An Ottawa bank that has served the community for a century is taking a cue from its founders on how to forge business relationships.
Roger Maxwell, Kansas State Bank president, and Blake Jorgensen, the bank’s executive vice president, announced long time friend and bank colleague Wayne Duderstadt, who worked for Peoples Bank for the past four decades, would join Kansas State Bank as a senior vice president/cashier.
“We are excited about him coming on board,” Maxwell said. “He cut his teeth in community banking. That is his background. We fit that mold real well. To have somebody like that locally, who knows the community and been involved with the community, could not be a more perfect fit for us. The timing could not be more perfect for us. We have been a community bank based organization for 100 years.”
Kansas State Bank, 236 N. Main St., Ottawa, which celebrated its 100th birthday this week, was started by the Hill family in 1917. Bob Hill, the son of founder Glen Hill, and Ransom Bennett, Peoples Bank chairman, were lifelong friends and competitors (Bennett at one time had a photo of himself and Hill in a wagon together when they were 2 years old).
Banking history is destined to repeat as Duderstadt, who was Peoples Bank’s chief administrative officer, will assume his Kansas State Bank duties on Tuesday.
“I have always liked working for a community bank, a family-owned bank,” Duderstadt said. “It is perfect for me. I was at Peoples for almost 40 years. My job there had been a lot of things over the years. The financial side is where I have always been. Reporting and statement preparation is in my background. This is a good fit for me. I have known these guys for a long time.”
Wint Winter Jr., Peoples Bank chairman and CEO, announced in June the sale of Peoples Bank to National Bank Holdings Corporation. Soon after, Maxwell called Duderstadt to set up an informal meeting, which set the wheels in motion.
“We had a strong need,” Maxwell said. “We are replacing our current cashier who is retiring.”
Jorgensen worked with Duderstadt for 10 years at Peoples Bank before coming to Kansas State Bank five years ago.
“We know how each other works,” Jorgensen said. “We are excited to get back together. Wayne is very even-keeled and easy going. He has a lot of common sense; a lot of experiences in his past that make him a perfect fit for what we are doing here.”
Duderstadt said being familiar with Kansas State Bank through the years made it an easier decision to join the team.
“It is nice to know who you will be working with and working for,” Duderstadt said. “It has been like sitting down and talking with family. It has been a good experience. There are several people here that I have worked with over the years.”
Jorgensen said Kansas State Bank is all about team.
“We have an exciting future and excited about the team that has been put together,” he said. “[Duderstadt] has been building relationships the 40 years he has been here. Our tag line is ‘friends, family and future with hometown people that you know.’ We are adding to the people that you know.”
Maxwell said the trio has a combined 100 years of banking experience, all in Ottawa.
“It is building a team that the community already knows, put them under one roof,” Maxwell said. “Wayne knows who the players are and where people are located.”
Duderstadt never thought about working for the competition, but always admired the work of Kansas State Bank.
“It has been fun to watch Kansas State over the years and they have grown quite a bit,” he said. “It will be a fun team to work with. The community needs a bank that is a family-owned community bank. Kansas State has got a real advantage as that is what they are to the core.”
Duderstadt said Kansas State Bank is entrenched in the community.
“Kansas State has been real keen on serving the community and being part of the community on local boards,” he said. “Blake has been on the city commission for years. Roger has several positions he holds on local boards. I am on the hospital board, [Ottawa] University board and church board. All those things gets you more integrated into the community. It is the right thing to do if you are a community bank.”
Duderstadt, a self-proclaimed lover of history who is restoring one of Ottawa’s historic homes at Third and Elm streets, said it was refreshing to see the refurbishing of the bank’s building this past few months.
“I loved it when the columns appeared out of nowhere,” he said. “I enjoyed watching the signage change.”
The building refurbishing was part of the bank’s 100th anniversary celebration.
“Anytime you see a business that has been around for 100 years, that is a milestone,” Jorgensen said. “Particularly one that has been in the same location with the same name for 100 years; only had two families that has owned it for that time period. Ottawa has seen floods, fires, wars, recessions and depressions, so has Kansas State Bank. The institution has weathered those years and is in a strong financial position.”
Duderstadt came to Ottawa to attend Ottawa University and never left, he said.
“My senior year, I had an accounting internship with [Peoples] Bank,” Duderstadt said. “When that was over they asked me to stay and I have been there pretty much ever since. I took five years off to work for [Ottawa] University. Other than that, I had been with Peoples the whole time. It has been a great experience.”
Duderstadt said this opportunity offers a chance to take a different path.
“I like doing something different,” he said. “It is good to have new things come along that you can jump into and enjoy learning and [take on] challenges as they come along.”