The Bank Slate


Associated in Wis. shares plan to rev up lending, digital

Associated Banc-Corp in Green Bay, Wis., is beefing up in several areas, including auto finance, equipment finance and digital banking. 

The $34 billion-asset company said in a press release Thursday that it will also bulk up in asset-based lending, small-business lending and wealth management. 

“We have a significant opportunity to strategically drive revenue growth across our core business lines while also expanding our portfolio,” Andy Harmening, Associated’s president and CEO, said in the release. 

“Building on our momentum over the last 120 days and capitalizing on the strengths of our franchise, our growth-focused and digital-forward initiatives will position us to deliver higher shareholder returns,” Harmening added. 

Associated said the improvements should add $2.6 billion of loans by the end of 2023. It should add $20 million of new revenue in 2022 and $60 million the following year. 

But Associated also said it expects to incur $705 million to $711 million of expenses this year as it bolsters certain businesses, or a 1.4% increase from the company’s previous expense estimate. About $5 million of the increase reflects the growth initiatives. 

The plan includes $50 million of spending over the next five years to improve Associated’s technology offerings. 

The company is making a series of moves, including branch closures and consolidating office space, to save about $10.5 million a year. 

Several key hires and promotions were announced in the release.

Raymond Temple was brought on to lead an asset-based lending team. Temple held a similar position at TCF Financial. Associated wants to have more than $150 million of asset-based loans on its balance sheet by late 2022, with $300 million in 2023. 

Doug Peacock was named head of digital delivery, where he will oversee the company’s digital roadmap across for consumer and business banking. 

Associated said it promoted John Thayer to become head of wealth management and Andrew Brueggeman to oversee the expansion of Small Business Administration lending. Stacy Stecker was tapped to become director of private banking, while David Kuipers was named to lead the company’s investment services team.

Associated said its equipment finance vertical should launch in the first quarter, with hiring beginning in coming months. Like asset-based lending, the company wants to have more than $150 million of equipment finance loans on its balance sheet by late 2022, with plans to double that amount the next year. 

The company said its auto finance business has established agreements with more than 550 dealerships and hired 40 bankers, with plans to start booking loans in the fourth quarter. The goal is to have more than $1 billion of auto loans on the books by the end of 2022 and $2 billion the next year. 

Associated also plans to expand commercial middle market lending in Milwaukee, Chicago and northern Wisconsin, reflecting several recent banker additions.

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