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Thursday, September 3, 2015

MaryBeth Matzek: Investors Community Bank going strong after IPO

By MaryBeth Matzek
Taking a bank public isn't an easy task. Just ask Tim Schneider, chief executive officer and co-founder at Investors Community Bank in Manitowoc. The bank, which focuses primarily on agriculture and commercial deals, launched a successful initial public offering in January.

Taking Investors Community Bank public was viewed as a way to help the bank, which also has a branch in Stevens Point and three lending offices, get to the next level by increasing the amount of available capital, Schneider says.

"It's been a strategic goal of ours for the past several years to find an acquisition and the public offering provided us with access to additional capital," he says. "By going public, we've also increased the accessibility of people to buy our stock and expand our investor pool."

The stock trades on the NASDAQ exchange under the ICBK symbol. As for the stock, it's been trading in the $18 to $19 range, which Schneider said was expected.

Previously, bank stocks were traded privately and the bank had to do a lot of legwork to connect sellers with potential buyers. The pool of buyers for the bank stock was also smaller, Schneider says.

Going through the IPO process was a bit daunting, but the bank's staff was up to the challenge, Schneider says. As a public company, "things are more complex on the accounting side" and the bank hired staff to help with the additional work, including the preparation of quarterly audits and reports. "We used to only do that on an annual basis," he says.

For the bank's general customers, the change has been seamless, Schneider says.

"Now that we're publicly traded, we have a higher profile and we're out there talking with other bankers about possible acquisitions," he says, adding that purchasing another bank will elevate Investors to the "next level."

"We were well capitalized before the stock sale and have also seen a lot of organic growth," Schneider says. "We are in a strong position."

Part of that growth comes from the agriculture business sector. All of Investor's ag bankers grew up on farms and understand what farmers are going through, Schneider says.

"Our bankers spend a lot of time on farms talking with clients. It's a great differentiator," he says. "It's taken a lot of work to get through the IPO, but we're excited for our future."

Residency program falls through

The planned residency program at the site of Shawano Medical Center, which was being developed by Shawano Medical Holdings LLC, is now off. The City of Shawano announced earlier this summer that the group would take over the hospital site once ThedaCare opens its new Shawano hospital later this month.

Under the plan announced, doctors would train at the residency training center. The development company led by Todd Schultz initially said it would treat veterans at the facility, but then expanded its patient "scope" to include everyone. That expansion led ThedaCare officials, who needed to sign off on the deal, to withdrawal its tentative approval since it would create a competing local hospital.

ThedaCare and the city of Shawano will now go back to the drawing table and look at other options for the site. City of Shawano officials say they are willing to work with Schultz' group at finding another site in the city for the residency training program.

Marcus closing Appleton theater

The Marcus Corp. is closing Valley View Cinema, a long-time budget movie theater in Appleton. The company says the decision was made because of the limited availability of 35mm film in the market, which is what the second-run theater plays.

The theater opened in July 1978 as Valley Fair Cinema with three screens. Three additional screens were added and the theater became a second-run venue with discounted prices in 1996. It was then renamed Valley View Cinema.

-- Matzek, a freelance writer and editor, is the owner of 1Bizzy Writer. She has worked in the past as a news editor at Insight Publications and as business editor at the Appleton Post-Crescent.

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