WASECA — With a century of being in business, including 15 years in Waseca, United Prairie Bank celebrates two major milestones in 2019.
United Prairie Bank is family owned and was first established in 1919 with the first bank in Mountain Lake, Minnesota. Former President James Sneer bought the original bank, Farmers State Bank, and built the business to what it is today and known as United Prairie Bank.
“We’re excited to be here. Waseca is the wheelhouse of what we do,” United Prairie Bank Mankato and Waseca branch Marketing President Doug Lago said. “This is the size of community that we are basically in and understand the importance of the community and the clients and being involved in the community.”
To celebrate the 100-year anniversary, the Waseca branch did a cash mob at Yellow Mushroom Pizza, where employees handed out a limited number of free lunch buffets to customers. Along with the cash mob that was done at the Waseca location, most United Prairie bank locations celebrated with 1919 root-beer floats.
In Waseca to celebrate the 15-year anniversary a business after hours was hosted at the bank with local vendors serving food. Lago said about 100 people showed up.
Along with the major celebrations the bank will hand out cookies during the holidays or for customer appreciation days. The employees will also surprise businesses throughout the year with gestures, such as ladies night last year the employees handed out roses to the businesses open late.
United Prairie Bank in Waseca wants the clients, customers and community members to feel appreciated and is why they put on these events.
In Waseca, United Prairie Bank is involved in numerous organizations within the community.
Employees of the bank are involved with the Waseca Area Foundation, Waseca Chamber of Commerce Ambassadors, Waseca Rotary, agriculture committee, chamber board, Lions, B.E.S.T of Waseca, Bluejay Blast school fundraiser, and the United Way along with other organizations.
“That’s a huge thing for us to give back to the community and we do that across all of the locations,” Lago said.
Denim for Dollars is another way to give back to the community.
This is a fundraiser that all United Prairie Bank locations participate in by donating $5 to wear jeans for part of their attire on Fridays. Every quarter the employees chose a charity to donate the funds to and if they raise enough as employees then corporate will match that donation.
Denim for Dollars started in 2010 and since the start United Prairie Bank has raised more than $300,000 across all locations.
“The community is a big deal,” Lago said. “It’s where our families live, where they go to school, we support those communities with stuff like that which we think is very important, especially being family owned.”
The Sneer family has owned the chain since 1973 and have grown the company with additional locations and introducing insurance and financial planning resources for the customers.
There are 11 locations in the south central Minnesota area serving all ranges of community size.
“We’re used to a larger community, but we’re used to small to mid-sized communities like Waseca,” Lago said.
United Prairie Bank is about a $516 million bank across all locations and in 2018 it was named the largest family-owned community agriculture bank in Minnesota.
In order to continue to grow, the bank has to stay up-to-date on technology and trainings.
Lago and Buchele spoke on the amount of training staff do to stay relevant doing as much as one training a week either online or through webinars. They do this so the employees can serve customers to the best of their ability and with the best knowledge.
“I think our training program throughout the entire company is very good,” Buchele said.
Having the latest technology and trainings for employees allows United Prairie Bank to give better customer service to the clients.
“We can start with them from cradle and with technology now people don’t need to move banks if they move states and if we meet their needs they’ll stay all the way through,” Buchele said.