First National Bank transitioned to a state charter and is now Forte Bank.
Our mission is to be a strong, independent, community bank committed to our customers and to improving the quality of life in our communities. In today’s economic environment, many community banks are being sold or consolidated, but that is not the case for us.
In fact, as part of our regular strategic planning initiatives, our board of directors and management team are continuously evaluating how to best position the bank to beat these consolidation odds.
As a result, we began thinking about the appropriateness of our charter. First National Bank had a federal charter, which is actually quite unusual when we are not a regional or national bank. In fact, none of our competitors that are headquartered in Washington, Ozaukee or Dodge counties are federally chartered. After careful consideration, we made the decision that a state charter would be better suited to our current business model, goals and objectives as a community bank.
What does this mean for you?
The biggest change you’ll notice is that we had to change our name. Converting away from a federal charter required the elimination of the word “National” in the bank’s name.
Therefore, as of December 30, 2019, First National Bank became “Forte Bank.”
We are rolling out the new name and logo on signage, stationary and other materials starting December 30 and throughout 2020. Specifically, online and mobile banking, Bill Pay and Popmoney will transition during the first quarter of 2020.
You might be wondering, what else is changing?
Well, aside from visiting a new website URL and seeing new signage with our name, not a whole lot. The bank was not sold. It will continue to be owned by the same 315 shareholders, the majority of whom live and work in the communities we serve. We are maintaining the same management structure, all the same team members and the same board of directors. We are not eliminating any jobs as a result of this transition, so you will continue to see the same faces you know and love.
Your money will also be just as safe and secure as its ever been.
The strength of the bank is not affected by these changes at all. State-chartered banks are still bound by the exact same federal regulations and oversight as federally-chartered banks. The difference is that some of the people providing regulatory oversight are at the state level rather than the federal level.
We are still deeply dedicated to providing you with the high level of customer service that has always been a mainstay of the bank.
In fact, we think these changes will allow us to serve you even better! With a state charter comes reduced regulatory costs which we anticipate will allow us to create better systems and invest in new products and technology to meet your needs more efficiently.
In addition, our business customers will be very pleased to know that we have increased lending capacity with a state charter. We know there are many businesses in this area that are going through growth and expansion phases and we are now in a better position to support your borrowing needs.
This latest change isn’t the first and won’t be the last.
Over the last century, the bank has seen a number of positive changes, from moving off of Main Street in downtown Hartford in order to install a drive-thru teller line, to mobile deposit and virtual wallet capabilities. There is no longevity without some amount of change and growth.
We believe this transition enhances our ability to remain an independent community bank for many generations to come.
Regardless of our name, we want you to know that we continue to be deeply involved in and committed to the local communities we serve, and you remain a valued customer.
We invite you to stop into your local branch to see the same familiar faces. We also encourage you to stay tuned for more communication from us about our name change.
In the meantime, please do not hesitate to reach out to us with any questions or concerns!
You can call any of our branches, or email us at email@example.com.
Forte Bank — your community bank, your opportunity bank.
Read our FAQs about the transition to Forte Bank