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Meet the Directors

Patti Smith Neir

Patti Smith Neir has been a member of the Board of Directors since 1992. She serves as Chairperson of the Board of Directors. Patti is a 1969 graduate of River Falls High School. She attended the University of Wisconsin - River Falls majoring in Elementary Education and Art. Patti worked at First National for 2 years before she began her career with the Xerox Corporation. In 2006 Patti retired from Xerox with 28 years of service. She is very active in her church as well as serving on the Project Homeless Connect in Minneapolis, MN. Patti and her husband Fran have one daughter. They reside in Minneapolis.

Sandy Smith Wurm Sandra Smith Wurm was elected to the Board of Directors in 1992 and currently serves as the Vice Chair of the Board of Directors.  Sandy began her banking career working summers and part time at First National from 1968 to 1975, while attending River Falls High School and the University of Wisconsin / River Falls.  She then worked at Northwestern Bank in St. Paul, MN from 1976 to 1979 where she supervised the Payment Processing Department, then transferred to Purchasing and Security Departments within that organization.  In 1995, Sandy returned to work at First National in River Falls working with Marketing, Special Projects and Events, and oversees the giving of the bank.  She has served on the Boards of Kinnic Falls Alcohol and Drug Abuse Center and The River Falls Community Foundation where she held the position of Chair for 3 years.  Sandy and her husband Mike have 2 adult children and a new son in law.
Jeff Johnson

Jeff Johnson was elected to the Board of Directors in the summer of 2009. Jeff is the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Bank.  A long time Wisconsin resident and native of New Berlin, Jeff has worked in finance and community banking for more than 27 years. Jeff earned his Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Finance from the University of Wisconsin - Whitewater. In addition, he completed the Graduate School of Banking at UW-Madison, where he currently serves on the Alumni Council. For seven years, Jeff was employed as a financial institutions examiner with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) in Milwaukee. Jeff has also been involved in community bank senior management for over 18 years, most recently serving as President of Badger Bank in Fort Atkinson, WI. Past community service includes participating on the Board of Directors of his local United Way, and serving as President of his local Chamber of Commerce and Rotary Club, where he attained the Paul Harris fellowship. He currently is a member of the River Falls Rotary Club, serves as Chairman of the River Falls Community Foundation, is a member of the Board of Trustees of First Congregational Church in River Falls, and is the Treasurer of River Falls Youth Boys Basketball, Inc.  Jeff also enjoys coaching River Falls youth basketball, baseball, and football teams and serves as the public address announcer for UWRF and River Falls High School basketball.  Jeff and his wife Lori reside in River Falls, and he has six sons and one daughter.

Fred Benson

Fred Benson has served on the Board of Directors since 1994. He has been a long time resident of the River Falls area and graduated from the University of Wisconsin - River Falls. Fred is the retired owner and operator of Lund's Hardware, a community business founded in 1873. He has been an active member of the business community, serving three times as a City Council Member.  Fred is also a long-time member of the River Falls Lodge 109, Free & Accepted Masons. He resides in River Falls with his wife Yvonne. Fred also keeps busy with five stepchildren and eight grandchildren.

Jim Hovel

Jim Hovel joined the Bank's Board of Directors in November 2009. Jim has worked in the banking industry for more than 52 years. Since 1967 he has worked and lived in the Prescott community. From 1995 to 2005 he managed the Bank's office in Prescott. Jim is an alumnus of the Graduate and Post Graduate School of Banking at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. He is still very active in a number of civic and charitable activities in the community, including a position on the Prescott Economic and Development Committee. Jim and his wife Jeanette reside in Prescott. They have 6 children, 17 grandchildren and 5 great grandchildren.

Virgil Nylander joined the Board of Directors in 2000. He received his B. S. and M. S. from Colorado State University and his Ph. D. from Iowa State University. Virgil's career at the University of Wisconsin - River Falls spanned more than 35 years. He retired in 2004 as Vice Chancellor of Administration and Finance. He was soon called back to serve for 13 months as Interim Chancellor. Virgil was a founding member of the River Falls Rotary Club, a member of  Masonic Lodge #109 F&AM, served on the Board of Directors of the River Falls Golf Club, he was a founding member of the Kinnikinnic River Land Trust and recently served on the Design Oversight Committee for the new River Falls City Hall. In 2006 Virgil was awarded the Outstanding Alumnus Award from Colorado State University’s College of Natural Sciences. Virgil and his wife Gayle have a daughter, son-in-law and 2 grandsons.  They reside in River Falls.
Steve Leitch Steve Leitch was elected to the Board of Directors in July of 2014.  He is the current owner and splits his time between Leitch Insurance Agency in River Falls and Croix Insurance Agency in Prescott, WI.  Steve currently serves as a board member for the River Falls Community Foundation and River Falls Area Hospital.  He is also a member of the River Falls Rotary Club and is President-Elect of the Independent Insurance Agents for Wisconsin, the state association of independent agencies.  Steve and his wife Lori have been residents of River Falls since 1987.  They have 4 sons, Ryan, Brandon, Michael and Evan and are new proud grandparents to granddaughter Morgan Sophia.