The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Local News

January 20, 2013

Award recognizes bank president’s many successes



“We have a big parade the day after Thanksgiving, and every year 20 or 30 employees dress up and march in it. This year they dressed as candy canes that were lit up. They do it all on their own time,” Geistfeld said.

As part of a fitness program, 24 employees have lost more than 600 pounds.

The bank’s Relay for Life team has donated more than $100,000 to Brown County in the past decade.

“He’s wonderful. He’s very supportive of all the ideas people have,” said Lori Kollman, who has worked at the bank 35 years.

The work atmosphere has paid off with an extremely low turnover rate. To wit: The bank bought the small Lafayette bank in 1992; in the 20 years since, just one employee left that bank.  

A Vernon Center native, Geistfeld graduated from Minnesota State University and joined FDIC as an examiner for six years, based in Mankato. He joined the bank in 1981 and was named president in 1987.

Founded in 1875, the bank has more than 400 shareholders, most of whom live in New Ulm.

“Our stock is widely held. A lot of it gets passed down from generation to generation,” Geistfeld said. “A lot of times you’ll help someone open a safety deposit box after their parents die and there will be a note saying, ‘These are bank stocks, don’t sell them,’ which is pretty gratifying.”

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