Foundations Bank plans Grafton location

Pewaukee-based bank will open loan production office later this month

Pewaukee-based Foundations Bank will open a loan production office later this month in an approximate 1,000-square-foot office in Grafton at 1150 Washington St. The new loan production office will be Foundations Bank’s first satellite branch aside from its headquarters and branch location in Pewaukee.

Banks typically open loan production offices before they enter a new market. Foundations Bank will likely apply to the state Department of Financial Institutions for permission to open a full-service branch by late spring or early summer, said Greg Kolton, president and chief executive officer of the bank.

Grafton, with its location in central Ozaukee County, will likely be the perfect location for Foundations Bank’s first branch location, Kolton said, because of its high growth and because its two largest community based banks, Ozaukee Bank and Grafton State Bank, were acquired by Harris Bank last year. Harris Bank is owned by BMO Financial Group, a Canadian firm with more than $391 billion in assets.

"We looked at the area once Harris announced it was buying the two local banks up there," Kolton said. "It became clear to us that our model works in that market up there, which is similar to the Pewaukee market – the demographics are similar. And some long-time bankers became available, so we made the decision to bring those guys on board and go into the markets with their connections."

Jeff Larson and Steve Rossmeissl, former president and senior lender, respectively, at Grafton State Bank, recently joined Foundations Bank, and will work in the new loan production office. When it opens later this month, the office will have three to four employees, Kolton said.

Once Foundations Bank moves into a permanent branch location in Grafton, Generations Bancorp Inc., the bank’s holding company, will likely continue to lease the space on Washington Street. In October, Generations Bancorp acquired Amerihome Mortgage Company LLC, and the holding company thinks the space being used for the loan production office could make a good office for some of the mortgage company’s employees, Kolton said.

"We want to be able to provide mortgages to the community through our mortgage company," he said.

Foundations Bank also is looking for future branch locations in the southern and western areas of metro Milwaukee, Kolton said. Finding the right people to lead those offices will help determine which market the bank expands into first.

"We always look for people first," he said. "Once we can find long-term bankers, we go there. This (Grafton) was first because those guys (Larson and Rossmeissl) were available."

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