7), daughter (4), and dog (8-year-old German Shephard). Jenny and her husband met in college – she went to St. Ben’s and he went to St. John’s. They frequently go back to watch football games or meet up with old friends.

Read on to get to know Jenny a little more.

Jenny Vos family image

Q.   Best part of the job?
A.   The best part of my job is definitely the people I work with. I think who you work with makes such a big difference in whether you enjoy your job or not, so I definitely appreciate the relationships that I have at work.

Q.   Do you have a good work/life balance?
A.   Yes, I have a very good work/life balance. Family is my No. 1 priority, and throughout my time here, that has never been an issue. I have always had the flexibility needed to make sure I am able to put my family first.

Q.   What would you like to tell your 21-year-old self-starting out in a career?
A.   Take risks, ask questions and work hard.

Q.   Do you feel a responsibility to mentor?
A.   I don’t know if I feel a responsibility to mentor, but I do enjoy when I am able to help someone learn or better understand something.

Q.   What would the title of your autobiography be?
A.   I had trouble coming up with a title, so my colleagues decided for me: “Jenny Vos – Wife, Mom, Mob Boss.”

Q.   Favorite TV show(s)?
A.   Friends will probably always be one of my favorite shows, but some other shows I really enjoyed are Boston Legal, Modern Family, Grey’s Anatomy and Rescue Me.

Q.   Favorite book(s)?
A.   I like James Patterson’s Alex Cross series.

Q.   Favorite movie(s)?
A.   I have a lot of favorite movies, some of which are Pulp Fiction, The Godfather (1 & 2) and 10 Things I Hate About You.


Sweater weather

Our St. Paul-Snelling location is known for bringing out great costumes for Halloween. Not wanting to wait another year for a reason to dress up, the team decided to start a holiday sweater contest. This year marks the third year the team has hosted the holiday sweater contest. Though it’s all for fun, the competition is serious. First place wins a $50 gift card, and second place wins a $20 gift card. The team will call in a fellow Anchor team member from a different bank location to act as a judge.

This year the contest will include all 18 of our locations. Stay tuned on our Facebook for more holiday sweater pictures!

holiday sweaters image


A noteworthy prank

After returning from a long weekend in May 2006, our controller, Pat Diedrich, returned to her office only to find she had been visited by someone special – the Post-it note fairy. Over 300 blank Post-its covered Pat’s office, including notes on the floor with the sticky side up! Pat had to scramble to remove as many notes as she could before her morning meeting with a tax accountant and our CFO. Though Pat wasn’t able to remove every Post-it note in time, the tax accountant apparently didn’t seem to notice the 3M decor. Pat took the Post-it note fairy visit in good spirits – not wanting to waste perfectly good Post-its, she saved every note and re-used them. It took a few years to use up all those notes!

post it note prank image


Fifteen years of holiday fun

Our St. Paul Park location knows how to get in to the holiday spirit. This year will mark the bank’s 15th year participating in the Holiday Train fundraiser. The festively-decorated Canadian Pacific Holiday Train makes stops at select cities throughout the United States and Canada during the holiday season. The train not only brings holiday cheer and entertainment, but it also raises money and collects food for the local food shelves. In Cottage Grove, the train collects for Friends in Need. Anchor Bank, a division of Old National Bank, is proud to have been part of such a wonderful tradition for so many years. In our 15th year partnering with the Holiday Train, we’re hoping to “break a million.” We’re $74,577 from raising $1 million (over the course of 15 years) for Friends in Need. Help us “break a million,” by stopping by our St. Paul Park location, 1030 Hastings Ave., to make a cash donation. We’ll be taking donations until Dec. 9.

“It’s amazing what can be accomplished when we work together for a greater cause,” said Rhonda Mann, manager of personal banking.

This year, the Holiday Train is stopping in Cottage Grove on Dec. 9 around 5:15 p.m.

Holiday Train image

Holiday Train Committee Chair Mary Slusser, Friends in Need Food Shelf Director Michelle Rageth and our own Rhonda Mann, posing for the Holiday Train event in 2006.


Meet Kristi Joeckel – community banking operations manager

Kristi Joeckel has been with Anchor Bank for most of her career. However, prior to joining the bank, she had the reputation of “busting” underage people trying to get in to Treasure Island Resort & Casino, where she worked as a security guard. She attributed her knack for identifying young gamblers to knowing so many people in the city of Cottage Grove.

In the summer of 2004, Kristi started at Anchor Bank as a part-time teller while she was attending college at University of Wisconsin-River Falls. After graduation, Kristi worked in a variety of positions for the bank – full-time teller, teller supervisor, personal banker, then performed a dual role of a personal banker/teller supervisor. Kristi was also the bank manager for the St. Paul Park location for a couple of years. From there, she helped develop the consumer loan underwriting department. She went back to bank management at our North St. Paul branch until August of 2015, before moving back to the St. Paul Park location.

Kristi had her first child in July 2016, and, when she returned to work, she begin a newly-developed role, community banking operations manager. In this role, Kristi is in charge of overall operations of personal banking, which includes helping the branch teams adhere to policies and procedures, as well as acting as a voice for community banking for multiple projects. She says it’s been quite a ride.

Read on to get to know Kristi a little more.

Kristi Joeckel family image

Q. Best part of the job?
A. All of the great employees I work with and the relationships I have built with so many over the last 14 years.

Q. Do you have a good work/life balance?
A. Yes, Anchor strives to ensure that everyone has a good work/life balance and it’s wonderful to work for a company that believes in this. As a recent new parent, I have truly learned the meaning of work/life balance.

Q. What would you like to tell your 21-year-old self starting out in a career?
A. You can only control what you can control. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Laugh and have fun but get your work done.

Q. Do you feel a responsibility to mentor?
A. Yes, I’ve had so many great mentors in my life and career. Having someone to look up to and learn from is one of the best resources you can have. I would love to be that person for someone in their life.

Q. What would the title of your autobiography be?
A. “Normal is boring...be yourself!”

Q. Favorite TV Show(s)?
A. The Bachelor/Bachelorette, The Walking Dead and The Challenge on MTV.

Q. Favorite Book(s)?
A. No favorites, but I will read anything that is a good recommendation.

Q. Favorite Movie(s)?
A. Dumb & Dumber and Step Brothers – ridiculous humor at its finest!


A salute to our veterans

Beyond our jobs, beyond banking, we all lead personal lives. We’d like to take a moment to honor some of our team members who sacrificed their personal and professional lives to answer a call to serve. We are proud of our veterans, and appreciate their willingness to give us a glimpse into their lives as veterans and veteran spouses.

 

Lindsay Fisher

Lindsay Fisher Iraq image  Lindsay Fisher current image

Lindsay Fisher, a cash management associate, was deployed to Kirkuk, Iraq in 2009. Her unit’s mission was to defend the base, monitor the city and offer quick response teams. She says it was an incredibly eye-opening experience.

“I wish that all 25-year-olds could experience it for a day – not the violence, but the way that other people live.”

She says she doesn’t believe in a dry heat – “110 degrees is 110 degrees, and in the turret of a Humvee in full ‘battle rattle,’ it’s probably more like 120 degrees!”

Read on to learn more about Lindsay’s service.

Q. Which branch did you serve with?

A. Air Force Reserves.

Q. How long did you serve?

A. Six years.

Q. What was your job/duty?

A. Security Forces (military police).

Q. What inspired you to join the armed forces?

A. I always desired to do something “bigger” with my life, so the military was always in the back of my mind. I went to school to be a police officer, and at one time dreamed of joining the FBI, so I finally signed the dotted line, feeling it would give me a competitive edge in the law enforcement field.

Q. What was your biggest take away from your service?

A. That I’m a lot stronger than I give myself credit for, and that we truly are blessed to be Americans. When you spend time in the Middle East, you develop a whole new appreciation for the freedoms we’re allowed in the greatest country on earth!

Q. What do you wish people understood about being a veteran?

A. Oh gosh, instead of getting emotional and political I’ll go with: Memorial Day is to honor our fallen soldiers. Veterans Day is to honor living veterans.

 

Patti Karlson

Patti Karlson image  Patti Karlson current image

Patti Karlson, senior payroll and HR operations specialist, served in the Navy in the 80s and had the opportunity to live in Iceland. While there, she was stationed at Naval Air Station Keflavik. The base’s mission was antisubmarine warfare. They had planes that would search the ocean for submarines. Patti says one of the fun things she got to do while stationed in Iceland was taking flight over the Arctic Circle. This was called a “blue-nose” flight.

She also took a number of sightseeing tours around the island – she saw glaciers, waterfalls, hot springs and recreations of an Icelandic farmhouse which were built out of bricks of grass. Though she was in the Navy, Patti was never actually on a ship since she was part of the aviation community.

Read on to learn more about Patti’s service.

Q. Which branch did you serve with?

A. United States Navy.

Q. How long did you serve?

A. Four years.

Q. What was your job/duty?

A. I was a yeoman, petty officer second class. A yeoman does administrative work.

Q. What inspired you to join the armed forces?

A. I graduated from college with a degree in speech communications and didn’t really know what I wanted to do, so I decided to explore joining the military. I wasn’t interested in either the Army or the Marines (too physically hard) so I checked the Navy and the Air Force and the Navy had the most to offer me.

Q. What was your biggest take away from your service?

A. I was very proud to serve my country, but it also gave me an opportunity to gain self-confidence, travel to places I might never have (I was stationed in Iceland for 13 months) and meet some really wonderful people.

Q. What do you wish people understood about being a veteran?

A. I served in the military at a time when there were no wars going on, so my experience was quite different from those serving now. For me it was very much having a job like any other job, but I had to travel where they sent me. If you like structure, tradition and serving your country, it’s an incredible opportunity to do things that most people never will.

 

Todd Schmit

Todd Schimt image  Todd Schmit current image

Todd Schmit, senior business analyst, likes to find the humor in everything. Especially when times get tough, it’s important to see the lighter side. In his time in the army, Todd found humor in a lot of things. Especially when it came to razzing the new guys.

“Whenever a new soldier joined a unit you could pretty much expect all the old timers to mess with them,” he said.

New soldiers, or “Boots,” just out of basic training were taught to never question orders and accomplish the task at hand, so inevitably they would be asked to complete tasks like:

Read on to learn more about Todd’s service.

Q. Which branch did you serve with?

A. U.S. Army.

Q. How long did you serve?

A. Active Duty: 1989–1992. A few years in the Army Reserves after that. Our Reserve unit was disbanded in the mid-1990s.

Q. What was your job/duty?

A. 11H: Infantryman, Heavy Anti-Armor. Our job was to destroy enemy-armored vehicles using TOW missiles. I was assigned to the 8th Infantry Division (later 1st Armored Division) in Germany during the last part of the Cold War. Our primary mission was to deter and, if necessary, destroy Soviet and Warsaw Pact armored forces, holding on as long as possible until additional forces could be sent over from the U.S. (Spoiler alert: We weren’t expected to last long…)

Luckily, I arrived just after the fall of the Berlin Wall. Shortly thereafter, there were no Warsaw Pact forces left, and in 1991 the Soviet Union fell apart. Our division was slated to deploy to the Gulf, but the ground war ended far quicker than anticipated. In the end it was a pretty great assignment.

Q. What inspired you to join the armed forces?

A. Several reasons.

  1. I needed college money.
  2. It was the ’80s: The military had built way up since Vietnam and was fielding the newest technology and weapons systems in a generation.
  3. I had been the smaller, non-athletic kid in school and wanted to prove to myself and others that I could do it. That’s why I joined the Infantry.

Q. What was your biggest take away from your service?

A. No matter what life throws at you, face it like a soldier. Everyone has a well of strength deep down, and you can surprise yourself with just how much you can accomplish if you face your fears and drive on. Plus, if no one is shooting at you, it can’t be that bad.

Q. What do you wish people understood about being a veteran?

A. Most of today’s veterans came out of an all-volunteer service. There hasn’t been a draft since Vietnam. These men and women voluntarily swore an oath to protect and defend the U.S. and the Constitution. The military (all branches) makes no guarantee that you will come home, but people still join. Veterans aren’t looking for a big fuss, just a simple “thanks” will make their day. Ask to hear about their time in service, what they did and saw. Every vet has stories to tell (and a lot of them can be pretty funny).

 

Carrie Lumex

Carrie Lumex retirement image  Carrie Lumex current image

Carrie Lumex, branch manager at our Plymouth location, is the wife of a retired Air Force veteran. While her husband served, she took on the role of “key spouse.” The Key Spouse Program is an official unit/family program designed to enhance readiness and establish a sense of Air Force community. It is a commander’s program that promotes partnerships with unit leadership and addresses the needs of all military families with special emphasis on support to families across the deployment cycle. Carrie and her family traveled a lot while her husband was in service. They lived in South Korea in 2009, Japan from late 2009-2012, and in Germany from 2012-2016.

Read on to learn more about Carrie and her life as a military spouse.

Q. Which branch did your spouse serve with?

A. U.S. Air Force.

Q. How long did your spouse serve?

A. 20 years, four months.

Q. What was your spouse's job/duty?

A. Civil engineering squadron; electrician.

Q. What was your role while your spouse was serving?

A. I always say the spouses are the “silent ranks.” We keep everything in place back home. I was also a Key Spouse for the last four years while we were in Germany.

Q. What inspired your spouse to join the armed forces?

A. Sense of adventure, family tradition and getting away from Minnesota winters.

Q. What was your biggest take away from your spouse’s service?

A. As an Air Force wife, I am extremely honored to have been a military spouse. Our military is the greatest there is. My husband has sacrificed so much to serve his country. I have the utmost respect for those who have served and currently serve today.

Q. What do you wish people understood about veterans?

A. The military can be very rewarding and at the same time extremely difficult on the service member and their families. The transition period back into the civilian world can be very hard. There is a world out there that they have seen that we can’t even fathom. I would love for people to be more compassionate and more thankful for what veterans have done for our country. Freedom isn’t free.


Driven to deliver

In the summer in 2007, our Farmington bank’s president saw a plea for help in a newsletter. The city was looking for someone to “adopt” the village hall on the Dakota County Fairgrounds. Anchor Bank Farmington team members headed over to the village hall on a beautiful, sunny day in June and gave the building a fresh paint job. The village hall is part of an “old village” setup at the fairgrounds. Local business volunteers continue to help with the upkeep today.

village hall image


A history of collecting

It’s no secret we’re fans of history here at Anchor Bank. Perhaps that’s because it’s deeply rooted in our culture. From the beginning, Anchor’s founder, Winton Jones, liked to keep historical artifacts in the banks – from NASA collectibles, to old newspapers and more. Winton’s grandfather, Herschel V. Jones, also had a habit of collecting. That habit found its way to the Minneapolis Institute of Arts (MIA). In 1916, Herschel presented more than 5,300 woodcuts, engravings, etchings and lithographs to the MIA, making it one of the largest donations in the museum’s history, according to William M. Griswold, former director and president of MIA. Before Herschel passed away in 1928, he collected more works and continued to donate them to MIA. Today, the museum has more than 89,000 objects from numerous donors.

Former Associate Curator of Prints and Drawings Lisa Dickinson Michaux wrote in her book, “It was Minnesota’s great fortune that, through Herschel V. Jones’s foresight and generosity, this extraordinary collection made its way east and settled permanently at the Institute.”

For Herschel, it was important for art to be available for everyone, not just the privileged. In an editorial, he wrote, “Art is not just something attractive in a stone building where it can be visited and tea served now and then by ‘the better classes.’ The Art Institute is for the people to make the fullest use of and to protect from false friends, if they ever arise, who would monopolize it or make it ‘exclusive.’”

Long after Herschel passed away, Winton and his siblings maintained his legacy by contributing to the renovation of the print gallery and study room, which was named after Herschel, in MIA. After Winton’s death in 2003, his family also continued the legacy by endowing a fund so that MIA could continue to add old master prints to its collection.

art image  Herschel Jones image


Meet Ted Bridenstine – senior project manager

In banking, there are many projects that need to get done, and a lot of them can be complicated. Enter project managers. They’re the wind in our sails that help keep us moving, and the rutter that keeps us on track. One of our project managers is Ted Bridenstine, who is one of the newer members of our project managers group. Ted is a senior project manager, primarily working on projects for both enterprise solutions (help desk, connectivity, etc.) and banking software systems. Prior to coming to Anchor Bank, Ted was an IT director for MoneyGram International, managing projects and teams for the AML/BSA compliance and fraud prevention areas. What you wouldn’t know about Ted – since high school, he has played saxophone in a local big band called SouthSide Big Band. The band plays the original music charts from the jazz greats of the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s. He enjoys seeing people dance to their music. Read on to get to know Ted a little more.

Ted image 1  Ted image 2

Q.   Best part of the job?
A.   If I had to narrow it down to two aspects, it would be 1) working with such knowledgeable and collaborative people. It may be a cliché, but there is a true family atmosphere at Anchor. 2) The community focus. In my past, I believe I became so wrapped up in my business work that I lost connection to people. I feel it is vitally important to have a direct positive impact on people. Here at Anchor, we strive to improve people’s lives and livelihoods. Being connected to the community through our work and volunteerism should be the core of our purpose here.

Q.   Do you have a good work/life balance?
A.   Anchor Bank has afforded a refreshing refocus on my work/life balance. Too often work priorities encompass and consume our daily lives. Stressing a strong balance between family time and work time can re-energize a person – actually improving a person’s physical and psychological health. Work/life balance here at Anchor has allowed me to become closer to my two daughters and focus on what is truly important in life.

Q.   What would you like to tell your 21-year-old self-starting out in a career?
A.   Focus on developing a transportable/marketable skill and work toward understanding human relationships. Master a skill that can be used in multiple industries. Understand the importance of your interactions with people – develop the ability to work with any personality, understand team dynamics, and develop and nurture a strong network.

Q.   Do you feel a responsibility to mentor?
A.   “We rise by uplifting others” – Robert Ingersoll. For me, mentoring is about paying-it-forward. Throughout my career, I have been helped by many wonderful individuals. I feel a strong responsibility to mentor other individuals just starting in their field or making a transition. We all accumulate a wealth of experiences and knowledge. It uplifts me to pass these learnings on to others.

Q.   What would the title of your autobiography be?
A.   “Who Knew it Would be This Much of an Adventure!”

Q.   Favorite TV Show(s)?
A.   My TV is usually tuned to public television. There are so many interesting shows and series – for instance the projects of Ken Burns (“History of Jazz,” “The Roosevelts,” etc.). I also enjoy home improvement shows and really get a kick out of seeing families surprised by the awesome results of makeovers.

Q.   Favorite Book(s)?
A.   Any early work by Thomas Wolfe, Malcolm Gladwell or Ken Kesey.

Q.   Favorite Movie(s)?
A.   “SOMM” and “SOMM: Into the Bottle.” I have a huge interest in wine education. These two movies offer a glimpse into the lives of Sommelier candidates as they attempt to get their certifications. I find the deductive reasoning behind wine analysis fascinating. The movies afford a greater appreciation of the entire wine making process.


Converting to digital

Fifty years ago, it was hard to imagine what the future of banking would look like. The digital age has changed everyone’s lives, to say the least. For banking, it’s made services more seamless and customer-friendly. In 2012, our imaging department got to a point where the digital age really peaked. The department was tasked with an overwhelming job of scanning numerous documents in order to convert them to digital records. Reaching a milestone of 1,000 loans scanned and indexed took numerous hours and team members to complete. Those 1,000 loans equaled 2,120 inches of paper, which equaled over 176 feet, or an 11-story building! Of course this feat wasn’t complete without a celebratory cake for the loan imaging team and their interns!

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Salute to Scandinavia

In October and November 1982, when customers stepped into then-known First National Bank of Wayzata, it was like entering another country. The bank had created a Salute to Scandinavia exhibit. Customers saw dinnerware and crystal, paintings, wood carvings and other Scandinavian artifacts on display at the bank. One of the bank’s employees even wore a Norwegian costume as she greeted customers for a Scandinavia party. The hot item was the Runestone replica. The original Kensington Runestone was found by a Swedish farmer in 1898 near Kensington, Minn., wrapped in tree roots. Shrouded in mystery and speculation of its authenticity, the stone’s message supposedly detailed a Viking exploration from 1362. That meant, if true, the stone proved that the Vikings had come to Minnesota 130 years before Columbus left Spain. The real stone is in Alexandria, but the bank was able to borrow the replica from the Alexandria Chamber of Commerce for the special exhibit. Whether it’s an authentic historical artifact, or an elaborate hoax, the stone today has a home in a museum named after it – The Runestone Museum in downtown Alexandria.

runestone image

Pictured: Pamela Trongard, dressed in authentic Scandinavian garb, presenting the Kensington Rune Stone replica.


Premium seating

When Anchor Bank President Jeff Hawkins went on a site visit with client, General Pattern, owner Denny Reiland took Jeff on a personalized tour – via motorized couch! The first time Jeff met Denny, in 2013, Denny wanted to show Jeff around his warehouse facilities. When the two walked out into the warehouse, there was a ‘70s floral couch there. Denny suggested that they sit down and visit. No sooner than Jeff sat down, he felt the sofa raise up and start moving forward. Needless to say, Jeff was rather surprised. The two had a great chuckle and then proceeded around the entire warehouse on the couch. Denny is an engineer, a business owner, a great customer and a very strong advocate for the Anchor organization. Thanks for the ride Denny!

floral couch image


Meet Anna Sommerfeld – senior private banking associate

For a story of growth in a career, look no further than Anchor Bank’s Anna Sommerfeld. Starting as a part-time teller in 2004, Anna has worked her way up – most recently she was promoted to senior private banking associate. Anna originally discovered Anchor Bank through a contact at the Rotary Club of Arden Hills/Shoreview, which sponsored the Interact Club at her high school. In her nearly 13 years of service at Anchor, she served as a teller, a customer service representative and a personal banker. She left Anchor for a short time to live in Wisconsin with her fiancé, but the couple moved back after Anna was offered a great opportunity to come back to Anchor Bank as a private banking associate, not to mention live in the Twin Cities again with most of her family. Read on to get to know Anna a little more.

Q. Best part of the job?
A. I really enjoy getting to interact with a lot of different clients, and building relationships with them. I also get to support and work with some great people at Anchor Bank.

Q. Do you have a good work/life balance?
A. Definitely. I enjoy what I do here at Anchor, and I’m able to spend a lot of time with my family outside of work.

Q. What would you like to tell your 21-year-old self starting out in a career?
A. Learn to adapt, and be resilient. Change can be a good thing.

Q. Do you feel a responsibility to mentor?
A. I don’t actively look for opportunities, but I’m always more than happy to assist when I can. I’ve trained quite a few people while working here.

Q. What would the title of your autobiography be?
A. Life with Anna: Family, Food, Travel

Q. Favorite TV Show(s)?
A. Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad, Parks and Rec, and The Office. We don’t have cable, so any TV I watch has to be something I can stream.

Q. Favorite Book(s)?
A. I read a lot, and I don’t really have one favorite book. I check out a lot of library books on my Kindle. The Chronicles of Narnia were my favorite books growing up.

Q. Favorite Movie(s)?
A. I don’t watch a lot of movies. My favorite movie when I was little was Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella with Lesley Ann Warren.

Anna Sommerfeld image


Competitive spirit

At Anchor Bank, you’ll find friendly bankers ready to help you with your financial needs. Behind the scenes, our team is pretty competitive!

In 2011, two parents from our finance department had a competition of messiest teenager. What started as a friendly exchange about their untidy teens, turned into an opportunity for others in the building to vote whose teenager was the messiest!

The following year, our Farmington branch hosted an appealing contest – a “dress your banana split” party! Creativity certainly came out for this party – there was a Mr. Potato Head banana, a Red Hat Lady banana, and even a Bert (banana) and Ernie (orange) duo.

Just this year, our Apple Valley branch participated in a “March Madness” competition, but with pets! Employees submitted photos of their pets and everyone voted for the cutest in a bracket-style competition!

Win or lose, Anchor employees love the chance to engage in some friendly competition!

bedroom a image  bedroom b image

contest image

March Madness image


Bird is the word

From displaying artwork on our bank walls, to sponsoring organizations like the Ruffed Grouse Society, our bank has had a history of supporting wildlife.

Anchor Bank founder Winton Jones loved watching birds, according to current CEO Carl Jones, his son. Winton supported the Raptor Center and had a great respect for birds.

Winton brought that love of birds to the bank. In 1977, then-known First National Bank of Wayzata invited customers to “Paradise Country.” The campaign was an effort to spread knowledge about the growing Lake Minnetonka area, which they dubbed “Paradise Country” at the time. One of the ways the bank commemorated Lake Minnetonka’s history was to invite a local artist to display his bird exhibit. The bank’s lobby included 12 case displays of hand-carved “Birds of Paradise Country” by Wayzata artist Bob Crump. The display included lifelike representations of songbirds, game birds and birds of prey.

But that wasn’t the last time the bank displayed bird art. Crump’s work would be on display at the bank a few years later. In 1981, the lobby displayed paintings, drawings and sculptures of “things with wings” by Bob and his wife, Pat Crump.

A year later, it was Louis Raymer’s famous wildlife paintings that were on display at First National Bank. Not only did the bank support wildlife, but supported local art. Raymer, born in St. Paul, was a finalist in the 1980 Wisconsin Waterfowl Stamp Collection and the Wisconsin Trout Stamp Competition. It wasn’t the first year First National displayed Raymer’s work, his work had been displayed at the bank as early as 1971.

That same year, First National Bank was recognized by the Ruffed Grouse Society for its dedication to the conservation of the upland game bird.

grouse image


Anchors aweigh!

For many people, an anchor is a device used to hold a vessel in place. For us, it’s our name, our logo and a symbol of our integrity. In part, the anchor represents where we started – near the shores of Lake Minnetonka in the town of Wayzata. In another way, the anchor reminds us of our founder, Winton Jones. Winton served during World War II. When he came home from the war, it was important for him to invest in his community. So he grew a career close to home, and eventually bought North Shore State Bank in Wayzata. Later, it was renamed Anchor Bank. Today, you’ll notice many of our banks have anchors outside of the building. Those are real anchors. Winton bought these anchors, which were used on Liberty ships during WWII, from a Puget Sound shipyard. They made the trip overland to Duluth where they were sandblasted and painted. The anchors were trucked back to their new home at various Anchor Bank locations across the Twin Cities metro. In 2015, our beloved anchors made their way a little farther south – to our newest branch in Mankato. Each anchor weighs about 7,500 pounds.

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Meet Tanner Vincent – Teller II, Apple Valley

One day at Lakeville South High School, Apple Valley Bank Manager Charity Williams met a bright student named Tanner Vincent. Three years later, Tanner is still working with us here at Anchor Bank because of that meeting. Tanner started as a part-time teller and has since been promoted to teller II and is making banking a career. Recently, Tanner was presented with an award for Top PT Teller. Read on to get to know Tanner a little more.

Q. Best part of the job?
A. My favorite part of my job is being able to come to work and interact with my coworkers and customers. I love being able to have conversations with people and hopefully influencing their day in a positive way.

Q. Do you have a good work/life balance?
A. Absolutely. Outside of work I have a beautiful girlfriend that I have been with for a year and a half, and I tend to spend a lot of time with her. We enjoy going up to her cabin near Alexandria where we fish, jet ski, water ski and just enjoy being on the lake. I also play in a men’s ice hockey league on Monday nights, and I am currently on a beach volleyball team with some of my other wonderful coworkers on Wednesday nights.

Q. What would you like to tell your 21-year-old self starting out in a career?
A. Considering I am yet to turn 21, I currently tell myself every day to be driven and passionate about what I do. I need to take pride in my work otherwise I am just working a nine-to-five job rather than working toward a career.

Q. Do you feel a responsibility to mentor?
A. Not necessarily considering I am still young and learning new things every day myself. But when I do feel confident enough to do so, I like to help someone else learn. I do believe it is all of our jobs to help each other out and help one another grow in the position they are in and as a result of that the company benefits as well.

Q. What would the title of your autobiography be?
A. “Tan-Tan the Banking Man” – credit to Apple Valley Assistant Bank Manager Nicole Gunderson for thinking of the title!

Q. Favorite TV Show(s)?
A. Anything I can binge watch on Netflix. If I had to pick a few I would say Breaking Bad, Prison Break, The Office and Parks and Rec.

Q. Favorite Book(s)?
A. “Act like a Success Think like a Success” by Steve Harvey, and all the Magic Tree House books by Mary Pope Osborne.

Q. Favorite Movie(s)?
A. Interstellar and Inception or any movie that makes you engage and think while you’re watching. I also enjoy any of the Nicholas Sparks movies when I need a good cry and would like to get in touch with my sensitive side. But my all-time favorite for now and forever would have to be Miracle.

Tanner Vincent image


Beyond industry standards

While the ’80s proved to be a challenging time in the banking industry, then-known First National Bank of Wayzata rose above. In an industry study conducted by the Bank Administration Institute (BAI), which was published in 1982, First National Bank of Wayzata was ranked as one of the nation’s top banks. Out of 14,000 banks in the United States with assets under $150 million, 1,200 banks were chosen as top performers. The criteria included – return on assets, return on equity and deposit growth. Based on these factors, the top 10 percent of banks in each state were selected, which included First National Bank of Wayzata.

Then President of the Bank of New Haven, Connecticut and Chairman of BAI’s High Performance Bank Assembly Joseph Ciaburri said, “These banks have managed to maintain a significant edge in an increasingly competitive market, and we think it’s worth finding out why.”

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The bicentennial bank

You’ve probably noticed that Anchor Bank received many proclamations from cities in honor of our 50th anniversary. In 1975, then-known First National Bank of Wayzata made a proclamation of its own – in preparation for the nation’s bicentennial, the bank would become a bicentennial information center. In the Wayzata bank’s lobby, historical items were on display and wooden bicentennial coin replicas were available to customers. Community members and customers were also encouraged to call the bank for bicentennial literature, information, event details or volunteer for bicentennial activities.

Then-president of the bank, Joseph Clemons, said, “In these ways, First National Bank of Wayzata will help make our nation’s 200th birthday a proud, patriotic celebration.”

Among historical artifacts were old newspapers. The newspapers displayed had an impressive timespan – 1678 to 1828. One of the papers included the original account of the death of George Washington.

That attention to history has remained a part of our Anchor culture to this day.

bicentennial bank image


Going national

Just over a year after Winton Jones purchased North Shore State Bank of Wayzata, the bank received good news via Western Union telegram – the bank had been approved to convert into a national banking association. The telegram was sent from the comptroller of the Currency, U.S. Treasury Department in Washington D.C., on May 21, 1968, complete with typos, stamps and even a congratulatory note. From then on, the bank was known as First National Bank of Wayzata. The bank received numerous letters from businesses from neighboring communities offering their congratulations as well. The new status, which was officially announced on Aug. 1, 1968, also prompted a new slogan for the bank: “Isn’t it time YOU became FIRST too?”

At the time, becoming national was a rare occurrence. According to an article published in the Minnetonka Sun newspaper in 1968, over a five-year span, only three state banks had converted to national charters. First National Bank of Wayzata was the only bank with a national charter in the metropolitan area at the time, according to the article.

Winton told the reporter, “Wayzata is a useful name. Once people see it, they never forget it. They can’t pronounce it, but they remember. Combine that name with ‘First National’ and you have magic.”

Western Union telegram image


Meet Merkle Greene – Credit Analyst, St. Louis Park

Prior to joining Anchor Bank, Credit Analyst Merkle Greene held various sales positions in the banking industry, but he started his credit career at Anchor. Merkle’s been with Anchor for over two and a half years – working as a credit coordinator, then a credit analyst – underwriting center, and he was recently promoted to credit analyst, primarily supporting commercial bankers.

Merkle was born and raised in Richfield, and feels most “at home” in the Twin Cities. He graduated from St. Cloud State University with a Bachelor’s of Science in finance, and a minor in communication studies. While in college, Merkle studied abroad in Alnwick, England for a semester.

This fall Merkle will be marrying his best friend, and he can’t wait to call her his wife! He’s looking forward to the journey of them creating the best partnership two people can have together.

Read on to get to know Merkle a little more:

Q. Best part of the job?
A. The best part of my job is being constantly enlightened by the intricate means we use to effectively analyze credit at Anchor Bank. Being a part of the process between bankers and underwriters that unfold new credit analysis perspectives – allowing our department to fine-tune our rationale for decisions – is ever-expanding and mind-blowing every day.

Q. Do you have a good work/life balance?
A. Absolutely. The relationships I’ve developed at work are friendly and social, which creates an environment of being “at home” while I’m at my desk. Additionally, the team-oriented culture helps me generate the necessary productivity to complete my work and go home at a decent time to enjoy life with my family and friends.

Q. What would you like to tell your 21-year-old self starting out in a career?
A. You’re lucky to have made it this far; now you need to reach your pinnacle – no excuses. Maintain and grow more relationships with your peers and network with professionals, even if you don’t know what to say to them. You’re starting from the beginning so, don’t be embarrassed you’re not an expert. Just be humble, express your perspective (however big or small it is) and don’t doubt yourself.

Q. Do you feel a responsibility to mentor?
A. I have a personal interest in giving to people whom are early in their career – the wisdom I wish I had when I was at earlier levels of my career. My hope is to make a profound difference because it would have been monumental for me, had someone done that for me earlier in my career.

Q. What would the title of your autobiography be?
A. “Journey to self-expression.” I was a shy kid and learned how to be self-expressive the hard way.

Q. Favorite TV Show(s)?
A. My favorite TV shows are generally the ones where I’m left feeling enlightened or informed: “Chelsea Does,” “Real-Time with Bill Maher,” “Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey” and “Bob’s Burgers.”

Q. Favorite Book(s)?
A. Recently, I was inspired to read novels leisurely because I haven’t spent too much time reading novels in my adult life. Thus, I don’t have a favorite book, but I did read Goosebumps as a kid. However, one of the books I intend to read this summer is “Astrophysics for People in a Hurry.”

Q. Favorite Movie(s)?
A. My favorite movie of all time is The Lion King. The courage of Simba has always been a tremendous inspiration to watch in the Disney film.

Merkle Green image


A memorable field trip

In June of 1972, a group of second-graders had a different kind of field trip – to the bank. First National Bank of Wayzata hosted 106 students from Rosemount School District’s Parkview Elementary School and gave them a tour of the bank, including the vault, where students got to see real stacks of cash and coins. The bank also hosted a picnic for the students, and brought them through the ever-popular Tonka Toys in Mound. We received a special thank-you note from one of the students, and we’ve kept that note to this day!

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A history of billboards

Today our Anchor Bank billboards are distinctive: they are often yellow and blue with a two-word slogan. Perhaps you’ve seen our new “Stretch/Goals” billboard on I-394 in St. Louis Park.

Throughout the years, Anchor Bank has played with different slogan ideas and formats for our billboards. Our first billboard was on the north side of Highway 12, just east of Wayzata, where our first branch was located. It had just six words: “Why aren’t you watching the road?”

CEO Carl Jones remembers that billboard was in a perfect spot for commuting traffic to Minneapolis and created a lot of buzz back then.

Some of our other team members shared their favorite billboards over the years:

“The lake doesn’t make all the waves around here.” – 1973

Make Waves billboard

“The most important name in banking isn’t ours. It’s yours.” – 1983

“We’re neighbors you can bank on.” – 1984

“Small commercial loans are big business to us.” – 1987

“If you think these billboards are friendly, wait’ll you meet our bankers.” – 1996

“More personality in four floors than some banks have in forty.” – 1997

“Why build steel skyscrapers when you can build concrete relationships?” – 1997

“It’s simple arithmetic. People count.” – 1997

“We couldn’t find the right card, so we bought you this board.” – 2000

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Making a splash in the ‘70s

In 1973, the original Anchor Bank, then known as First National Bank of Wayzata, moved into a new building and held a grand reopening event. It was reported that several thousand customers and community members attended the event, showcasing the bank as a “wave-maker” with a strong community personality. The new building, which was located on highways 12 and 101, was just west of the first bank building in Colonial Square, and was double the size of the original bank. The bank began operating out of the new building on June 30, 1973. The grand reopening, which was held in August that year, included an appearance by the Aquatennial Queen of the Lakes and Aqua Vice Commodore, who took part in the ribbon cutting. The event also included free prizes for attendees and a performance by the Wayzata High Trojettes dance group. Anchor Bank stayed at that location for about 40 years. Anchor Bank moved to its current Wayzata location, 135 Central Ave., in 2014.

Wayzata grand reopening image  Wayzata News image


A foresight of the development of Plymouth

Before Anchor Bank opened its location off Rockford Road in 1988, the bank was located off Vicksburg and 37th Avenue. That location, known as First National Bank of Wayzata at the time, opened in 1982, with the vision of the area becoming downtown Plymouth. Former bank president Lowell Wakefield told a reporter that the significant growth in deposits in 1981 came primarily from the Plymouth area, so the bank found an opportunity to better serve that community by opening a location in Plymouth. At the time, however, the area was rather remote. Development hadn’t quite gotten off the ground yet, and the bank didn’t get a lot of visibility. One night as tellers closed down the bank for the evening, they were met face-to-face with some of their neighbors – wolves. The tellers called the police to shoo the animals away. Anchor Bank left that location and opened in its current location at 3950 Vinewood Lane. As we look back, we can see the vision of downtown Plymouth turned out to be right on the nose, Anchor Bank was just a little too early at the time.

Plymouth branch image


If these walls could talk

Inside the St. Paul Park branch is a conference room with a plaque in front, calling it the “Romanchuk Conference Room.” That’s because before Anchor Bank opened at 1030 Hastings Avenue in 1999, the site was home to another family-owned business, a liquor store known as Romanchuk’s Liquor Store. The 2,850-square-foot building was vacant before Anchor Bank purchased it, and the bank planned to do a complete renovation. The bank opened in early July 1999, before construction was completed in the fall. Services were offered out of a trailer behind the building under construction. Anchor Bank was the first, and continues to be the only bank in St. Paul Park. To celebrate its grand opening in the fall of 1999, Anchor Bank offered a grand prize drawing of $1,030, a reference to its new address on Hastings Avenue.

building image  location image  conference room image


Meet Shar Kapaun – Senior Commercial Banking Associate, Mankato

Sharlene Kapaun knows a thing or two about change. When Voyager Bank in Mankato became part of the Anchor Bank family in 2015, Shar had already experienced a bank merger before. Since starting in banking in 1990, she’s worked for Minnesota Valley Savings Bank, The Family Bank, Voyager Bank and now Anchor Bank. The senior commercial banking associate started her career in banking as a temp. She grew in the ranks from there – working as a receptionist, consumer loan assistance, mortgage loan processor, mortgage loan underwriting trainee, loan administrative assistant and today, as a senior commercial banking associate.

“Shar is very pleasant with our customers. She makes them feel at ease and makes them smile every time they interact with her,” Mankato Bank Manager Tamera Saar said.

Shar is from Mapleton, Minn., a town of less than 2,000 people. She once called Coon Rapids home, but decided the city life wasn’t for her, and has enjoyed living and working in the Mankato community.

Read on to get to know Shar a little more:

Q.   Best part of the job?
A.   Interacting with the clients and getting to meet new people.

Q.   Do you have a good work/life balance?
A.   I do, thanks to the flexibility of my schedule when I need it. I work things out that when I need to be out, I make up the time when I need to. Fellow commercial banking associate Richard is a great help that way!

Q.   What would you like to tell your 21-year-old self-starting out in a career?
A.   Stick with it and embrace change.

Q.   Do you feel a responsibility to mentor?
A.   Not necessarily, but I make sure everyone is aware that I’m available and believe to be a great resource for banking and specifically loan-related questions.

Q.   What would the title of your autobiography be?
A.   My dream was always to become a mom, and that dream came true when we were chosen by my son’s birth-mother to be his parents, so my autobiography title would be: “My Heart Overflows, Thanks to My Miracle.”

Q.   Favorite TV Show(s)?
A.   Big Bang Theory, Hawaii 5-0 (new version), almost anything on Food Network and HGTV.

Q.   Favorite Book(s)?
A.   “I Will Love You, Forever” – I’ve read this book over a 100 times to my son while he was little. He still asks me to read it to him every so often. He is 11 now.

Q.   Favorite Movie(s)?
A.   Juno, Sweet Home Alabama, Mamma Mia.

image of Shar Kaupan


About time: checks and balances

For many who grew up in the ’60s, a constant rallying cry bellowed on the home front, “Hurry up, we have to get to the bank by 3 p.m.!” Former Anchor Bank President and CEO of Wayzata Rick Bliss explains, “We needed the additional two hours to balance all the transactional ledgers.” In the 1960s, every transaction was recorded on a ledger. At the end of the day, every teller had to balance his or her drawer manually. The work was often challenging and time consuming. Rick added, “If there was a power outage during the day, banks typically stayed open, as calculations were powered by humans not computers.”

Each ledger was typed on a typewriter and then rechecked by hand – marked by a red check mark in each column.

Anchor Bank Ledger


Growing new roots

Before the Eagan branch opened in 2002, there was a Frank’s Nursey at 1360 Duckwood Drive. Once Anchor Bank Eagan was built, there was a plot of land still available. Anchor Bank bought the high-demand Duckwood Commons spot and turned it into a park. The history of growing beautiful flowers in that area resonated with our founder, Winton Jones. It was important to Winton to have an open space for people to gather. CEO Carl Jones remembers there was a competition to naming the park, and “Anchorage” was the winner. The Anchorage was dedicated in honor of Carl’s father, Winton, who died in 2003. Today, the park is a popular spot for high school senior photos. Bank Manager Brenda Johnson remembers there was even a wedding in the park once!

image of The Anchorage plaque image of Anchorage


A history of serving customers

We’ve had a lot of fun sharing our favorite memories so far this year, but ask our staff what their favorite memory is of Anchor Bank, and most of them will tell you – customer interactions. What resonates with us most is helping our customers. Check out what our team members have to say about working with their customers.

image of shaking hands with customer


A history of family businesses on Second Street

Like Anchor Bank, Heintz Toyota of Mankato has been family-owned and operated since the 60s. Our Mankato location (at East Main and Second streets) joined the Anchor Bank family in 2015, through an acquisition of Voyager Bank. Flash back to the 60s, and you’d see on Second Street the home of the Heintz Pontiac and Cadillac Dealership. When Max Heintz, the owner, moved his business into the building, it was just four years old and had been owned by a bus company. The car dealership ended up staying in that building for 13 years, until the building was torn down in 1974, according to a 2008 article in Home Magazine. Heintz then moved his business up to the hilltop. Bank of Commerce opened on the same block, which later became MidAmerica Bank. Voyager Bank moved from its Cherry Street location to the old Bank of Commerce location, and later became Anchor Bank.

Mankato location image

Photo credit: Home Magazine, 2008


Robber sends bank apology note in 1984

Many businesses like to display awards they’ve won, employees of the month and other accolades, but at Anchor Bank’s North St. Paul branch, there’s one display unlike any other. In 1984, a 25-year-old man robbed then-known Heritage State Bank. Five months after the robbery, the suspect sent the bank an apology note.

In the note he stated, “I would like to take this chance to express my sincere apology for the recent misunderstanding I had in my mind when I attempted to hold-up your business. I hope no-one was hurt or too scared. I personally was scared to death and wouldn’t normally do something like that. I hope you can accept my humble apology, everyone.”

The note, along with newspaper articles chronicling the incident, are in sealed frames at the branch.

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Family businesses: the root to success

All businesses start small. Anchor Bank started in Wayzata 50 years ago with Winton Jones and about four other employees. We’ve since grown to more than 300 employees throughout the Twin Cities and Mankato. Even though we’ve grown, we’re proud to have been maintained that small-business feel. In 2003, the Jones family was honored to receive the Family Business of the Year Award from the University of St. Thomas. The award recognizes families who demonstrate a strong commitment to the community, family and business leadership.

family business award image

From left to right: Father Dennis Dease, former president of UST; Julie (Jones) Becklund; Christopher Jones; Janet Jones; Carl Jones; Wendy (Jones) Zehngebot; Helen (Jones) Warren; and Dean Christopher Puto.


Meet Josh Lepp – Business Banking Associate, Apple Valley

After graduating from high school, Josh was having a hard time figuring out his next steps. He took some time off from college and decided to get his foot in the door in the banking industry. Once he found his way to Anchor, Josh began to feel the effects of working for a community bank. First as a customer service representative at Snelling, and now as a business banking associate in Apple Valley, Josh learned the value of really getting to know his customers.

Josh also learned the value of having a supportive work environment. His coworkers strongly encouraged he go back to school – now Josh is enrolled at Normandale Community College and working toward a business management degree.

While the Apple Valley office is supportive, it can also be a competitive bunch, and Josh is the first to admit it. With the help of human resources, he recruited team members to join him in a kickball tournament. The tournament started as an initiative to get people moving outside, but Josh quickly learned that everyone is a little bit competitive, and they liked to rag on each other. Josh is hoping to keep the tournament going for its third year this year.

Read on to get to know Josh a little more:

Q.   Best part of the job?
A.   “Getting to work with and building relationships with business banking customers. I am a people person. Not to mention I have the best co-workers in town!”

Q.   Do you have a good work/life balance?
A.   “Yes, I feel like in order to be your best person you need to divide your work time with your home and family time. I have an amazing wife, Cassie, and a lovable fur baby, Retro.”

Q.   What would you like to tell your 21-year-old self-starting out in a career?
A.   “If you want it, you’ve got to go get it! Always be open and willing to try something out of your comfort zone.”

Q.   Do you feel a responsibility to mentor?
A.   “Most definitely. It is wonderful to see my coworkers grow and develop into other roles within the bank.”

Q.   What would the title of your autobiography be?
A.   “Pizza rolls, chicken tenders and ranch: it’s what’s for lunch.”

Q.   Favorite TV Show(s)?
A.   “Anything on ESPN, Vanderpump Rules, and Top Gear.”

Q.   Favorite Book(s)?
A.   “Because I am currently in school, my textbooks are my ‘go-to-reads’ right now. Growing up my favorites included ‘The BFG,’ Dr. Seuss, and ‘Where the Wild Things Are.’”

Q.   Favorite Movie(s)?
A.   “Happy Gilmore, Tommy Boy, and Coach Carter, just to name a few!”

Photo of Josh Lepp  photo of Josh Lepp playing kickball


The infamous Wayzata snow mountain

With this year’s mild winter and warm temperatures, it’s hard to imagine any more snow on the ground. But back in June 2011, the last bit of a snow mountain in the Anchor Bank Wayzata branch’s parking lot finally melted away. That last bit of snow also marked the end of a friendly competition between Anchor Bank employees. Our CEO Carl Jones had guessed the snow mountain would melt by March – he was the first one eliminated from the competition. Toward the end of May, Senior Credit Officer Scott Sousek could see that CFO Dennis Nisler was close to winning (his guess was early June) and jokingly attempted to buy out his bid – unsuccessfully. Dennis roused Scott back by re-aiming the security cameras to ensure that Scott would not attempt to accelerate the melting process. In the end, Dennis was the winner. The Anchor Bank crew had fun with the snow mountain while it lasted. Some of the branch’s Packers fans took it upon themselves to declare the snow mountain Packer territory by placing a flag at the top. The OCC examiners happened to be present that day, and had their faces pressed against the windows, along with everyone else, as they watched the group trek up the mountain to stake the flag. The Packers were the Super Bowl champions that year.

Photo of North Shore Bank sign


Happy birthday Anchor!

On April 13, 1967, the North Shore State Bank opened its doors under new ownership. Guided by Winton Jones and his team, the bank, later renamed Anchor Bank, grew its assets by a substantial $1.6 million dollars in its first year – a phenomenal 73 percent increase.

Combining strong financial acumen with innovative advertising and an environment of comradery, a foundation of integrity and success was built to endure. Winton liked to refer to his employees as “my partners.”

Here’s to all our team members, customers and partners, past and present, who helped us create something truly special – a hometown bank that has never wavered in its commitment to delivering superior service to the community. Thank you for 50 years!

Photo of North Shore Bank sign


Remember the Anchor Connection Series?

Former Coach Jerry Kill addressed Anchor Bank clients as part of the Anchor Connection Education Series on April 24, 2014. During the event, Anchor Bank also presented Kill with a check for $2,500 for the Epilepsy Foundation of Minnesota — a cause for which Kill is a staunch public supporter. Kill ended with this quote from Pat Riley that illustrates the kind of commitment he’s looking for from his team members and players, and that he recommends for business teams: “There are only two options regarding commitment. You're either in or you're out. There is no such thing as life in-between.” When it comes to our clients, Anchor Bank is all in. We promise to know them, to be an expert and to deliver.

Photo of Coach Kill


Meet Razz Rassier-Saldin – Senior Teller, Eagan

As a senior teller, Razz enjoys the challenge of being on the frontline, working directly with customers. She explains, “Our tellers personify our core values daily. They influence how customers perceive Anchor Bank. We strive to come across as friendly, helpful, knowledgeable and honorable.”

Razz joined Anchor in 2008, and has worked in three branch locations. As a banking veteran, she is happiest teaching and collaborating. She enjoys working with new team members – whether they are new hires or have arrived at Anchor through acquisitions. She works to be the positive face of change as a connector and sounding board. “If you listen closely you can learn a lot,” she said.

Razz tells us more about her life at Anchor:

Q.   Best part of the job?
A.   “The people, customers and co-workers are the best part of the job. I love building relationships with the customers. Every day is different with new challenges and new rewards.”

Q.   Do you have a good work/life balance?
A.   “I do have a good work/life balance. Family is everything. It is important to stay connected. I am fortunate to have two daughters and six grandchildren close by. We are able to spend a lot of time together. I love doing crafts and calligraphy. I would like to do more traveling.”

Q.   What would you like to tell your 21-year-old self-starting out in a career?
A.   “Dream big. If you work hard, you can achieve anything. You are in control of your journey/destiny.”

Q.   Do you feel a responsibility to mentor?
A.   “Absolutely. It gives me the greatest feeling to see my co-workers succeed and reach their goals.”

Q.   What would the title of your autobiography be?
A.   “Give a man a fish and he eats for a day. Teach a man to fish and he eats for a lifetime.”

Q.   Favorite TV Show(s)?
A.   “Dancing with the Stars and The Blacklist.”

Q.   Favorite Book(s)?
A.   “Anything mystery or thriller. I love John Sanford, John Grisham, Danielle Steele and Mary Higgins Clark.”

Q.   Favorite Movie(s)?
A.   “Planes, Trains and Automobiles, and The Blindside.”

Photo of Razz Rassier-Saldin


Meet Melissa Komarnitzky – Director of Compliance

I knew it was a redundant question the minute it left my mouth … ask the Director of Compliance which Anchor core value most resonates with her, and the immediate response: “Doing the right thing!” In addition, Melissa immediately followed up citing collaboration as vital too. She explains, “There is so much at stake that you have to work together. No one is invincible so you rely on co-workers to back you up.”

In 2014, Melissa joined the Anchor team through the acquisition of Voyager Bank. She remembers the transition as both exciting and challenging. “Assimilating into a culture four times bigger than the one I left kept me on my toes.” A self-professed, life-long learner, Melissa feels that continued growth is key to success in all areas of life.

Below are highlights of our conversation

Q.   Best part of the job?
A.   “Teaching and training others. There is no better feeling than helping a co-worker succeed.”

Q.   Do you have a good work/life balance?
A.   “Last year, I maintained good balance. But this year, we updated a lot of systems which required a great deal of attention. It is life. But as a newlywed, I better find that balance again!”

Q.   What would you like to tell your 21-year-old self-starting out in a career?
A.   “Don’t doubt your capabilities. Look for people who are good at things you’d like to be good at and then watch and listen. Have fun!”

Q.   Do you feel a responsibility to mentor?
A.   “I do because I enjoy teaching. I also want to give back as I was fortunate to have good mentors in my early days of banking.”

Q.   What would the title of your autobiography be?
A.   “As a person who loves to travel and connect with strangers, I am going with: My Bags are Always Packed, are Yours?”

Q.   Favorite TV Show?
A.   “In my youth, I loved The Love Boat as it traveled to exotic places. Today, I am a big fan of Scandal and The Blacklist.”

Q.   Favorite Book?
A.   “The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks. It reminds me of my grandparents.”

Q.   Favorite Movie?
A.   “The Notebook! They did a good job making it into a movie.

Photo of Melissa Komarnitzky life


Here's to National Women's History Month

In 1987, Congress designated March National Women’s History Month in perpetuity. Remarkably, it appears Winton Jones and his executive team were a good twenty years ahead of Congress in terms of recognizing women’s capabilities and potential to contribute across the board. On March 8, 1967, Anchor Bank held a Woman’s Forum to offer an “Informative Course on Investing!” Women from the community were invited to learn more about the investing in the stock market. The forum was free and open to all.

The National Women’s History 2017 theme is “Honoring Trailblazing Women in Labor and Business.” Honestly, there is no shortage of trailblazing women to honor at Anchor Bank both past and present. Today, just shy of half the executive team are women, and 13 of the 17 branch managers are women. President Jeff Hawkins credits a culture that values integrity and hard work regardless of gender. He states, “We are fortunate to attract quality individuals who bring tremendous skills and values to the bank.”

We kicked off our coverage with the amazing Norma Goodmundson and look forward to featuring more of the Anchor team in the coming weeks.

1967 Anchor Bank Women's Forum Flyer


Apple Valley branch turns 20

As Anchor Bank celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, its Apple Valley branch has reached a milestone as well. During the first week in March, the branch officially turned 20. The branch was designed to appease the area’s small and medium businesses, as well as growing families.

“It was a good opportunity to take our philosophy into that market,” Jeff Hawkins, then president of Anchor Bank West St. Paul and Apple Valley, told the Pioneer Press in 1997. “The area has a lot of small and medium-sized businesses, which are our niche.”

As Hawkins, who today is the president and COO of Anchor Bank, thought back to the opening of the Apple Valley branch, he reflected on how much the area has grown. He remembered there were only about six or eight financial institutions in the city, whereas today there are closer to 25.

Back in 1997, Anchor Bank took advantage of the trends of the ’90s. The Apple Valley branch tapped into the Beanie Babies craze by offering kids who opened a Zoo Club savings account their own Beanie Baby. Brenda Johnson, former banker at Apple Valley (and current bank sales manager at Eagan), remembers the Beanie Baby craze vividly. Her favorite memory was when she and just one other banker opened 350 children’s savings accounts within the branch’s first month.

“We had people calling the bank to see which ones [Beanie Babies] we had before they would come in to open an account. They were also lined up at the door when we opened in the morning,” Johnson remembered. “Many times, the kids would choose their Beanie and then the parent would tell them they should choose a different one … made us wonder WHO the Beanie was really for!”

Today, the Apple Valley branch continues to serve the community. The branch hosts customer appreciate events, Apple Valley Chamber of Commerce Business After Hours celebrations and other events.

Apple Valley Branch Ad


Farmington welcomes a few extra “bills”

The Farmington community will always remember the summer of 2014 when the branch’s flower bed become home to a nesting duck. Employees reported that she never left the nest and was very tolerant of customers entering the building. On May 6, 2014, mommy duck welcomed a dozen ducklings just in time for Mother's Day. The next day, the whole flock said farewell to the bank to find the nearest watering hole with the help of a few Anchor Bankers to ensure they made it safely.

Farmington Duck


A tribute to Norma Goodmundson

The Jones Family and senior management have long known a true key to Anchor’s amazing 50-year run is the extraordinary talent the bank has been able to attract. When Winton purchased North Shore State Bank in 1967, he also acquired a dynamo named Norma Goodmundson. In 1965, Norma had returned to the workforce at age 42. Winton immediately recognized her intelligence and inherent ability to connect with customers and fellow employees. Norma was a member of the Anchor family for 22 years and rose to become vice president of marketing. She was a tireless champion of women, actively serving in Business and Professional Women (BPW) and the National Association of Banking Women.

Photo of Norma Goodmundson


Wayzata customer banks by horse in 1973

July 19, 1973, the local paper captured Ed McCarthy of Plymouth banking by horse at the Wayzata branch drive-up. “Because we serve the financial needs of the recreation-oriented greater lake Minnetonka area,” reported previous Bank President Joseph Clemons, “many of our customers do their banking from a variety of transports.” Anchor bank still strives to provide the same commitment to personalized services almost 50 years later.

Wayzata Customer Banks by Horse


50 years of growth through exceptional community investing

Winton believed the best way to keep a bank healthy is to make loans for “worthy purposes” whether personal or commercial. In 1967, most loans aimed to help customers make purchases of automobiles, homes and schooling for children. By 2016, small business loans have grown tremendously, and Anchor is proud to be a partner in helping businesses thrive. Chairman Carl Jones “It is exciting and fulfilling to have close working relationships with our customers. Helping our communities to succeed is a very important part of our mission.” He cites the bank’s 20-year relationship with Vertical Endeavors as a prime example. In 2016, Vertical Endeavors began building its fifth location. It has been a privilege to see them achieve great heights!

Vertical Endeavors Photo


Steppin’ up for Steve

Anchor Bank Burnsville was a second-time sponsor and participant in the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life event in 2009. Their team, “Steppin’ up for Steve,” was in honor of a well-known Burnsville businessman and customer, who battled cancer for several years. Many of Steve’s friends and family remembered his life at the event.

Steppin' up for Steve Photo


A 1969 NASA exhibit lands in the First National Bank lobby

Anyone who has seen the movie Hidden Figures understands the extraordinary effort taken to launch a spacecraft into orbit. In a space race against the Soviet Union, the United States was determined to be the first to land a man on the moon. The country was riveted, and perhaps no one more than Winton Jones. Winton, a lifelong learner, had the good fortune to attend with several astronauts the inauguration of President Nixon. Inspired, he was determined to share with the community the amazing beauty and excitement of space travel. Partnering with Honeywell who had provided guidance systems to NASA for over 90% of the launch vehicles, the bank showcased 52 NASA photos throughout the Wayzata branch. Making a deposit has never again been so mesmerizing!

1969 NASA Exhibit Photo


Anchor style!

To celebrate the 1973 opening of First National Bank of Wayzata’s new headquarters at the corner of Highway 12 and 101, uniforms were designed for the frontline bank staff. A plethora of nine patriotic plaid pieces could be worn in “an almost infinite number of combinations!” Just google “plaid” and “style” today and 59,000,000 entries come up. Similar to the Anchor Bank team, plaid endures and is always just a little bit hip!

Photo of women wearing plaid shirts


Two of the best things that happened in banking

Anchor Bank and the ATM both got their start in 1967! The world's first automated cash dispenser – later known as an Automated Teller Machine – was inaugurated at the Enfield branch of Barclays Bank in London on 27th June,1967. Today, there are over three million ATMs worldwide as well as more than 200 different kinds of transaction possible on these highly interconnected terminals. Remember to look for the MoneyPassTM logo for surcharge-free withdrawals across the U.S.

\Photo of woman at ATM