Great Midwest

larger. He met wife Heidi, a Wisconsin Dells native, at UW-Madison, and today the couple has four children—a junior at UW-Madison, a junior at Sauk Prairie High School, a freshman at Sauk Prairie, and a 3-year-old. The family lives in Merrimac, and Greg said the plan is to continue to do so until their freshman is out of high school. At that time the family would move to Chilton.

Surprise opportunity

That is the plan for now anyway, but as Greg well knows, plans can change in a hurry. “I didn’t know if there was really going to be an opportunity here,” he said of working for Great Midwest Bank in Chilton. Greg said he was contacted by Great Midwest officials last December, and an unexpected opening at the Chilton branch led to him starting about a month ago as its new branch manager. “I’ve been in and around this bank all my life because I’ve done personal loans here,” he said.

Great Midwest Bank is based in the Milwaukee suburb of Brookfield and has nine branches—seven in the greater Milwaukee area, one in Madison, and the Chilton branch which serves the Fox Valley area. While working for other banks in the Madison area, Garton said he established connections which are valuable to Great Midwest Bank. He is currently spending three or four days per week in Chilton and the other days at Great Midwest’s Madison office.

But Garton said one thing which sets Great Midwest Bank apart from some other financial institutions is the willingness to meet customers at their homes or at their businesses, and he has been known to do so after 5 p. m. and on weekends. He shares his cellphone number with his customers as a way of creating relationships.

“They’ve always had strong capital reserves,” Garton said as he elaborated on the strengths of Great Midwest Bank. “They’ve done a good job working on the things they do best.”

In addition to the customary functions of a financial institution, one thing Great Midwest Bank has long done well is home mortgages. Mortgages are all retained at Great Midwest Bank rather than being sold off, and Garton said the bank has shown an attitude of being “conservative with flexibility” when it comes to deciding on loans. Promotions such as the current one to win the chance to live mortgage payment free for six months are regularly offered.

Doing what it does best

Great Midwest Bank does some commercial lending and might expand in that area, Garton said, but he added the bank

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simply tries to focus on providing the best customer service possible. He said the word “family” is used a lot internally and with customers. “It’s a very warm and friendly place to work,” he said.

That certainly holds true at the Chilton branch. “Both the staff and the clients have been very warm and friendly,” Garton said. “It’s very, very positive.”

The Chilton branch of Great Midwest Bank offers safety deposit boxes, a no-fee automatic teller machine and, of course, all the modern conveniences in banking including online banking, online bill paying, mobile banking and more.

Garton said he has been very impressed with the staff of the Chilton branch. He announced that 14-year employee and head teller Tina Karls is being promoted to a lending role, and he expects someone else within the current teller ranks to be promoted to the head teller position.

When he is not working at the bank, Garton said he enjoys the outdoors and many sports, including coaching his children over the years in youth tennis, baseball, softball and basketball. He also has picked up his father’s sense of community service. He already has been made second vice president of the Chilton Lions Club, and he is the past president of the Waunakee Rotary Club.

He also said he is looking forward to moving back to the community from which he graduated and taking advantage of the things the good local school system has to offer. “It’s a good place to raise kids,” he said.

That’s something Greg Garton knows well—both Greg Gartons.