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Happy Birthday Anchor!

50 Years and Counting...

It is hard to believe that it was fifty years ago in 1967 that Winton Jones purchased the North Shore State Bank, later renamed Anchor Bank. He opened doors in Wayzata with five full-time employees, $1.7 million in assets and a deep commitment to his customers and employees to serve and deliver value. Winton never referred to his colleagues as employees, but rather “partners.” Drawing from his experiences in World War II, Winton believed superior service and success would come from collaboration.

Anchor Bank Celebrating 50 Years

In the spirit of Winton, Anchor looks to celebrate its greatest resources in 2017 – its team, customers and clients and the community. Thank you one and all for making Anchor Bank an institution that never waivers in its belief that “doing the right thing” matters. It is going to be a great year, and we look forward to the next 50 years!

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


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