In 1952, at age 24, Dave Ulrich’s entrepreneurial journey began on the corner of 27th Street and College Avenue in Oak Creek.
“I moved out here with absolutely nothing,” the late Ulrich said. “There was a time when I tried to borrow $1,200 and couldn’t do it. But I had an opportunity, and I felt the need to do something. If you’ve got a dream, then you have to work in whatever way necessary to make that dream come true. It’s as simple as that.”
That $1,200 loan that never came to fruition was what prompted Ulrich to form the bank that would eventually become Tri City National Bank. His can-do attitude, roll-up-your-sleeves work ethic, and passion for small business continue in the bank today.
Initially known as Tri City State Bank, the first bank branch opened in Oak Creek on October 28, 1963, with a mission to treat every customer with fairness and kindness. In 1969, a second branch opened in Franklin, and by 1978, Tri City had five locations, serving Oak Creek, Franklin, Hales Corners, West Allis, and Brown Deer.
Maintaining the same entrepreneurial spirit as its founder, Tri City was an early adopter to new banking products and services. In 1981, the bank installed its first TYME Machine, an acronym for Take Your Money Everywhere. Tri City was also the first in the state of Wisconsin to have banks inside grocery stores. By 1990, the bank had more than 20 locations, with 10 in-grocery-store branches.
As the bank grew throughout Southeastern Wisconsin, it also gave back to the greater community. In 1989, the bank began a relationship with the Milwaukee County Zoo, and to date, has provided nearly $1 million of support to this popular attraction. For nearly two decades, Tri City employees have volunteered with Revitalize Milwaukee, a local organization that works to fill the gap in housing resources by providing life-changing repairs and modifications to the community’s most vulnerable citizens’ homes.
Tri City has consistently been recognized for its strong bank operations, unparalleled customer service, and sound balance sheet. In 2009 — during the Great Recession when many other banks throughout the country were failing — Tri City acquired the Bank of Elmwood in Racine. Today, Tri City serves the community through its 28-branch network and its offering of digital services. Now in its 60th year of operation, the bank has more than $2 billion in assets and originates 95.2% of its loans in Southeastern Wisconsin.
“We’ve never lost our entrepreneurial spirit and our dedication to the customer,” said Colleen McGarry, executive vice president, granddaughter of Ulrich and a third-generation banker. “While my grandfather couldn’t have imagined all the technology that runs our community bank today, we’re still serving customers and businesses in the way he envisioned. Everyone is welcome at their hometown bank.”
Tri City National Bank
6400 South 27th Street
Oak Creek, WI 53154