First National Bank of Hartford to change name to Forte Bank

Converts to state charter

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Hartford-based First National Bank of Hartford is switching from a federal to a state charter and will change its name to Forte Bank on Dec. 28, the company announced Tuesday.

First National Bank of Hartford CEO and President Timothy Purman.

The Wisconsin Department Financial Institutions would oversee Forte Bank on the state level and on the federal level, the bank would be regulated by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.

Hartford First National Bank President and CEO Tim Purman said the transition was a proactive choice, a measure to better position the company against competition while retaining the bank’s community focus.

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“We think this shift is in our best interest long term and will continue to help us be successful as a community bank,” Purman said.

As Forte Bank, the company will retain all staff and management structure including the same senior staff and board of directors, according to a press release.

Under the state charter, First National Bank of Hartford will have a legal lending limit of 20% of the bank’s total capital as opposed to 15%, which is the limit for federally charted banks imposed by the Office of the Comptroller of Currency.

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Added benefits of becoming a state charter also include access to local regulators who may know or are better suited to understand the business climate and economic conditions of Wisconsin.

Purman said the switch would also come with reduced regulatory and examination costs, which would generate annual savings that it would use to support the community, invest in products and technology to better serve customers and to maintain competitive wages for its staff.

First National Bank of Hartford also has plans to open a loan production office in January of 2020 at 11801 W. Silver Spring Drive, which is on the northwest side of Milwaukee and on the border of Menomonee Falls.

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Although the new bank will not be a full-service branch, establishing a physical presence will position First National Bank of Hartford for future expansion into the Milwaukee and Waukesha County market, said Aaron Lensink, vice president and business banking manager at First National Bank of Hartford.

“We see all of Waukesha County and even Milwaukee County as new markets for us where we’re gaining business and we want to continue to expand and service customers too,” Lensink said.

First National Bank of Hartford has approximately $230 million in assets as of the end of the third quarter in 2019. The bank currently has three locations including in Hartford, Hubertus and Slinger.

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