Our Team

A Conversation with Director Stewart Wilson

A Conversation with Director Stewart Wilson

Since 1885, The Bank of Elk River has provided exceptional community banking services, led by a group of dedicated staff. We greatly appreciate our employees’ contributions, many of which have spanned decades. Here again is another installment of our series featuring the committed leaders who serve on The Bank of Elk River’s Board of Directors.

MEET DIRECTOR STEWART WILSON

A native of Elk River, Director Stewart Wilson has deep roots in the community stemming back to the early 1920s when his grandparents settled in the area after World War I ended. Mr. Wilson’s career with The Bank of Elk River began in the summer of 1975 when he was hired as a teller shortly after obtaining a political science degree from Hamline University.

From there, he worked his way up, becoming a lender alongside father and son, Milt and Patrick Dwyer.

Mr. Wilson watched The Bank of Elk River become a lifeline for the community as a whole. As the bank served the financial needs of businesses and individuals, its impact spread throughout the town. Our service to the community is all outlined in our rich history, as we expanded from one location to five offices serving Elk River, Otsego, Zimmerman, and the surrounding areas.

Throughout his years in lending, Mr. Wilson helped establish a number of the bank’s branches. In 1999, he became the Manager of the Elk River School Street Office, a position he held for eight years before becoming the Head of Retail Banking. Stewart was the first appointed Real Estate Lender in the bank in the year 2000. In 2004, Mr. Wilson joined the Board.

Five years later in 2009, Mr. Wilson became the Senior Vice President, Director of Retail Banking, and moved on to become the Senior Vice President, Director of Communications, in 2011. In September of 2016, Mr. Wilson retired as the Senior Vice President, Director of Enterprise Risk Management, after a 41-year career. He was elected as the Secretary of The Board of Directors in 2017 where he remains a valued Director to this day.

CHANGING TIMES

During the Great Recession, community banks struggled to stay afloat after years of tremendous profitability and success. Mr. Wilson noted the bank’s remarkable ability to recover from the economic downturn in the years that followed and become a more successful, innovative institution?

Mr. Wilson also witnessed The Bank of Elk River adapt to technological advances. What used to be done by hand became automated, from old-fashioned adding machines to sophisticated technological devices.

“It’s the sort of thing that gets nurtured over time,” Mr. Wilson said. “It was a great experience to be a part of The Bank of Elk River because the bank grew as the community grew.”

During his career, Mr. Wilson’s steadfast determination and adaptability proved invaluable to the bank. Stewart mentored key staff within The Bank of Elk River—coaching and developing them as future leaders of the organization.

“Being a part of Stewart’s mentorship program was incredibly valuable. I learned effective speaking, engagement, and time management best practices,” said Julia Schreifels, Director of Marketing. “I grew not only as a professional, but also as an individual, for which I am very appreciative.”

His leadership and civic efforts extended beyond his financial career and into the community. Mr. Wilson has been as an active member of the Elk River Rotary, Planning Commission, and Guardian Angels Senior Services, where he served as the Board Chair. He has also been involved with the Housing and Redevelopment Authority for more than two decades, taking a front row seat to the many changes in our town.

“I like living here,” Mr. Wilson said. “To me, it’s the balance that Elk River has always provided: a rural feel with proximity to sports, music, and fine dining that the metropolitan area provides.”

In his retirement, Mr. Wilson enjoys a variety of recreational activities from hunting and fishing to cooking and theater. “You can have your degree of privacy and small-town lifestyle in Elk River,” Mr. Wilson said. “I find that very relaxing and enjoyable.”

We couldn’t agree more. As a family-owned and operated financial institution, The Bank of Elk River is committed to providing exceptional personal and business banking services for our community to thrive.

Contact us to learn more.

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