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Hartland bank celebrates century of service

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SUMMER CENTENNIAL — Nancy Skophammer, the CEO and President of Farmer’s State Bank is all smiles alongside the memorabilia display created in honor of the bank’s 100th anniversary. (Star Eagle photo by Rachel Rietsema)


By RACHEL RIETSEMA

Staff Writer

The little hamlet of Hartland has good reason to celebrate this summer. And celebrate they shall on June 14, as their trusted Farmer’s State Bank branch has survived and thrived an entire century.

“We have overcome two world wars, a horrendous depression of 1929, numerous cycles of recessions and inflation, an agriculture crisis of the 1980s and the recent economic turmoil of 2008,” said its CEO and President Nancy Skophammer.

So, in the spirit of the occasion, all bank customers are invited to fill 72 slots and spoil a good walk in a nine-hole round of golf. Following this green-filled endeavor, attendees can grab a seat at checker-decorated tables for a picnic in the ballpark.

“They will tee off at 1 p.m.,” Skophammer said. “Then at 5 p.m., we will be serving hamburgers, brats, and hot dogs.”

The younger generation will find entertainment on this day of celebration too. Kids can let loose inside a bouncy house, burn calories in relay races and enjoy many more activities.

“There will also be a drawing later for an iPad,” Skophammer said. “I hope to have a total of five giveaways. A Kindle and a Nook might be up for grabs too.”

Skophammer advises customers to keep their eyes peeled for more details on the Farmer’s State Bank Web site as the event draws closer.

“And if anybody still has any memorabilia they would like to share, we would love to add it to our existing display,” Skophammer said. “They can claim it again in 2013 or donate it if they like.”

Thus far, community members have relinquished savings passbooks, rain gauges, piggy banks, hats, etc. The bank itself has also taken the liberty to add some memorabilia items.

“We tried to keep one of everything we gave away over the years,” Skophammer said. “The little savings passbooks are made of beautiful leather. One is from 1930. Isn’t that wild?”

Clearly, those savings passbooks are a thing of the distant past, and thankfully so, as the bank’s livelihood depends upon it.

“As a small bank, we have been able to engage and utilize technology that the customers desire and require,” Skophammer said. “People also really appreciate how we truly live up to being a friendly, helpful bank. It’s just not something we advertise.”

Having a talented staff does make all the difference. But, so does a great team sophisticated lenders capable of analyzing a myriad of business and personal needs.

“Surviving 100 years has a lot to do with having the right people at the right place at the right time,” Skophammer said. “We work together as a team to strive to be the best we can be.”

This talented staff didn’t always have the spaciousness to carry out such tasks however. Some might remember how tiny the bank used to be prior to the remodel of 1996.

“It was very quaint,” Skophammer said. “I remember our copy machine back in the bathroom. In order to get to it, one had to go through my dad’s little office and Gary Hanson’s office to make a copy.”

With the copy machine fiasco forever put to rest, she and the staff continue to enjoy the expansive floor space.

“We saw a lot of growth because of the new addition,” Skophammer said. “I think the community realized my family was making a commitment by investing in the building.”

Townsfolk can rest assured the lobby door will remain unlocked for many years to come a.

“At one time there were 700 independently-owned banks in the state of Minnesota,” Skophammer said. “Now we are down to approximately 400. As one of the 400, my hope for the next 100 years is that banking can remain independently owned to serve communities just like Hartland.”

In that next century, new opportunities will abound for all types of current and future clientele.

“We aren’t just for farmers,” Skophammer said. “Our mission is to have a great mix of customers.”

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