Mt. Pulaski, Ill. is a farming community. If you aren’t sure about that, take these coordinates and plug them into your GPS or Google maps: 39.968345, -89.181298. Then drive. If it’s a cold, blustery day, you’ll find a barren field that just months ago was home to acres of soybeans. If it’s a beautiful fall day, you might find Julian Wubben and his son-in-law finishing the year’s harvest of these 2,200 acres. But no matter what the season, it’s farm country. It’s Mt. Pulaski, Ill.
Then plug “205 E. Jefferson, Mt. Pulaski, Ill.” into your device and take the short drive to the town square. On the way, you’ll find the historic Mt. Pulaski Courthouse where Abraham Lincoln walked and worked. The exact address will take you to INB – Mt. Pulaski.
Branch Manager Dee Anderson worked from the building at 205 E. Jefferson when it was First National Bank of Mt. Pulaski. In 2008, Illinois National Bank purchased First National. Dee says, “We were nervous at the time. But we all calmed down when we realized INB wasn’t coming in to get rid of people. They wanted us!” She added happily, “INB was very conscientious and cared about employees and customers. They made the switch seamless.”
She notes customers ended up appreciating the change because INB offered technology they didn’t have before. Things like debit cards and on-line banking.
Commercial Lender Evan Westlake was familiar with the town of Mt. Pulaski, having grown up in neighboring Sangamon County. What he likes about INB-Mt. Pulaski is the small town feel when you walk in the building, but knowing there is a huge layer of resources behind the façade. “I know this sounds cliché, but there are just friendly faces here. Behind those faces are a lot of very knowledgeable bankers.”
Evan was in Mt. Pulaski recently following a meeting with Julian in his soybean field. “I’ve worked with Julian for five years,” Evan said. “Julian was a director at First National and became an INB customer. He’s been a great borrower for me because he knows both sides of the business.”
Julian said he actually started banking when he opened a savings account in grade school. He stayed with INB following the buy-out of First National because, “I can’t do what I do without INB. You need capital to farm . . . to plant and buy costly equipment . . . INB is well capitalized and able to handle all my needs.”
While Evan can’t always cozy his way into Julian’s combine, he’s been known to track down Julian in his fields. “Evan’s always very helpful and does all the legwork. He’s very well prepared when we meet. He just takes care of things. The staff in the branch is great, too . . . Half the staff there I’ve known all their lives,” he adds.
But because Julian is away from home for extended periods, he also appreciates the services available through on-line banking. “I can pay bills and make loan payments and transfers. It’s really convenient.”
Technology aside, banking requires a good partnership, says Evan. “Farming is volatile. We have to weather the downs with farmers and help them during good times with wealth management.”
Farmers and non-farmers alike need help through difficult times. Dee notes that in a small town like Mt. Pulaski, her staff quickly realizes when a regular customer stops dropping by. “We start asking questions and reach out to them. If we find out they need a banking service but just can’t get to the bank, we go to them.”
Dee says customers reciprocate this kindness by bringing baked goods and other treats into the branch. “Sometimes they’ll just call before stopping by to see if we need anything.”
But that’s not surprising to life-long Mt. Pulaski resident Dee! “Mt. Pulaski is a small community but one large family. Very rarely do you see someone you haven’t seen before. And I absolutely love it!”