May 2018

BBB Torch Awards for Ethics Winner

 

November 2017

The Time is Right for Solar

 

September 2017

Checklist for First Time Home Buyers

May 2018

Art Walk Brings Many to Watertown

 

January 2018

Piggy Banks by the Hundreds

 

November 2017

Jingle All the Way Wins!

The Extraordinary Among Us

 

October 2017

Love of Neighbor Shines

March 2018

Tolomeo Promoted to VP

 

January 2018

Nichols Promoted to Bank Officer

Partnership Bank Promoted Muntner

Partnership Bank Promotes Iverson

 

November 2017

Getting There: Rahim Keval

Heckendorf Joins Business Team

Partnership Bank Receives the Highest Award for Business Ethics

A Partnership Bank relationship begins with HI – H for honesty, I for integrity,” said David Braaten, CEO-Partnership Bank at the 2018 Torch Awards luncheon. Partnership Bank, along with six other Wisconsin businesses, received Torch Awards for Ethics from the Wisconsin Better Business Bureau. This statewide Award celebrates trusted businesses who incorporate excellence and ethics into every aspect of their businesses. Since 2005, the Wisconsin BBB has presented Torch Awards to just over 100 businesses. Judged by an independent, voluntary panel of 17 judges, the Award is an external, unbiased validation of a company’s character, culture, and support of community.

“Being recognized by the BBB is a great honor for us,” said Braaten. “I am extremely proud of our team and the work they do to build trusting relationships with clients and the community.” Partnership Bank now joins the elite ranks of a small number of Wisconsin businesses recognized for meeting the highest standards of integrity, ethics, and an unwavering commitment to their clients and the community.

“This public status carries both privilege and responsibility,” Braaten added. A lifetime award, Torch Awards recipients serve as role models and lead their industry by promoting ethical business practices and demonstrating a solid commitment to building marketplace trust. “Especially in the financial services industry, consumer trust has eroded and is reaching all time lows,” continues Braaten. “As a community bank, we’re realistic in knowing our limited influence over giant financial institutions. However, no one can stop us from asking the questions in our community; holding ourselves and others accountable to high standards of honesty, transparency, and integrity; and motivating our clients to ask the right questions before they make financial decisions. Trust is the cornerstone on which every banking relationship is built.”

To be eligible, entrants are first nominated, then asked to complete a questionnaire and provide documentation based on the Six Principles of Trust!

- Transformation from the Top: Leadership’s Commitment to Ethical Practices

- Reinforce and Build: Communication of Ethical Practices

- Unite the Team: Leadership Practices to Unify the Organization

- Steer Performance: Commitment to Performance Management Practices

- Treasure People: Commitment to Ethical Human Resources Practices

- !Enthusiastically Reinvest: Commitment to the Community

Partnership Bank is a $285 million community bank headquartered in Cedarburg. Owned by community shareholders and governed by a community-active board of directors, it has offices in Cedarburg, Mequon, Tomah, and Watertown. By banking with a community bank, your money stays in the community and goes to work in the community to make it a better place for small business owners, families, and consumers to live, work, and play.

Steve & Karen Koenig

Koenig Concrete, Corp.

The Time is Right for Solar

“We want to do the right thing,” said Steve Koenig, Founder - Koenig Concrete, Corp. “The right thing is investing in solar energy now,” he continued.

“It was an easy decision,” added Karen Koenig, President - Koenig Concrete, Corp., “besides the financial incentives, solar makes ecological sense.”

In August, Full Spectrum Solar out of Madison will be installing a 1,150 sq. ft. roof mounted 23 kW photovoltaic system on Koenig’s building located in Jefferson. The system will provide approximately 81% of Koenig’s electricity, cutting their electric bill by $3,480 or more.

Advantages of Solar:

  • Grants from the USDA, incentives from Focus on Energy, and a federal tax credit of 30% (currently until 2019) substantially lower system costs and provide tax advantages.
  • Solar PV has no moving parts aside from the electrons, creating the most reliable and efficient renewable energy system available.
  • Grid-tied systems waste very little energy because any energy that is not immediately consumed is fed into the grid and sold to other customers.
  • PV panels are sustainable - the silicon cells are crystallized from purified sand and can be recycled along with the aluminum and glass after a few decades of use.
  • PV technology continues to become cheaper and more efficient while fossil fuels generally become more difficult and costly to extract via techniques such as hydrofracking, tar sand refinement, and deep-sea oil drilling.
  • Current pricing on panels and inverters are near lows with intense competition among manufacturers.
  • ROI begins on the first sunny day.
  • Solar units have a lifespan of 25 or more years with little to no maintenance required.

“With electric bills increasing on average of 3% per year, solar makes sense,” said Mark Warnick, Project Engineer - Full Spectrum Solar, “think of it as hedging against rising utility rates…as rates rise, your savings grow.”

In addition, “the cost to install a solar unit today is less than half of what it was six to seven years ago,” he added. “When you purchase a solar system, you are in control of your electricity costs…technically, you’re buying your own power plant,” Mark concluded.

Financing the Project

Total cost of Koenig’s solar system installed is $59,000. Breaking from traditional financing, Karen chose a leasing program. “Leasing made sense for a number of reasons,” Karen said.

“We chose a lease to own plan, which we obtained through our local, community bank. Unlike a traditional loan which required a down payment, a lease didn’t,” she said. “In addition, we received an answer from the bank within days without filling out much paperwork. And, with a lease, we could roll in soft charges such as installation and the structural engineering survey into the lease. Our lease payments are fixed for 36 months – the time it will take to pay off the entire system.”

Doing the Right Thing

By installing a solar power system on their commercial building, Koenig’s are doing the right thing.

  • Securing reduced energy rates for 20+ years
  • Reducing their carbon footprint and protecting the environment
  • Increasing their energy independence
  • Serving as a role model for businesses and homeowners
  • Lowering costs by taking advantage of tax incentives, rebates, and grants.
  • Managing their budget by leasing to own versus a traditional loan.

Koenig Concrete, Corp. is a certified Woman-Owned Business Enterprise (WBE). Koenig Concrete, started in 1990 by two guys and a bobcat, has grown to 20+ employees. They specialize in commercial and residential poured walls and flatwork, as well as decorative concrete options.

Steve & Karen Koenig

Koenig Concrete, Corp., 1401 S Industrial Drive Jefferson • koenigconcrete.net

Contributor: Full Spectrum Solar,  1240 E. Washington Avenue, Madison • fullspectrumsolar.com

Mortgage Ready Means: Carefree Financing

Homebuying Made Easy

Buying a home is fun as well as stressful, especially if it is your first time. One thing all people (not just potential homebuyers) should consider is building their Credit Score. A Credit Score shows potential lenders/creditors your financial situation. Having a good credit score (700-850):

- Makes it easier to obtain a mortgage or other loan.

- Lowers the interest rate (higher the score, lower the rate)

- Is a factor in securing utility services such as cable, water, cell phone, etc.

Establishing and Improving Your Credit Score

A Credit Score is built over time. If you don't have a credit history, it may be hard to get a loan or even a credit card. Now is the time to start. A good way to start is to apply for a credit card. Then use it and make timely payments.

Once you've started building your Credit, make sure you form good habits.

- Make 100% of your payments on time (including credit card and utility bills).

- If you carry a balance, make sure it doesn't exceed 30% of your credit limit.

- Avoid opening too many new accounts (a credit card at every store where you shop).

- Keep accounts open for as long as possible.

- Don't "max out" your credit cards. Too much outstanding debt hurts your score.

- Review your Credit Score to make sure it is accurate (at least once a year).

There is no "magic formula" for building a good Credit Score. A slow and steady payment history without too much debt wins every time.

Credit Ready: More than a Good Credit Score

Being "Credit Ready" tells realtors and home sellers that you are able to buy. Credit Ready requires:

- A good Credit Score

- Down Payment - 20% is best to avoid Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI)

- Reliable income to show you can pay back your mortgage loan.

Whether just starting out or ready to shop, we're here to help you get ready for your new home purchase. Turn your dream into reality...start building credit now.