ICBM elects three community bankers to three-year term

Michael Bilski

The Independent Community Bankers of Minnesota is pleased to welcome Michael Bilski, North American Banking Company, Roseville, and Harry Wahlquist, Star Bank, Eden Prairie, to its 2020-2021 board of directors. Additionally, ICBM recognizes Bill LaVigne of The Bank of Elk River, who has been re-elected to the ICBM board this month. All three bankers begin a three-year term.

Bilski is CEO of the $735 million North American Banking Company, which he founded in 1998. He is a third-generation banker with 40 years of experience who, according to the bank’s website, “embraces the idea of banking with no boundaries and utilizes his expertise in information technology to keep his bank’s product line ever-evolving.”

Bilski is a former board member and secretary/treasurer of NACHA, the Automated Clearing House Association, and a current board member of UMACHA, the Upper Midwest Automated Clearing House Association. He is also the board chair of the U.S. Faster Payments Council.

Outside of the bank, Bilski spends his time outdoors, which inspired him to co-chair Friends of Camp Knutson, a camp for people with special circumstances.

Harry Wahlquist

Wahlquist is president, CEO and chair of Star Bank, which has its charter in Maple Lake. Wahlquist acquired the bank in 1990 when it was called First National Bank of Bertha-Verndale. The $341 million bank adopted the name Star Bank in the year 2000.

Wahlquist was a longtime correspondent banker with Northwestern Bank (now Wells Fargo) before striking out on his own. Wahlquist’s bank has grown through acquisition and through the opening of two de novo offices. It now includes 10 banking locations in central Minnesota. Wahlquist has welcomed two of his four children into leadership of the bank.

A longtime advocate for independent community banking, Wahlquist served the ICBM as 2015-16 chair; he is immediate past president of the Bank Holding Company Association. In 2019, Wahlquist was recognized among Minnesota’s most powerful leaders by Minnesota Monthly, was the recipient of the 2019 Progress Minnesota Award by Finance and Commerce, and was a finalist for the MN Family Business Award by Twin Cities Business.

Bill LaVigne

LaVigne is chief operating officer of The Bank of Elk River. He has been with the $565 million bank for 20 years, starting as branch manager and served as both assistant director and director of retail banking. He’s been the bank’s COO for 10 years.

Prior to joining ICBM’s board, LaVigne successfully served as chair of the board for ICBM Services.

LaVigne was named a Rising Star in Banking in 2015 by BankBeat magazine. He has a bachelor’s degree from St. John’s University in Collegeville, and is a 2006 graduate of the Graduate School of Banking in Colorado-Boulder.

“ICBM provides community banks with the resources and advocacy they need to remain independent, grow their banks and benefit their communities,” said Jim Amundson, ICBM president and CEO. “Our success in pursuit of this mission is dependent on volunteer leadership from committed and talented community bankers. Michael, Harry and Bill are very talented community bankers and I thank them for their commitment to the ICBM and our mission.” 

The ICBM is an association of independent, community-focused banks. It provides proactive leadership for members through a variety of programs, products, services, and efforts to preserve a competitive environment, with all activities coordinated solely with the distinct perspective of community banking. 

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