Banking Briefs

First Business Bank gives back on the golf course
First Business Bank – Milwaukee will attempt to raise $30,000 through its 2015 First Business Invitational, an outing that allows area business owners and executives to compete for a cause on the golf course.

The second annual event, scheduled for Monday, July 27, at Westmoor Country Club, will bring together executives who are as serious about giving back to the community as they are about golfing.

For business leaders who enjoy a round of golf, “it’s a way to pursue their passion, meet other business leaders and support their charity,” said Dave Vetta, president and chief executive officer of First Business Bank – Milwaukee.

The invitational asks two-person teams to select an area nonprofit organization they want to golf for. The $30,000 to be awarded this year will be distributed among the top three twosomes. The teams’ designated organizations will take home 100 percent of the event proceeds, as First Business Bank underwrites event costs.

Last year’s outing, which was designed to award the nonprofit chosen by the top performing golf team, pulled in $18,000. All funds went to Lifesong for Orphans, a nonprofit that advocates for orphans and foster care kids and also supports families in the adoption process. The organization was selected by invitational winners Tim Wallen of Brookfield-based MLG Capital and David Nash.

The First Business Invitational, which BizTimes Media is a partner in presenting, is scheduled to kick off at noon on July 27. Registration will open at 11 a.m., followed by a brief welcome and introduction program and a shotgun start on the golf course at 12:30 p.m.

First Business Bank is currently recruiting golfers, and registration is open to clients and friends of the bank. Cost is $1,000 per twosome. For more information on the golf outing or to inquire about participating, contact First Business Bank at (262) 792-7102.

Westmoor Country Club is located at 400 S. Moorland Road in Brookfield.

Gehl family gives $3 million in gifts to employees
After they sold their Germantown company in March, members of the Gehl family gave generous cash gifts of gratitude to the employees at Gehl Foods Inc.

Each full-time employee received a gift of $10,000, including a $5,000 donation to his 401(k) plan and $5,000 in his next paycheck. Each part-time employee received a gift of $7,500, including a $5,000 donation to his 401(k) plan and $2,500 in his next paycheck.

All told, the company’s 370 employees received more than $3 million.

“It was  just a great act of appreciation and generosity on the family’s part and meant so much to everyone here,” said John Slawny, vice president of business development at Gehl Foods.

The Gehl family sold the company to Wind Point Partners, a Chicago-based private equity firm, for an undisclosed sum.

Gehl Foods has three Germantown facilities and a West Bend bottle-making operation. Gehl Foods, which manufactures aseptic dairy products including nacho cheese, pudding and smoothies, reported $250 million in sales in 2014. It was founded in 1896 by J.P. Gehl as a three-room creamery that made “renovated” butter. In the 1960s, it shifted to non-refrigerated, sterile dairy products.

Katherine Gehl rejoined the family company in 2007 and led it as president and chief executive officer since 2011, succeeding her father, John, and her brother, Andy. Gehl has been succeeded by Eric Beringause, a food industry veteran who most recently served as CEO of Sturm Foods in Manawa. Gehl continues as a member of the company’s board of directors.

Gehl Foods has increased sales by 80 percent and added more than 100 jobs since 2007. During that time, the company has invested more than $100 million in new technologies and has increased product innovation and new business. More than 1 million people nationally consume Gehl cheese sauces each day in more than 200,000 movie theaters, concession stands, convenience stores and restaurants.

Associated Bank buys mortgages from Habitat for Humanity
Associated Bank has purchased about $2 million in residential mortgages from Milwaukee Habitat for Humanity in one of the largest one-time mortgage sales in the chapter’s history.

Through the purchase of the mortgages, Green Bay-based Associated Bank has provided funding for Habitat’s five-year renovation of about 25 homes in Milwaukee’s Washington Park neighborhood.

Habitat will target the neighborhood’s vacant, city-owned foreclosures, and through renovation or complete rebuild, transform them into livable single family homes.

Using funding from charitable donations, profits from its Habitat ReStores and mortgage payments from partner family homeowners, Milwaukee Habitat is able to fund its revitalization projects. Partner families must go through a screening process, participate in financial education and contribute up to 500 hours of sweat equity to their homes and neighbors’ homes before they become Habitat homeowners.

Habitat eventually sells the mortgages, like in this Associated Bank deal, and uses those funds to start new projects.
Associated will also offer its employees as volunteers on the Habitat worksites over the next five years. And the bank’s director of finance, Craig Hahn, will join the Habitat Milwaukee board of directors in December.

Baird Capital invests in Alpha Source
Milwaukee-based Alpha Source, a leading medical equipment solutions provider, has received a direct private investment from Milwaukee-based Baird Capital, a division of Robert W. Baird & Co. Inc.

Baird Capital described the investment as “significant,” but did not reveal the figure.

Baird has named Rick Lytle as the new chief executive officer of Alpha Source. He has more than 20 years of experience in global health care products and services. Norine Calson-Weber, who founded and co-owns Alpha Source, will continue to manage operations as chief operating officer.

As part of the agreement, Baird Capital partner Michael Bernstein and operating partner Fred Robertson have been appointed to the Alpha Source board of directors.

Alpha Source makes medical devices, particularly batteries and electronic components used in medical equipment maintenance and service, medical device battery manufacturing and medical equipment parts distribution.

Associated Bank opens Third Ward branch
Associated Bank has opened its new branch at 102 N. Water St. in Milwaukee’s Historic Third Ward.

The branch, at the corner of Erie and Water Streets, has a smaller footprint than the Green Bay-based bank’s other locations. The 2,691-square-foot space also includes a digital demonstration zone. Both changes are a response to customers’ shift toward using online banking most frequently.

The full-service branch, one of just two bank branches in the Third Ward, has a teller lobby as well as two 24-hour ATM units. In the digital demonstration zone, a bank concierge helps customers with the bank’s online and mobile tools.

Associated is also including the new branch in its rollout of virtual teller technology, in which a customer interacts with a remote teller via video. The bank plans to install the machine by the end of the year.

The branch will be managed by Kelly Ostricki, who has 17 years of banking experience.

CBRE Group acquires Environmental Systems Inc.
CBRE Group Inc. announced it completed the acquisition of Brookfield-based systems integrator and energy management services provider Environmental Systems Inc.

The mammoth Los Angeles-based real estate management firm also recently announced it has acquired the Global WorkPlace Solutions division of Glendale-based Johnson Controls Inc. for $1.5 billion. GWS provides integrated facilities management solutions for those with large commercial real estate usage. CBRE, which has more than 52,000 employees and more than 370 offices across the globe, said the acquisition of ESI will expand its energy efficiency offerings.

ESI was founded in 1986 and offers technology, solutions and services for systems integration, building automation, energy management, advanced analytics, security systems and support services. The solutions can be used in office, retail, industrial, critical environments, health care and education facilities. It has about 65 employees, and its Brookfield location will remain open for the foreseeable future, according to a CBRE spokesperson.

ESI’s service offerings allow for more efficient building system management through remote monitoring and real-time analysis of energy usage. It provides the services at more than 2,800 U.S. locations, totaling more than 180 million square feet.

ESI has become part of the Energy & Sustainability team in CBRE’s Global Corporate Services division. The transaction price was not disclosed.

Park Bank launches business banking app
Milwaukee-based Park Bank has launched a mobile app, Park Bank Mobile Business, to allow business owners to manage their cash flow wherever they are.

Park Bank, which focuses on commercial banking, created the app as a complement to its online banking offering. The app is available for download on iPad, iPhone and Android devices.

Using the app, customers can check account balances and activity, make deposits, transfer funds between Park Bank accounts, pay bills and schedule payments. Park Bank also plans to introduce additional features in the next few months.

Park Bank has more than $850 million in assets and offers services including commercial lending, treasury management, equipment finance, private banking, personal banking, residential mortgage, and corporate and personal investment services to the independent business community.

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