Heard on the Street: Bremer Bank wraps up Eastwood acquisition

The final transition of Rochester's Eastwood Bankover to its new owner, Bremer Bank, officially starts today.

The changeover begins when the doors close at 6 p.m. During the weekend, Eastwood's 13 branches will be changed into Bremer locations. Sunday will be the final day that Eastwood ATM cards will work for customers.

On Monday, they will all re-open as Bremer Bank branches.

St. Paul-based Bremer's acquisition of the 112-year-old Eastwood was first announced back in July. Federal regulators have now officially given their blessing on the merger.

Eastwood's former president Paul Tieskotterwill take over as Bremer's market president in Rochester. Dave Marcoux, who worked at Wells Fargo locally from 1995 to 2011 before joining Bremer in Owatonna, will also be a top executive and will oversee retail private banking.


"The transition has gone really smoothly. Bremer and Eastwood have very similar philosophies and cultures," Marcoux said.

Acquiring Eastwood fit well with Bremer's overall expansion strategy. Eastwood fills a big gap in Bremer's geographic footprint. It has 85 branches in Minnesota, Wisconsin and North Dakota, but none in southeastern Minnesota. It recently built new banks in Mankato and Owatonna, and in La Crosse and Eau Claire in Wisconsin.

The majority of Eastwood's employees were retained by Bremer, though there was a small percentage that were let go due to duplication, Tieskotter said.

"All of the employees that work directly with customers were retained," he said.

Eastwood's roots extend back to 1903 to the founding of the First State Bank of Dover. That bank later was acquired by Farmers State Bankin Eyota. In 1979, Farmers State opened a Rochester branch and called it Eastwood. First State, Farmers State and Eastwood were combined under the name of Eastwood in 1982.

Bremer Financial a privately held, $8.7 billion regional financial services company jointly owned by the Otto Bremer Foundationand Bremer employees. It was founded in 1943 by Otto Bremer.

Any Eastwood/Bremer customers with questions can call the "Welcome Hotline" at 866-757-3954 or go to for more information.

— Jeff Kiger

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