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2023 year in review

2023 year in review

Chris Ekstrum
President & CEO

2023 certainly wasn’t an easy year for banks across the country, and 2024 is already on track to have its own set of challenges — both new and continuing.

But as we’ve said many times before, we truly have the best team here at First National Bank; no matter what’s going on in this industry, our people show up every day and work diligently to enhance your banking experience.

As is tradition for us each new year, I’d like to highlight some of my favorite ways our teammates did just that in 2023:

We helped you fight fraud.

If our job here at First National Bank is to help improve your financial lives, then the most important piece of that is protecting your money and personal information.

Unfortunately, fraud is something that we — or anyone, for that matter — will never be able to put an end to. However, we can take steps to mitigate and prevent it, including equipping you with the tools needed to protect yourself.

This year, we put together quite a few resources to help you secure your finances and information, covering everything from fraud prevention for businesses to safe holiday shopping.

Business Banker Jon Erickson meeting with a customer about fraud prevention.

Additionally, we partnered with the American Bankers Association and banks across the country for the Banks Never Ask That campaign during Cybersecurity Awareness Month in October.

You can find all of our new fraud prevention resources from the year below:

We wrapped up a construction project — and then started another one.

After completing construction on our Downtown atrium and first floor in 2022, the final piece of the renovation project we began in 2019 was to remodel our second floor and board room.

In the spring, we put the finishing touches on the second floor and began moving teammates into the space; then, we wrapped up the remodel by completing the board room in the fall.

Check out some highlights from the updated space:

Artwork on the walls of First National Bank's recently renovated second floor.

A seating area and artwork in First National Bank's newly renovated second-floor office space.

A hallway lined with offices in the Downtown location of First National Bank.

A seating area and conference room space on the second floor of First National Bank's Downtown location.

With the years-long renovation of our Downtown branch finally complete, we decided it was time to move on to a new construction project: remodeling our Benson Road branch.

We closed the lobby on November 20 to begin construction; however, the drive-up remains open, and our Personal Bankers and safe deposit boxes are still available by appointment.

Our goal is to have the whole branch open and ready to serve you again in March, and you can expect updates from us when that time comes. Until then, here are a few pictures of the progress so far:

An office under construction at First National Bank's Benson Road location.

The lobby of First National Bank's Benson Road location under construction.

The lobby of First National Bank's Benson Road location under construction.

We presented a milestone Community Card check.

2023 marked the 12th year of our innovative Community Card program, through which we have donated $330,486.12 to local schools.

The first school district to join the program back in 2012 was Brandon Valley — and this year, we presented the Brandon Valley School District with a milestone check for $15,543, which brought the Lynx’s all-time earnings to $100,000!

First National Bank's Brandon bankers presenting a Community Card check to the Brandon Valley School District.

The Brandon community has always been incredibly supportive of us, and we are proud to be able to support the community in return by giving back to its schools and students.

To learn more about this milestone distribution and the profound impact of our Community Card program on schools, check out our previous article:

We highlighted our teammates in a new way.

In our 2022 year in review, we promised to create a new blog series for highlighting our teammates after sunsetting the much-loved FNB Family Friday series.

And we delivered on that promise this year with Tea With Teammates: a blog series where we drink tea with our people and ask them to “spill the tea” about themselves and their role at the Bank.

We published three installments of the series in 2023, and it’s already proving to be quite popular. In fact, our most-read — and my personal favorite — features former Executive Administrative Assistant Deb Thompson, who retired at the end of December.

Deb Thompson posing with a mug of tea in First National Bank's hall of presidents.

We will be spilling plenty more tea in the coming year, and in the meantime, you can read all three of the current features below:

We offered our platform to seven outstanding women in business.

The main lesson we learned from FNB Family Friday, and subsequently Tea With Teammates, is that you, our customers, enjoy people-focused content more than any other kind of content.

In that vein, we decided to honor Women’s History Month (March) in a special way for 2023.

Throughout the month, we featured seven women on our blog who work in male-dominated or stereotypically male industries with our Women in Business series. This included two women in agriculture, two female CEOs, and three of our very own First National Bank employees.

Facilities Experience Manager Kae Klinkenborg looking over floor plans with Journey Construction.

It was an absolute honor for us to use our platform to lift up these outstanding women in business, and we still can’t quite believe how popular the series turned out to be.

If you weren’t there to celebrate with us in March, we’d still love for you to read the series at the links below:

We recorded our first live podcast episode.

Our podcast, Common Cents on the Prairie™, has come a long way since our first episode in 2020. Actually, we marked a couple of major milestones in 2023.

First, we ended the year with more than 40,000 all-time episode listens (up from 25,000 at the end of 2022).

Second, we released our first episode recorded in front of a live audience, in which Jenn Reecy and her husband, Mike, shared with host Adam Cox their inspiring story of overcoming the odds.

Adam Cox with Jenn and Mike Reecy while recording a podcast episode.

A logo for the Common Cents on the Prairie podcast projected onto a large screen.

Adam Cox recording a podcast episode with Jenn and Mike Reecy.

It was truly one of our best episodes ever, as proven by the fact that it has become our second most listened-to of all time despite being released less than a year ago.

Thank you to the thousands of you who have listened to it. And for those of you who haven’t, I encourage you to watch the full episode at the link below; you won’t be disappointed.

We added a feedback page to our website.

We understand how important a quality banking experience is for you, which is why we promised in our 2022 year in review to be more intentional about asking you for feedback.

In February 2023, we added a page to our website where you can submit feedback for us at any time, about anything. You can send us your comments regarding an interaction with our teammates, feedback on our products or services, or information about any other experience you’ve had with us.

Share your experience: the page of First National Bank's website dedicated to feedback submissions.

Because with your feedback, we will gain a better understanding of the things we’re doing well and learn what we can do to improve.

You can check out the page at the link below — and while you’re there, why not submit some feedback for us?

We began looking to 2024.

No matter what’s in store for the banking industry in 2024, we have a lot of great things to look forward to here at First National Bank:

  • As a 138-year-old organization, our past is comprised of some fantastic stories and relics. Please keep your eyes peeled to our blog and social media pages in the coming months as we plan to release FIRST: Building a Bank, a Culture, and a Family Over 135 Years, a project we’ve been working on for a few years and are now ready to share with you.
  • With fraud constantly on the rise, we will continue to ramp up our efforts of helping you keep your finances and personal information safe. This will include a more comprehensive, one-stop shop for fraud prevention tips and resources, which we will be adding to our website in 2024.
  • We will be wrapping up construction on our Benson Road branch and sharing some details of that project with you when the time comes. And when we start our next big project, we’ll let you know about that, too.
  • Finally, we will continue to help improve your financial lives by building upon the things we already do so well: releasing more great podcast episodes, sharing important stories from our local communities, and updating and enhancing our website, in-person banking experience, and other technologies to best serve your needs.

Don’t forget to follow us on social media or subscribe to our email list for updates throughout the year. And should you have further questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to us.

Have questions? We're here to help.

Christopher Ekstrum

President and Chief Executive Officer

Bob Baker

Executive Vice President and Director of Corporate Affairs

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