102 South Clinton Street
Iowa City, Iowa 52240
Telephone: (319) 356-5800
Web site: https://www.midwestone.com
Founded: 1934 as Iowa State Bank & Trust Company
Total Assets: $3.21 billion (2017)
Stock Exchanges: Nasdaq
Ticker Symbol: MOFG
NAICS: 551111 Offices of Bank Holding Companies
MidWestOne Financial Group Inc. is the holding company for the MidWestOne Bank, a retail banking chain that offers personal and business banking services, and MidWestOne Insurance Services, Inc., a subsidiary that consists of three Iowa insurance agencies. Based in Iowa City, Iowa, MidWestOne Bank operates 44 branch locations, including 23 in 13 counties in central and east-central Iowa, a specialized home mortgage center, and 17 branches and a loan production office in the Minneapolis area and western Wisconsin. Additionally, MidWestOne maintains offices in Naples and Fort Myers, Florida, and Denver, Colorado. Its personal banking products and services include checking accounts, certificates of deposit and money market accounts, health savings accounts, home mortgages, home equity loans, auto loans, personal loans, credit and debit cards, and online and mobile banking. Its wealth management offerings include investment advice, life insurance, and trust services. For business customers, MidWestOne provides business checking and savings products, business credit cards, commercial mortgage and construction loans, Small Business Administration loans, agricultural loans, merchant credit card processing services, advanced clearing house services, wire transfer services, fraud protection tools, and business mobile banking. MidWestOne is a publicly company listed on the Nasdaq.
Throughout much of its history, MidWestOne Bank was led by the Summerwill family, starting with Ben Summerwill Sr. Born in Odebolt, Iowa, in March 1886, he began his career in the lumber business, starting in Mapleton. He then secured investors and established the Ben S. Summerwill Lumber Co., which operated lumberyards in South Dakota and Nebraska. Summerwill next acquired land in South Dakota and moved to Pierre to launch a cattle business in 1916. Twelve years later he sold most of his cattle assets, moved to Iowa City, and turned his attention to banking, joining the Iowa Banking Department. He would soon be quite busy as a bank liquidator. The stock market crash in 1929 led to the decade-long Great Depression and numerous bank failures. Summerwill closed eights banks in eastern Iowa, including four in Iowa City. One of those Iowa City banks served as the foundation for the Iowa State Bank & Trust Company, the predecessor of MidWestOne Bank, which Summerwill helped organize in 1934.
Summerwill served as president of the Iowa State Bank until January 1953, when he became chair and his son, Ben Edward Summerwill, took over as president. The elder Summerwill remained active in the business until his death at the age of 81 in 1968. In the meantime, a third generation of the Summerwill family, Ben E. Summerwill's son Richard “Dick” Summerwill, joined the bank in 1963. He then worked his way up through the ranks, holding several executive positions until 1984, when he took over as president and CEO. A year earlier, the ISB Financial Corp. was incorporated in the state of Iowa to serve as the holding company for the Iowa State Bank.
Taking the reins of an agricultural-oriented bank during the early 1980s brought both business and personal challenges. It was an especially difficult time for family farmers. The number of family farms in the United States had plummeted from 6.6 million to 2.4 million since World War II. A number of factors, including high interest rates, grain embargoes, and low crop prices, strained the finances of small farmers to the breaking point. Widespread foreclosures led to growing tension between farmers and bankers.
One eastern Iowa farmer, Dale Burr, decided to take matters into his own hands one December morning in 1985. When his wife tried to prevent him from going into the town of Hills, where he did his banking, Burr shot her dead. He then drove to the Hills Bank, fatally shot John Hughes, the bank president, in his office, and then left to hunt down and kill a neighbor with whom he had feuded over the years. When he was stopped by a deputy on a country road later that morning, Burr took his own life in the cab of his pickup truck.
Dick Summerwill was told of the shooting when he attempted to leave for lunch that day. “A police officer virtually tackled me and asked where I thought I was going,” Summerwill recalled to George Ford in the Cedar Rapids Gazette in February 2011. The officer explained, “A farmer who shot a banker in Hills is still at large and we think he may be looking for more bankers.” Summerwill stayed indoors and ate at his desk.
Summerwill guided the Iowa State Bank through this difficult period for farmers and the local economy. By 1990 the bank had five branches in and around Iowa City and controlled $225 million in assets, an amount that approached $275 million in 1993. When 1997 came to a close, the Iowa State Bank had increased its assets to $330 million.
In early 1998 the Iowa State Bank began the first major expansion effort in its history with the acquisition of the Conrad Bancorporation, the holding company for the First State Bank in Conrad, Iowa. Established in 1931, the First State Bank brought assets of $90 million and expanded the Iowa State Bank's presence to central Iowa with branches in Conrad, Melbourne, and Parkersburg.
Summerwill, who was turning 65 in December 2000, was soon preparing to turn over the day-to-day management of the Iowa State Bank to a new president and CEO while remaining chair of the board. For the post, he tapped Charlie Funk, the first non-Summerwill family member to lead the bank. Summerwill's daughters and daughter-in-law were bankers elsewhere but were not considered for the presidency of the Iowa State Bank. “They are doing too well,” Summerwill explained to Marlene Perrin in the Cedar Rapids Gazette in December 2000. “I can't afford them.”
Funk had been the president, central region manager, and CIO for the Benton Bank in Des Moines, Iowa, which had been recently acquired by Wells Fargo. Preferring the life of a community banker over the bureaucracy that came with a large bank, Funk applied for the position at the Iowa State Bank. A decade earlier he had failed in an attempt to become an investment officer, but left a favorable impression with Summerwill. He now possessed the experience that Summerwill believed was best suited for guiding the Iowa State Bank during this new stage of its development.
On January 1, 2001, Funk took the reins of the bank and its assets of $390 million. A few weeks later, the bank opened a new branch in North Liberty, Iowa, one of eastern Iowa's fastest-growing communities. Although its footprint remained unchanged for the next few years, the bank increased its assets to more than $500 million by the summer of 2004. The following March, a new bank branch opened in West Liberty, Iowa.
ISB Financial adopted the MidWestOne Financial Group Inc. name, but the combined operation maintained its headquarters in Iowa City. Funk remained president and CEO and Summerwill assumed the chairship. Charles S. Howard, the chair, president, and CEO of MidWestOne, served as vice chair. A 12-member board of directors was divided equally between ISB Financial and MidWestOne Financial members
The Iowa State Bank name was retired in favor of the MidWestOne Bank name. The combined bank held about $1.5 billion in assets and $1.1 billion in deposits and maintained 29 banking offices, becoming the third-largest independent publicly traded bank holding company based in Iowa. The former Iowa State Bank benefited from economies of scale that allowed it to better compete against Wells Fargo, which commanded the top-market share in Iowa. With greater scale, MidWestOne was able to serve the needs of larger customers in its region and offer new products. In addition, it added a trust and wealth management unit. The stock of both of the institutions had previously traded on the Nasdaq on an over-the-counter basis. Following the merger, MidWestOne received approval to have its shares listed on the Nasdaq Global market.
Converting the bank branches to the MidWestOne brand was hindered by weather events in 2008. In May, the Parkersburg branch was destroyed by a tornado and had to be completely rebuilt. The following month, branches in Waterloo and Coralville, Iowa, were damaged by massive flooding. The latter reopened by the end of the year, but in the fall of 2008 MidWestOne announced it was selling its downtown Waterloo site and relocating to a different location in the city.
The merger also had some lingering effects. During the fourth quarter of 2008 MidWestOne took a $27.2 million noncash goodwill impairment charge related to the MidWestOne merger but also the First State Bank transaction from a decade earlier. Furthermore, MidWestOne wrote down $6.2 million, an impairment charge related to the loss in value of securities caused by market conditions. The bank could have spread out the charges over time but elected to “take its medicine and move on,” as Funk told Cedar Rapids Gazette's Dave DeWitt in February 2009.
Other banks and financial institutions faced far greater challenges than MidWestOne as the economy lapsed into recession following a financial crisis during the fall of 2008. Numerous banks and well-known financial institutions failed and a government bailout program had to be implemented to mitigate further damage. After recording a loss in 2008 due to the write-downs, MidWestOne returned to profitability in 2009 despite the poor economy, and its assets increased slightly from $1.51 billion to $1.53 billion.
In April 2011 Summerwill retired as MidWestOne's chair. He was succeeded by Kevin Monson, the president of an Iowa City architectural firm. The Summerwill family's control of MidWestOne came to an end, but the bank continued to expand under Funk's leadership. In 2014 MidWestOne acquired Central Bancshares Inc. of Golden Valley, Minnesota, in a $138 million deal that included $64 million in cash and $74.3 million in stock. Central Bancshares was the holding company for the Central Bank, which had been founded in 1988. It brought $1.2 billion in assets, 20 full-service banking offices in the Minneapolis–St. Paul, Minnesota, area and western Wisconsin, and a pair of Florida locations.
MidWestOne Bank; MidWestOne Insurance Services, Inc.
Hills Bancorporation; Iowa First Bancshares Corp.; U.S. Bancorp.
DeWitte, Dave. “MidWestOne Earnings Swing to Loss.” Cedar Rapids (IA) Gazette, February 14, 2009.
Ford, George C. “Iowa State Bank of Iowa City Merging with Oskaloosa Bank.” Cedar Rapids (IA) Gazette, September 13, 2007.
———. “Retiring Banker Says Next Crisis Not Matter of If, but When.” Cedar Rapids (IA) Gazette, February 13, 2011.
“Iowa City Bank Owner Will Buy Bank in Conrad.” Cedar Rapids (IA) Gazette, January 14, 1998.
Klein, Jeff. “Ben S. Summerwill, 1886–1968; An Organizer of Iowa State Bank & Trust.” Iowa City (IA) Press Citizen, January 5, 1968.
Painter, Kristen Leigh. “Twin Cities' Central Bank to be Acquired by Iowa Firm.” Minneapolis Star Tribune, November 22, 2014.
Perrin, Marlene. “Retirement Gift Harkens to Old Days.” Cedar Rapids (IA) Gazette, December 10, 2000.