Janesville31°

Bank to close Footville branch

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FRANK J. SCHULTZ
December 30, 2009
— For the first time in 100 years, Footville will be without a bank.

The Janesville-based Mid America bank recently informed its Footville customers that its Footville branch will close Feb. 20.


Mid America President Brad Palubicki said the decision to close was a business decision: The revenue did not support the cost of maintaining the Footville branch.


“I feel bad from a customer standpoint because we do have a lot of customers out there, but it’s the right thing to do for the bank,” Palubicki said.


Palubicki said the Footville bank was good for deposits but offered few opportunities for generating loans.


“If we’re going to invest in a branch location, I’d rather invest in a market that produces better revenues,” Palubicki said.


Footville is a village of about 760 residents located about 10 miles west of Janesville.


Mid America told customers they may continue banking at the main branch in Janesville and/or bank online. The Mid America ATM will remain in Footville, dispensing cash and accepting deposits, according to the letter to customers.


Village Clerk Chris Carlson said she’s heard expressions of anger and frustration from people who grew up with the bank.


“Now their choice is to drive over to Milton Avenue (in Janesville) to stay with Mid America or to find another bank,” Carlson said.


Older people especially like to be able to go to a bank and talk to someone rather than managing their accounts online, Carlson said.


Palubicki said he’s worried customers might take this move as a bad sign for Mid America, but nothing could be further from the truth; the move will strengthen the bank’s bottom line by cutting expenses.


Tim Simz of the state Division of Banking said the closing is not related to any question of instability on the part of Mid America.


“It’s just a business decision by the bank. There’s no regulatory pressure or anything like that,” Simz said.


Ironically, Mid America got its start as the Footville State Bank. The name was changed to Mid America in 1989, and it opened a Janesville branch in 1990, according to the bank’s Web site.


Footville State Bank was chartered as a Wisconsin financial institution Jan. 3, 1910.


Mid America opened a branch in Williams Bay in 1999. It also has a “loan production office” in Brookfield.


Wisconsin Bancorp, whose founders include Palubicki, acquired Mid America in July 2008.


Carlson held out hope, saying she’s been calling around, looking for a bank that might want to take a chance on Footville.



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