Waukesha State Bank is Celebrating 75 Years!
2019 marks Waukesha State Bank’s 75th Anniversary. Our employees have had the great privilege of serving the financial needs of Waukesha County for the last 75 years. We’ve come a long way since our first office opened at 323 W. Main Street in 1944. Most notably, we have grown from a one-office community bank located only in Downtown Waukesha to 13 offices serving all of Waukesha County. What hasn’t changed is the motto that was emblazoned on our window on day one - The Bank of Friendly Service. Throughout the years, we have not lost sight of the values that Waukesha State Bank created 75 years ago.
In recognition of this monumental event, we present to you this special anniversary page highlighting the past 75 years of Waukesha State Bank and the communities we serve. We know that by looking back at the past, it is possible to see just how far we have come as a financial institution and to imagine how far we may go in the future.
We dedicate this to many people of the past and present who have guided us and sustained us along the way. We hope you enjoy the journey that is to follow.
Carl Taylor: Founder & President | 1944-1969
At the start of the depression, there were three banks in the city of Waukesha. By 1933, only one bank remained, so Carl Taylor saw the need for a new way of banking. While most banks catered only to the wealthy, he knew everyone could benefit from banking services… and Waukesha State Bank was born.
Waukesha State Bank’s original office was located at 323 W. Main Street in Downtown Waukesha, which was formerly an old music record shop. Carl installed teller counters, bronze doors, second-hand safes and used ledger books, and was open for business by the middle of June in 1944. Carl’s daughter, Velma, and son, Don, handed out a fresh flower to each lady and a Cuban cigar to each gentleman at the grand opening on Friday, June 16th.
With a passion for providing banking products for everyone, and a true pioneer for his time, Carl created a full range of banking products for all citizens and emblazoned “The Bank of Friendly Service” on the front window, a motto that continues to represent the bank to this day.
Just as important, Carl began the tradition of positioning his desk in the bank lobby, just inside the front door, making him readily available to the public and demonstrating the bank’s continuing strong commitment to customer service. This concept continues today with our current president and every bank manager easily accessible to customers.
By the 1950s, business was so good and the lobby was so busy that customers had to wait on the sidewalk until they could squeeze inside. Carl and the board of directors began looking for a new, larger location in 1954, and finally settled on the Wilbur Lumber Company site on Madison Street. Construction began on the new building, creating a larger, more open lobby, where tellers would be face-to-face with their customers, like friends. In June of 1956, the move was made and the doors opened to the building which is now home to the bank’s Downtown Waukesha office.
Ever the visionary, Carl included a novelty item in the new building - two drive-up windows, which were the first of their kind in Southeastern Wisconsin. Throughout the years, these drive through lanes proved to be very popular. In 1962, additional land was purchased from the Milwaukee Road Railroad and a total of five drive-up windows were installed.
Deposits more than doubled during the bank’s second decade, climbing to $19,384,374 by June 30, 1964 - reflecting an average growth of almost a million dollars per year.
Carl retired as president of Waukesha State Bank in 1969, but retained a seat on the board of directors.
In September of 2001, Carl peacefully passed away in his sleep. He used his gift as a public speaker and his natural business ability to establish the bank and set it on the path to success, which it still follows today. His priceless legacy is the zeal to provide the finest banking service to Waukesha County.
Don Taylor: President | 1969-1994
Carl’s son Don had been part of Waukesha State Bank since the start. As a kid, he worked part-time, earning a whole dime per hour until he got a raise to a quarter when he turned 16. Armed with a major in Banking and Finance from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and experience from working at the American Exchange Bank in downtown Madison, he became a full-time employee in 1954. Don was promoted to Assistant Cashier in 1959, Assistant Vice President in 1961 and Vice President in 1966. Looking to the future, Don lead the bank through the computerization of the bank’s books in 1968, and was elected President to succeed his father in 1969.
Don knew the bank had to offer a variety of financial services in order to prosper during the years of tough banking competition ahead. To do this, he established three new divisions - Payroll Complete in 1971, a trust department, now two separate entities, Prairie Trust and Waukesha State Bank Wealth Management, in 1972, and an investment advisory/brokerage division, now called Waukesha Investments, in 1985.
Business continued to grow in the 1980s. First and foremost, Wisconsin laws changed to allow branch banking offices, which was not allowed before then. As other financial institutions began scattering branch offices everywhere, it was evident that Waukesha State Bank must meet the competition and deliver its products and services close to its customers. The bank strategically opened three offices on the ourskirts of the city. The Sun branch, named after the adjoining warehouse supermarket, was opened in 1984 on E. Moreland Blvd. (and has since relocated to E. Main Street), the W. Sunset Drive office (then called the Fox River branch) was opened in 1988, and the Silvernail Road office was opened in 1991 inside a Pick'n Save, but later closed in 2017 due to the store's expansion which eliminated our space.
By the late 1980s, the bank’s staff and customers were becoming crowded in the building once again. The Soo Line railway (formerly the Milwaukee Road railway) land, alongside St. Paul Avenue, was acquired for an expansion. In October of 1990, the new drive-up facility was opened, and the new bank lobby was dedicated in June of 1991 and named “The Meeting Place” because it was usually swarming with people.
Don retired from his presidency after 25 years, just like Carl, although he still comes into the bank for a few hours every day.
Marty Frank: President & CEO | 1994-2004
Martin H. Frank (Marty) joined the bank in 1959 after graduating from Waukesha South High School. Upon graduating from Carroll College (now Carroll University), he joined the bank’s full-time staff. His natural intelligence, willingness to work, and friendly personality earned him various promotions throughout the years until finally being named the bank’s 3rd president and CEO in 1994.
Recognizing the importance of small business, the bank looked for creative ways to make more small business loans. With the help of Ty Taylor, Carl Taylor’s grandson, the bank began working with the government’s Small Business Administration (SBA) to offer SBA loans. In 1999, the bank became an SBA Preferred Lender, and in 2003, the SBA recognized Ty as a “Small Business Financial Services Advocate of the Year” in Wisconsin.
The advent of online banking also pushed the bank forward, and in November of 2000, VaultLink, the bank’s online banking platform, was launched. While the bank’s leaders still felt customers should have face-to-face access to their bankers, VaultLink enhanced the bank’s automated service where customers could check their balances and make money transfers by telephone at any time, day or night. Within months, more than a thousand customers signed up so they could accomplish ordinary banking transactions from their home computers.
Three new offices were also opened as a result of the bank’s continued growth during Marty’s presidency. The Delafield office opened in 1994 inside the Sentry grocery store, the Pewaukee office opened in 1996 and the Meadowbrook Road office opened in 1999. Furthermore, construction started on our Oconomowoc office in 2003.
Marty reached his 62nd birthday in October 2003, and following his long-standing plans, he retired as President and CEO at midnight on January 2, 2004. Deposits had increased to nearly a half-million dollars and earnings had increased steadily, strengthening the bank’s capital position.
Marty Frank passed away in 2007 at the age of 66, after a courageous battle with cancer. He will always be remembered for his dedication to making Waukesha State Bank “The Bank of Friendly Service” with his friendly demeanor and positive attitude.
Ty Taylor: President & CEO | 2004 - Present
Ty Taylor started his banking career in high school as a teller for Waukesha State Bank. As a student at Wheaton College in Illinois, Ty continued his work in banking at First Chicago Bank (now part of JPMorgan Chase Bank), and later had a six-month internship with Merrill Lynch. After earning his Bachelor’s degree in Economics, Ty returned to Wisconsin, working at Marshall & Ilsley Bank (M&I), which gave him even more exposure to the banking industry.
In 1991, Ty returned to Waukesha State Bank as a full-time management trainee, gaining diverse banking experience by working in different departments throughout the bank. Ty was named a bank officer in 1992 and elected to the board of directors in 1993. Carl remained on the board for two more meetings, just for the pleasure of having three generations of Taylors on the board at the same time, before retiring from the board and being named an Honorary Director.
In January 2004, Ty became the President and CEO of the bank. During his tenure to date, the bank has seen substantial growth. A total of six offices have been added, including the Muskego office in 2006, the Brookfield and Mukwonago offices in 2007, the Sussex office in 2008, the E. Racine Avenue office in 2010 and the New Berlin office in 2013. In 2014, the Brookfield office was relocated, and in 2015, the bank moved its E. Moreland Blvd. office to E. Main Street. In addition, the Downtown Waukesha office was remodeled in 2016 and the Meadowbrook Road office in 2017, all in an effort to better serve the needs of the community.
Technology has boomed during Ty’s presidency. Customers have rightfully demanded greater and quicker access to their accounts, and The Bank of Friendly Service has met those demands. Today, customers can bank from anywhere, anytime, with products like Online Banking and Bill Pay, Mobile Banking, Mobile Wallets, person-to-person payments, online account opening and loan applications, small business online loan applications, and more. Plus, the bank joined Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, and launched a new website in 2015, followed by Live Chat in 2016.
At the end of 2018, trust assets climbed to over $600 million, Waukesha Investments assets to $200 million, and the bank’s assets were averaging just under $1 billion.
Ty has never lost sight of what it means to be a community bank, an attitude that is clearly infused into the organization’s culture.
The best is yet to come!
It is our honor to serve Waukesha County, and we look forward to continuing these efforts for many years to come.
To read more about Waukesha State Bank's history, our community giving and to meet the Waukesha State Bank team, pick up a copy of our 75th anniversary history book in any of our bank lobbies.