Archive for News

More Staff Promotions!

We are excited to announce more staff on the move!

Christina has been promoted to Vault Customer Service Representative and while you’ll still see her helping our customers in the lobbies, she will also assist in ensuring our teller lines are running smoothly and efficiently.

Shawndra has been promoted to Loan Assistant. While we will miss her in our lobbies with the Retail department, she will continue to provide customer service more through loan processing in our Loan department.

Congratulations to Christina and Shawndra!

President’s Message

Happy Spring to all of you! Along with things like robins and green grass in our yards, we also hope that this brings quite a bit more normalcy to our lives compared to last year at this time. As more of us get vaccinated we should be able to celebrate the holidays, attend those graduations and weddings, etc.

While many of us do not write checks for our smaller, day to day type of things, many of us still do write some checks. For me this is more of the one-off type of things and payments to private parties to purchase something. Often times those private parties will call us to verify funds for the check. Our standard answer is “There are sufficient funds for that check as this time”. Without having arrangements made, we are not in the position to guarantee funds over the phone as we have no control over what other withdrawals might be made before the check in question arrives, and we are required by law to pay the items in the order presented. If you are writing a check to someone that may want to verify funds, please contact us in advance so we can have a verification process in place. 

As I end this message for another newsletter, I want to welcome Dan Korbel to our staff and community. Dan is a great addition to both. Please stop in to say hello to him when you have an opportunity.

Larry Peterson - CEO
Larry D. Peterson, President

COVID-19 Vaccine Scams

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ICBM Impact

Community bank provides local hospital critical access to PPP funding

By Matt Doffing

COVID-19 could not have struck at a worse time for Mercy Hospital and its CEO Mike Youso. Months into merger talks with Essentia Health in March, the rise in coronavirus cases in Minnesota sent revenues reeling for the Moose Lake-based, critical-access hospital.

“When COVID-19 hit, we largely shut down all outpatient services — a large portion of our patient activity. We also saw the emergency room and inpatient activity drop off dramatically,” said Youso. “That translated to an almost-instantaneous, 50-percent reduction in revenue.”

While Mercy Hospital was a testing site for coronavirus, it sent COVID-19 patients to Duluth for treatment. Furloughs, which began in late March, were unavoidable for most employees. “It was nearly disastrous,” said Youso. “People avoided the hospital just out of fear of getting the virus.”

Furloughs, though, did not resolve the revenue-expense mismatch. Its emergency room remained open, and it needed staff to stay operational, even at the low activity levels allowed by Minnesota’s executive orders. Mercy Hospital needed a Paycheck Protection Program loan.

As Youso prepared to choose a lender, he consulted peers at hospitals in the Twin Cities. They already had gone through the process and highly recommended using a community bank for Mercy’s PPP loan. “One of my colleagues tried to get a PPP loan through a big bank, and they had so many struggles,” Youso said. “They went to a community bank and it got done.”

He decided to go to a community bank first. He chose First National Bank of Moose Lake. “It was the smoothest process I have ever experienced in banking,” said Youso, who was CFO of Fairview Hospital for 28 years and oversaw that system’s banking relationships. “It was so smooth and easy; I was honestly kind of shocked.”

Mercy Hospital chose the community bank’s experience when it chose its lender. “We are a locally-owned, employee-owned community bank; our only locations are in Moose Lake,” said Larry Peterson, president of First National Bank of Moose Lake. “We are deeply vested in the community and its success.

“When COVID-19 hit and businesses were impacted by huge revenue declines, we knew we had to be there for them immediately,” Peterson continued. “Our loan staff worked long hours, seven days a week, to understand the ever-changing PPP loan process, and to contact customers and offer assistance in getting applications submitted. I could not be prouder of our staff and the number of loans we submitted to help keep our community strong.”

Timely access to emergency funding allowed Youso to refocus on finalizing merger talks. “It was one less thing to worry about while we were trying to work through this merger,” he said. “We just closed the deal on August 1.”

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