From humble beginnings, Peoples State Bank has focused on one principle—servant leadership. Servant leadership reminds us that to be a true leader in our market we must serve our clients, prospects, and co-workers, collectively working for the best interest of all. As a community bank with a rich history in Wisconsin, Peoples State Bank was founded in Wausau in 1962. Our newest full-service bank location is now open in the Milwaukee suburb of West Allis. The new bank, located at 10725 W. National Ave., is the culmination of more than four years of hard work. Our staff has been focused on this day since our initial entry to the market in March 2016.
I was hired as Peoples’ Southeastern Wisconsin Market President. Our start-up operation had a very humble beginning. Truth be told, I worked out of my car early on, while looking for a location that met our needs. My initial goals were to remain cost-effective and centrally located in Milwaukee county.
After finding a location in Wauwatosa, I started hiring people I know and trust. Jose Pimienta, Jr. came on board as a portfolio manager and served as an integral part of our early success filling a variety of roles. He has since been promoted from portfolio manager to business relationship manager serving our growing small business customer base. Jose told me he “saw the move to Peoples as an opportunity to help build a market.” And that’s just what we’ve done.
Within a year our lending office was profitable, bringing in more than $12 million in commercial loans to close out 2016. With that kind of growth, we needed more people.
Our next additions came in early 2017 by way of two former coworkers—Julie Katz and David LaBrie—who both brought a wealth of experience. David was accustomed to selling without a footprint in previous jobs…so the fact we didn’t have a full-service bank wasn’t too concerning for him. Julie’s experience in loan processing has been invaluable to our group.
In 2019, our performance continued to be strong, and serving our growing customer base was top of mind. Bryan Nill was added as our dedicated mortgage officer in the southeastern Milwaukee market. We also added Michael Merritt as a commercial portfolio manager to help meet the service demands of our growing commercial customers. Mike came to Peoples because the footprint of the bank in the Milwaukee market was small but growing and saw our team’s vision.
In late 2019, Mark Chambers joined our team expanding our service reach to meet the growing needs for treasury management and deposit services. Mark told me he joined the team because he “saw first-hand the importance of a community bank and how we can impact our client’s lives daily.” It’s the customer touch that separates Peoples from other banks here.
As the bank’s team grew in size, the portfolio of business and mortgage customers grew as well. By the end of 2019, the team had produced more than $73 million in loans. With that level of success, the next step was to begin planning for a full-service bank location. Our team found a vacant former bank building in West Allis and after receiving board approval to purchase the building, Peoples began working on renovation plans.
Looking to open the new location in the first quarter of 2020, the next step was to find a person to manage the retail side. Barbara Jones was hired to manage the bank location and the retail team. Jones has more than 20 years of banking experience, including five years at a competing West Allis bank. Barb told me she felt a connection to Peoples right away…and that “the bank truly cares about its customers and the communities they serve.”
Barb added Darcheia Elam, Daisy Roblero, and Chelsea Rader to her retail banking staff. Darcheia told me she “found the people at Peoples to be more genuine than any other company she’s worked.” That’s a good thing, and a reflection of everyone we’ve hired in the Milwaukee area…and at all Peoples locations in Wisconsin.
Peoples is open Monday through Friday but may expand as our customer base grows. Peoples offers a variety of personal and commercial banking products and services, including checking and savings accounts, CDs, money markets, mortgages, small- and mid-sized business loans, and cash management tools for our business customers. Our digital banking products provide all the flexibility of online tools you might expect from a national bank, including the BankPeoples app for your phone. Our West Allis location offers three drive-up lanes in addition to walk-in service.
No matter how you interact with Peoples we’re here to provide the best customer service possible. We’re a community bank, not just a bank in your community. We succeed when you succeed. Stop by our West Allis location and see how our humble beginnings have grown into something special.