Rochester part of West Bank's positive 1st quarter earnings

April is the anniversary of West Bank's first full year in Rochester and, by all accounts, it was a good year.

The West Des Moines, Iowa-based bank just reported its first quarter earnings. The business bank's overall loan balances stood at about $1.02 billion as of March 31. Of that total, the Rochester office accounted for $23 million in loans.

"Rochester is still just starting, but we went from zero to $23 million in 12 months," said West Bank CEO Dave Nelson. "We have a very good local team. We've been very well received in Rochester."

While the bank is new to this area, it's celebrating its 120th anniversary in West Des Moines.

It has a staff of four experienced Rochester bankers working here in its at 3147 Superior Drive N.W. Nelson, who was the president of Wells Fargo's banking operations in the Rochester area for many years, became the leader of West Bank in 2010.


West Bank reported $4.40 million in net income for the first quarter. That's up from the $3.95 million in the same quarter in 2013.

"During the first quarter of 2014, the loan portfolio grew by $27 million. Our loans are $82 million higher than a year ago," stated Nelson in the earnings report.

Meanwhile, the bank's bet on Rochester paid off earlier than expected. It became profitable within nine months, which was well ahead the bank's estimates. That allowed West Bank to purchase two acres of open land along the west side of West Circle Drive, with plans to build a two-story, 6,500-square-foot facility in 2015. The land is near the C.O. Brown and Home Federal Savings Bank complex at the corner of West Circle Drive and 19th Street Northwest.

Nelson credits the success to his staff and the bank's community board made up of well-known Rochester business leaders such as Rochester developer Gus Chafoulias and Powers Enterprises President Joe Powers. It also include former Rochester Republican Sen. Nancy Brataas, who died earlier this month.

"We were saddened by the loss of Nancy," said Nelson.

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