First National Bank transition to Forte Bank Frequently Asked Questions
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Transition to Forte Bank FAQs


1. Why did First National Bank change its name to Forte Bank?

First National Bank transitioned from a federally-chartered bank to a state-chartered bank. Converting away from a federal charter required the elimination of the word “National” in the bank’s name.

2. Why did First National Bank convert to a state charter?

As part of our regular strategic planning initiatives, we began evaluating the appropriateness of our charter, and whether a federal charter was best suited to our current business model, goals and objectives as a community bank. 

State charters are the typical organizational structure for community banks. First National Bank had a federal charter, which is actually quite unusual when we are not a regional or national bank. In fact, First National Bank was the only bank headquartered in Washington County that was federally chartered, and there are no banks headquartered in Ozaukee or Dodge counties that are federally chartered either. It makes sense for our bank to have a similar regulatory structure as other comparably-sized and community-focused banks.
After two years of careful consideration, our senior leadership and board of directors decided that the bank and our communities would best be served by converting away from a federal charter to a state charter. Converting to a state charter:
  • Gives us access to local regulators who know and understand the economic conditions of Wisconsin and can address concerns more effectively.
  • Expands our legal lending limit. National banks and state banks have different legal lending limits. The limit for national banks is more restrictive, which hinders our ability to serve our loan customers. The higher lending limit for banks in Wisconsin allows us to better support our existing customers’ borrowing needs and attract new customers to the bank.
  • Reduces our regulatory costs. This annual savings will allow us to devote more resources to supporting community initiatives, investing in technology to better serve customers, and offering more competitive wages and benefits so we can retain the best staff.

We believe this transition ensures our ability to remain an independent community bank for many generations to come.

3. How does the name and charter change affect the strength of the bank?

The strength of the bank is not affected by these changes at all. 

Converting to a state charter does not mean that the bank will no longer be complying with federal regulations or that the bank will have less oversight. 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 enforcing the regulations are at the state level rather than the federal level.

We will continue to be FDIC insured. The bank is stable, solid and secure and your money will be just as safe and secure as it’s always been.

4. How does this change affect the services you provide me?

We are still deeply dedicated to providing you with the high level of customer service that has always been a mainstay of the bank.

If anything, we think these changes will allow us to serve you even better! We anticipate that the reduced regulatory costs will allow us to create better systems and invest in new products and technology to meet your needs more efficiently. 

5. What does this change mean to me as a customer?

Well, there’s actually so much that’s not changing that you might only notice that our website and your statements have a slightly different look.

Other than seeing the new name on signage, paper, the mobile app and online, you will continue to see the same people you know and love inside our buildings.

For our business customers, you will be very pleased that we now have increased lending capacity. 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.

6. Can I still use my debit card?

Absolutely. When your current card expires you will receive a new card with our new name. In the meantime, your card will continue to work.

7. Can I still use my checks?

Yes. Although the bank’s name is changing, our routing number and your account number are not changing so your checks will continue to work.

8. Will my account number change?

No. You will continue to have the same account number.

9. Do I need to do anything with my direct deposit or direct debits?

No. The bank’s name change will not impact your direct deposit or any direct debits.

10. Who is the owner of the bank? Has there been a change in ownership?

No, there has been no change in ownership. We are still 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, the same senior level staff, and the same board of directors.

11. Was First National Bank bought by another bank?

Most definitely not. There has been no change in the bank’s ownership. We are still owned by the same 315 shareholders, the majority of whom live and work in the communities we serve. 

12. Do you have a new management team? Do you have a new staff?

No, we do not have a new management team or staff. We are maintaining the same management structure, the same senior level staff, the same board of directors, and all of the same staff members you know and love.

13. When will this change occur?

The official date of the change was December 30, 2019. 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.

14. Why did you choose the name Forte Bank?

We chose this name because “forte” means ability, aptitude, competence, effectiveness, efficiency, strength, specialty and talent. We certainly believe that we possess these skills and attributes when it comes to being your independent community bank.

Forte Bank — your community bank, your opportunity bank.

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