Boscobel, Wis. (Wednesday, February 25, 2015) – Community First Bank (CFB), a full service bank with 5 offices serving customers in Southwestern Wisconsin, announced today that it has transferred approximately a 15% ownership of the bank to its 74 employees. The transfer became effective December 19, 2014.
CFB’s ownership transfer was conducted through an Employee Stock Ownership Plan, or ESOP. An ESOP is a qualified retirement plan that buys, holds and sells company stock for the benefit of the employees, providing them with an ownership stake in the company. CFB’s current management team remains in place and there will be no changes to the organizational structure related to the ownership transfer.
CFB President Dan Klahn said the transfer rewards employees for their role in CFB’s success and will further enhance its performance. “We wouldn’t be the organization we are today without the hard work and commitment of our employees. They have been critical to our building a great reputation in the communities we serve; with a stake in the bank’s long-term success, they’ll be even more focused on exceeding customer expectations every day,” Klahn said.
ESOP Partners, an ESOP consulting and administration firm in Appleton, Wis., assisted with the formation of the ESOP and will continue to work with the company as a consultant and third party administrator.
About Community First Bank
Community First Bank was established in 1871 and provides a full range of banking services through branch offices located in five Southwestern Wisconsin communities: Boscobel, Muscoda, Richland Center, Reedsburg and Baraboo. Community First Bank (CFB) is rated 5-star for financial strength by BauerFinancial, Inc., the nation’s leading bank rating firm. BauerFinancial rates all banks and credit unions on a zero-to-five star scale with a 5-star (superior) rating being the strongest. CFB’s purpose is to partner with its customers and communities to help them successfully achieve their goals.
There are approximately 10,000 ESOPs in place in the U.S., covering 10.3 million employees (10 percent of the private sector workforce). Research suggests that ESOP companies grow faster than their non-ESOP counterparts, and that their employees have more sustainable employment, increased job satisfaction, and greater organizational commitment.