Empower Locally. Think Globally.

2018 Annual Report

Year in Review

Letter from the CEO

Ken Karels

Ken Karels

Chairman & Chief Executive Officer

Empower Locally. Think Globally.

In looking back at fiscal year 2018, I am once again very proud of the stability of our Company and its results year-over-year. We’re especially proud of our growth over the past four years since our Initial Public Offering as compared to our peers. From FY14-18, our adjusted diluted earnings per share (EPS)1 has climbed over 60 percent in comparison to peer average growth of 27.4 percent and our tangible book value (TBV)1 grew at a compound annual growth rate of 11.3 percent versus a peer average of 4.9 percent. Adjusted net income1 over this same time period reflected significant growth with 13.1 percent compound annual growth rate. These are good indicators of our Company’s profitability and an important measure of management performance. (See below)

EPS Growth TBV Per Share Accretion

For fiscal year 2018, we were able to again deliver significant year-over-year growth, including a 9.1 percent increase in net income and a 9.0 percent increase in diluted earnings per share. Adjusting for a one-time noncash charge of $13.6 million as a consequence of the passage of tax reform legislation, we achieved a 17.9 percent increase in adjusted diluted earnings per share1. Due to continued strong expense management, we delivered a full-year, peer-leading efficiency ratio1 of 47.1 percent. We believe our strong business banking model with a focus on operating efficiency has contributed significantly to our return on equity, return on assets and net income. (See below)

Earnings Growth and Efficiency

We ended fiscal year 2018 with over $12.1 billion in total assets, including nearly $9.5 billion in total loans. Deposits ended the year at $9.7 billion. Customer loan balances and deposit balances increased by 5.0 percent and 8.4 percent, respectively, compared to the end of the previous fiscal year. I am proud of the balance sheet growth we delivered during the year, despite challenges facing many banks today such as rising deposit costs and competition for loans.

Despite a challenging pricing environment, we continue to pursue strategic acquisition opportunities and fully expect that acquisitions will be a part of our capital deployment story in the future. Since 2006, we have successfully completed nine acquisitions, including our 2016 acquisition of HF Financial, which represented approximately $1.1 billion in acquired assets. We will continue to consider acquisitions that are consistent with our business strategy and financial model.

In order to drive overall growth, we continue to focus investment in larger markets within and adjacent to our footprint. We opened new loan production offices in Cedar Rapids, Iowa; Wichita, Kansas; and Yuma, Arizona along with a full-service branch in Cedar Falls, Iowa. We continue to look for other opportunities where we can recruit strong, experienced bankers to successfully develop the Great Western Bank brand in both new and existing markets.

From a risk management and regulatory compliance perspective, we made significant progress on a number of initiatives during the year to mature the oversight and monitoring of all the risks in our business. We continue to invest in our risk management framework to ensure our bank operates in a safe and sound manner emphasizing discipline while focusing on profitability.

For our customers, we continued to upgrade our digital offerings, with a focus towards adding features and functionality to our highly-rated mobile applications. An independent third-party2 recently conducted a review of the top 50 U.S. banks digital customer experiences. We’re proud to say Great Western Bank was named among the best, achieving a ‘top 10’ recognition as a digital experience leader.

Our commitment to the communities we serve remains steadfast. In FY18, we announced the doubling of our financial commitment to Great Western Bank’s Making Life Great Grants program which funds innovative projects across our nine-state footprint. This is the essence of our mission
 to Make Life Great.

In conclusion, I am pleased with the work that has been done over the past year. I am grateful for the support of our Board, the leadership from our experienced management team and the hard work of our employees. I am pleased to report that Great Western Bancorp, Inc. delivered a peer-leading financial performance in 2018 and is well-positioned for long-term growth.

Sincerely,
Ken Karels

Ken Karels
Chairman & Chief Executive Officer

1 This is a non-GAAP financial measure we believe is helpful to interpreting our financial results. For more information on this non-GAAP financial measure, see “Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Non-GAAP Financial Measures” and for a reconciliation to the most directly comparable GAAP financial measure, see ”—Non-GAAP Financial Measures Reconciliations”.
2 Extractable specialists in UX, Design, and Analytics. “Best Digital Experiences in Banking 2018.” https://www.extractable.com/insights/best-digital-experiences-in-banking-2018/

Non-GAAP Financial Measures Reconciliations, download our PDF.

“We knew there was a huge need for certain services. I think having a bank that can support an organization going through a process of rapid growth is really critical. The launch of our growth is very much attributable to our good relationship with the bank. Being able to sit down with a bank and a banker who can understand that business and understand the ebb and flow of the business is critical. It’s really about the relationship piece of things.”

Dr. Joel Oberstar, Executive Vice President
PrairieCare Medical Group, Brooklyn Park, MN

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Financials

Financial Highlights

"We are glad to report another strong year of financial results to our stockholders, especially the growth in diluted earnings per share and tangible book value accretion. We are positive about the talent we have recruited and the new locations opening in fiscal 2019.” - Ken Karels, Chairman & Chief Executive Officer

Net Income

$157.9 million

or $2.67 per diluted share

Tangible Book Value Accretion

11.3%

Earnings Per Share (diluted)

9.0%

Increase year over year

Total Capital Ratio

13.0%

Efficiency Ratio

47.1%

For more financial information, download our PDF.

Community

Our Commitment to our Local Communities

We don’t just talk values we live them every day. We strive to Make Life Great in each of our communities by forming strategic partnerships with charitable organizations and addressing defined community needs across our nine-state footprint.

Our funding targets innovative programs that enhance the quality of life within our communities. Priority consideration is given to programs that target low-to-moderate income families and support the following strategic initiatives:

  • Economic Development
  • Financial Literacy
  • Affordable Housing
  • Workforce Development
  • Adult Education
  • Early Childhood Development

Visit our blog to learn more about our commitment to our local communities at www.GreatWesternBank.com/blog.

Making Life Great Grants

“The flexibility with our bankers has been very good. We’re real pleased with that. The biggest word I can say is they’re advocates. They see what we’re doing and that’s key.”

Jon Turner, Northern Colorado developer
TPC Colorado at Heron Lakes, Berthoud, CO

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Locations

A Regional Leader with over 170 Locations in Nine States

Headquartered in Sioux Falls, SD, Great Western Bank was founded over 80 years ago as a hometown, community bank. Now a regional leader with over 170 locations and over 35,000 surcharge-free ATMs, we’ve grown, but retain our position as a hometown bank in the communities we serve. For more information on our company visit www.GreatWesternBank.com.

Map of Great Western Bank Locations

At a Glance

  • $12.1 billion in total assets as of September 30, 2018
  • Headquartered in Sioux Falls, SD
  • 6th largest U.S. farm lender1
  • 174 locations in nine states
  • 90% of loans in business and ag segments
  • Big bank capabilities, small bank service

1AS OF JUNE 30, 2018 SOURCE: AMERICAN BANKERS ASSOCIATION

Leadership

Our Leadership

Our leadership team has extensive experience managing financial institutions.

Kenneth J. Karels

Chairman & Chief Executive Officer

Kenneth Karels has served as Great Western’s Chief Executive Officer and on its Board of Directors since 2010 and was elected Chairman in 2017. Mr. Karels is also the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of our Bank and serves on the Boards of Directors of our Bank and its other subsidiaries. Mr. Karels served as the President of our Company and our Bank from 2010 to October 1, 2018. Mr. Karels' duties include overall leadership and executive oversight of our Bank.

Mr. Karels has over 40 years of banking experience and expertise in all areas of bank management and strategic bank acquisitions. He has served in several different capacities at our Bank since February 2002, including Regional President and Chief Operating Officer for the Bank's branch distribution channel including agriculture, business and retail lending and deposits functions.

During his executive tenure, Mr. Karels has helped grow our Bank from $5.2 billion in assets at September 30, 2009 to over $12 billion in assets today. Before joining our Bank, Mr. Karels served as President and Chief Executive Officer at Marquette Bank, Milbank, SD, where he was employed for 25 years. In addition, Mr. Karels also serves on the board of Avera Health Systems, the board of Valley Queen Cheese and the board of the South Dakota Education Enhancement and Funding Corporation. Mr. Karels also served as a member of the Federal Advisory Council to the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve Bank from 2016 through 2018.

Peter Chapman

Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President

Peter Chapman has served as Great Western Bancorp, Inc.’s, Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President since 2013 and on its board of directors from January 2013 until October 2014, as well as the Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President of Great Western Bancorp, Inc. since its formation in July 2014.

Pete is also the Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President of Great Western Bank. He has over 23 years of industry experience and is responsible for all aspects of our financial and regulatory reporting together with planning and strategy and treasury management of our balance sheet.

From 2010 until he was appointed as our Chief Financial Officer in November 2012, Pete served as the General Manager, Finance Performance Management & Non Traded Businesses for National Australia Bank Limited's (NAB) Wholesale Banking business. From 2007 to 2010, he served as Head of Financial Control at NAB and was responsible for oversight and delivery of NAB’s external financial reporting and internal management reporting. From 2004 to 2007, he was Manager, and then Senior Manager, in NAB’s Group Accounting Policy team. From 1995 to 2004, he held various roles with Ernst & Young’s Financial Services Audit Division, including Group Manager of its Melbourne, Australia office’s Financial Services Audit practice, and he was seconded to Ernst & Young’s New York office from 1998 to 2000.

Pete has been a Chartered Accountant with the Institute of Chartered Accountants Australia since 1998 and is currently a Fellow of the Institute.

Doug Bass

President & Chief Operating Officer

Doug Bass has served as President & Chief Operating Officer of Great Western Bank since 2018. He is also an Executive Vice President of Great Western Bancorp, Inc. Mr. Bass is responsible for implementing technological and strategic initiatives and overall loan and deposit growth, De novo office expansion, operating efficiency and People and Culture. He has over 36 years of banking experience.

Doug has worked in various capacities with Great Western Bank since 2009 and has expertise in all areas of bank management within Great Western Bank. Before joining Great Western Bank, he served as President of First American Bank Group. Previously he served over 15 years in various capacities with Firstar Corporation, which is now known as US Bank, including as President and Chief Executive Officer of Firstar’s Sioux City and Council Bluffs operations in Western Iowa and as Manager of Correspondent Banking for its Eastern Iowa operations, which also included responsibility for commercial banking and agribusiness lending.

Karlyn Knieriem

Chief Risk Officer and Executive Vice President

Karlyn Knieriem has served as Great Western’s Chief Risk Officer since 2018 and is also an Executive Vice President of our Company. Ms. Knieriem is responsible for the overall direction and operations of the risk department, including Enterprise Risk Management, Bank Secrecy Act, Compliance and Risk Asset Review. Knieriem joined Great Western Bank in 2016 as Head of Enterprise Risk Management. Ms. Knieriem has 20 years of experience in the financial services industry, including a 17-year career with First National Bank of Omaha, where she worked in a number of senior leadership positions including 11 years as Vice President/Managing Director – Treasury.

Michael Gough

Chief Credit Officer and Executive Vice President

Michael Gough has served as Chief Credit Officer and Executive Vice President of Great Western Bancorp, Inc. since 2017. Mr. Gough is also the Chief Credit Officer and Executive Vice President of Great Western Bank. Mr. Gough is responsible for the overall direction and operations of the credit department, including loan and portfolio quality, and oversees our commercial credit and collection policies, procedures and processes. Mr. Gough has been employed at our Bank for over 21 years, and has served as Bank's Chief Credit Officer for the past 3 years. Prior to his appointment as our Bank's Chief Credit Officer, Mr. Gough started and managed the Bank’s Strategic Business Services (“SBS”) which managed troubled assets and minimized the Bank’s loss exposure. Preceding his role as SBS manager, Mr. Gough served as the Executive Vice President of Credit for the Bank's South Dakota charter which was thereafter merged with and the successor to the Nebraska and Iowa Bank charters.

Cheryl Olson

Head of Marketing

Cheryl Olson has served as the Head of Marketing for Great Western Bank since 2012. She is responsible for the introduction and implementation of the Company’s marketing strategies and Digital Bank, while providing direct support to our frontline sales team as they bring the Great Western Bank brand to life.

Ms. Olson served as Head of Learning & Development for Great Western Bank through January 2017. She has 40 years of banking experience, including nearly 20 years in senior branch management and regional audit supervisory roles.

Prior to joining Great Western Bank in 2007, Ms. Olson served as Vice President and Regional Training Manager for Bank of the West, Walnut Creek, CA and as Senior Vice President and Learning & Development Officer for Community First Bankshares, Inc. in Fargo, ND.

Andy Pederson

Head of People & Culture and Learning & Development

Andy Pederson has been the Head of People and Culture for Great Western Bank since 2012 and assumed leadership of the Learning & Development team in 2017. He is responsible for all of the People and Culture functions of the bank including performance management, compensation, benefits, recruitment, talent management, staffing, employee relations, and training. Mr. Pederson has 21+ years of human resource experience in which 17 of those have been in banking.

Prior to assuming the Head of People and Culture role, Mr. Pederson held positions of the People and Culture Manager and People and Culture Consultant since he joined the bank in 2009. During his tenure, Great Western Bank has implemented an HRIS system, a performance management framework and developed a formal salary structure and job hierarchy system. Mr. Pederson has been involved in five acquisitions.

Before joining Great Western Bank, Andy was a Senior Human Resources Generalist for Citibank in Sioux Falls, SD for 4 years. Prior to Citibank, Andy served as a Senior Human Resource Consultant for Wells Fargo Bank supporting both Banking and Wealth Management and managed a recruitment team for 5 years. Andy also spent 5 years as the Human Resource Manager for a manufacturing company with locations in South Dakota, Minnesota and Nebraska. Mr. Pederson holds a psychology degree from South Dakota State University. He also has a Master of Science and Arts degree in Human Resources from the University of South Dakota.

Scott Erkonen

Chief Information Officer

Scott Erkonen has served as Chief Information Officer of Great Western Bank since 2016. He oversees all information technology operations within GWB’s nine-state footprint. Scott has worked in the technology and financial services field for more than 20 years.

Prior to joining Great Western Bank, he served eight years as the Head of IT for Home Federal Bank. He has held senior leadership positions with several financial institutions, including First Premier Bank/Premier Bankcard. He has also served as a consultant to several large international financial institutions where he assisted with the implementation of their IT Security and Governance programs.

Tim Kintner

Regional President and Executive Vice President

Timothy Kintner has served as Regional President of our Bank since 2018 and is also an Executive Vice President of our Company. Mr. Kintner oversees all of our banking operations in South Dakota. Mr. Kintner has over 30 years of banking experience and has expertise in all areas of bank management and strategic bank planning. Before joining our Bank, Mr. Kintner held the position of Executive Vice President – Regional Banking Markets and Community Relations for Bankers Trust Company in Des Moines, IA since 2013. Prior to that, he served as President and CEO of Bankers Trust in Cedar Rapids, IA and also President of Marquette Bank in Cedar Rapids, IA. Mr. Kintner also spent several years in senior management positions with Wells Fargo.

Bart Floyd

Regional President

Bart Floyd has served as Regional President of our Bank since 2018. Mr. Floyd oversees all of our banking operations in Iowa, Kansas and Missouri. Mr. Floyd has over 28 years of banking experience. Mr. Floyd joined Great Western Bank in 2011 and most recently served as Group President for Eastern Iowa. Before joining our Bank, Mr. Floyd served as Iowa City Area President for U.S. Bank for eight years. Mr. Floyd has also held positions in commercial and private banking for financial organizations in Iowa, Colorado and Texas.

Chris Wiedenfeld

Regional President

Chris Wiedenfeld has served as Regional President of our Bank since 2018. Mr. Wiedenfeld oversees all of our banking operations in Nebraska. Mr. Wiedenfeld joined Great Western Bank in 2013 and served as Group President. Mr. Wiedenfeld has 23 years of experience in the financial services industry. Prior to joining our Bank, Mr. Wiedenfeld held positions in regional agriculture for U.S. Bank and managed the corporate banking group for American National Bank. He began his banking career with Farmers and Merchants State Bank as a credit analyst.

Gail Grant

Regional President

Gail Grant has served as Regional President of our Bank since 2018. Ms. Grant oversees all banking operations in Colorado and Arizona. Ms. Grant joined Great Western Bank in 2006 and has served in various roles including Group President for Northern Colorado and Arizona and Market President for Fort Collins, CO. Ms. Grant has over 30 years of experience in the financial services industry. Before joining Great Western Bank, Ms. Grant worked at Wells Fargo in various roles including Vice President of Business Banking.

“We ask the community – organizations like Great Western Bank – to come on in and assist us in three important ways. One, that they volunteer, two offer financial support and three to donate new or gently used items. These are all items we use to furnish hope in our community.”

Mark Wilkening, Executive Director
Bridging, Bloomington, MN

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Board

Our Board of Directors

The Board of Directors at Great Western Bancorp, Inc. have overall responsibility for building long-term financial performance and value in the company.

Andrew C. Hove, Jr.

Chairman & Chief Executive Officer

Kenneth Karels has served as Great Western’s Chief Executive Officer and on its Board of Directors since 2010 and was elected Chairman in 2017. Mr. Karels is also the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of our Bank and serves on the Boards of Directors of our Bank and its other subsidiaries. Mr. Karels served as the President of our Company and our Bank from 2010 to October 1, 2018. Mr. Karels' duties include overall leadership and executive oversight of our Bank.

Mr. Karels has over 40 years of banking experience and expertise in all areas of bank management and strategic bank acquisitions. He has served in several different capacities at our Bank since February 2002, including Regional President and Chief Operating Officer for the Bank's branch distribution channel including agriculture, business and retail lending and deposits functions.

During his executive tenure, Mr. Karels has helped grow our Bank from $5.2 billion in assets at September 30, 2009 to over $12 billion in assets today. Before joining our Bank, Mr. Karels served as President and Chief Executive Officer at Marquette Bank, Milbank, SD, where he was employed for 25 years. In addition, Mr. Karels also serves on the board of Avera Health Systems, the board of Valley Queen Cheese and the board of the South Dakota Education Enhancement and Funding Corporation. Mr. Karels also served as a member of the Federal Advisory Council to the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve Bank from 2016 through 2018.

James P. Brannen

James P. Brannen has been a director since October 2015. Mr. Brannen also serves on the Board of Directors of our Bank since 2015. Mr. Brannen has served as Chief Executive Officer of FBL Financial Group, Inc. since August 2012. Prior to that, Mr. Brannen served for 21 years at FBL Financial in various roles including Chief Financial Officer, Chief Administrative Officer & Treasurer, and Vice President of Finance. Mr. Brannen serves as a member of the boards of the Iowa Business Council, the Greater Des Moines Partnership, Property Casualty Insurers Association of America and the Federation of Iowa Insurers. In 2015, Brannen was named “Outstanding CPA in Business & Industry” by the Iowa Society of Certified Public Accountants.

Frances Grieb

Frances Grieb has been a director since July 2014. She has also served on the Board of Directors of our Bank since July 2014.

Frances has 29 years of public accounting experience with Deloitte LLP, the international professional services firm, including leadership roles as Lead Client Service Partner and Audit Partner. Prior to her retirement from Deloitte LLP in 2010, she worked with a broad array of financial services entities throughout her career. Additionally, Frances has five years of banking industry experience with Packers National Bank, Omaha, NE. She also serves on the National Advisory Board of the College of Business at the University of Nebraska at Omaha and on the Millard Public Schools Business Advisory Council.

Thomas E. Henning

Thomas Henning has been a director since August 2015 and was elected as Lead Independent Director in 2017. Mr. Henning has also served on the Board of Directors of our Bank since 2015.

Tom has served for over 25 years as President and Chief Executive Officer of Assurity Group Inc., a privately-held life and health insurance company. From 1985 through 1990, he served as Executive Vice President of First Commerce Bancshares and President and Chief Operating Officer of its lead bank, the National Bank of Commerce. From 1983 through 1985, he was President and Chief Executive Officer of First Commerce's Overland National Bank subsidiary. Prior to that, he served as a Vice President and loan officer specializing in agriculturally related credits.

Tom also served on the board of directors of Federal Home Loan Bank of Topeka, where he served as Chairman of the Risk Management Oversight Committee and as a member of the Executive, Audit and Compensation Committees. He currently serves on the board of directors of Nelnet, a public education finance company, where he serves as Lead Independent Director, as well as Chairman of the Audit Committee and as a designated financial expert and as a member of the Executive, Finance and Risk Management Committees.

James A. Israel

James A. Israel has been a director since October 2016. Mr. Israel has also served on the Board of Directors of our Bank since October 2016. Israel is a retired senior executive of Deere & Company, where he served most recently as President of the Worldwide Financial Services Division in Johnston, IA. Israel spent nearly four decades at Deere & Company, serving in a number of executive roles including SVP, Sales & Marketing, Europe, Africa & the CIS in its Agricultural Equipment Division and SVP of International Lending. Mr. Israel serves as a member of the Tippe College Advisory Board at the University of Iowa, is a Trustee at Central College in Pella, IA, and serves on the advisory board of the Tippe Business College at the University of Iowa.

Stephen M. Lacy

Stephen Lacy has been a director since August 2015. Mr. Lacy has also served as a member of our Bank Board of Directors since April 2015. Mr. Lacy is the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Meredith Corporation, a public media and marketing company serving American women. He joined Meredith Corporation in 1998 as Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. He served as Vice President and Chief Financial Officer until 2006, and since then has served as CEO. He was appointed Chairman of the Meredith Corporation in 2010. Mr. Lacy serves on the board of directors of Hormel Foods Corporation, a public corporation, where he is Chair of the Compensation Committee and also serves on the Audit Committee. Mr. Lacy also serves on the board of the Kansas State University Foundation and United Way of Central Iowa.

Daniel Rykhus

Daniel Rykhus is has been a director since July 2014. He joined Great Western Bank as a director and Audit Committee member in 2011. Dan has served as President and CEO of Raven Industries, a publicly-listed corporation that solves great challenges through innovative, high-value products in precision agriculture, high performance specialty films, and situational awareness markets, since August 2010 and has been a member of the board of directors of Raven Industries since 2008.

He has worked in various managerial capacities at Raven Industries since 1991, starting as Manufacturing Manager of the Applied Technology Division and serving from 1999 to 2008 as the Division’s General Manager and, then, as Executive Vice President from 2008 to 2010.

Dan serves on the boards of directors of several nonprofit organizations.

James Spies

James Spies has been a director since August 2015. Mr. Spies has served as a member of our Bank Board of Directors since May 1983 and is the Chairman of its Trust Committee. Mr. Spies is President of Spies Corporation, a privately-held company that owns, operates, manages and develops real estate, and Spies also owns a number of retail businesses in South Dakota. Mr. Spies has served as a Corporate Director of the Educational Enhancement Funding Corporation since 2002 and has, from 2010-2016, served as a Commissioner of the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Commission. He also served as a member on the South Dakota Transportation Commission from 2005 to 2011.

Testimonials

How We Make Life Great for our Customers, Communities and Employees

We love our customers and they have a few nice things to say about us too. Hear what some of our customers are saying about us.

Working moms Christie Aberson and Megan Maxon both agree – they can’t do it alone. Raising children, managing busy households and Making Life Great for their customers is a balancing act best achieved by leveraging the talents of many. Being connected and leaning on others helps. Both women are active members of Great Western Bank’s WomenConnect, who are sponsored by Great Western Bank’s Diversity and Inclusion Council.

With support from top executives, the group develops strategies around leadership and networking with the end goal to improve the experiences of our employees and our customers and drive innovation. Since the program began in 2013, six WomenConnect committees have taken shape across the company’s footprint. The groups span the company’s footprint from South Dakota, Colorado, Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas and Missouri. Dozens of employees have taken on leadership roles, organizing events ranging from charity drives to golf clinics and career development opportunities for hundreds of participants.

For Aberson, a dedicated business banker, taking on a leadership role within the bank has helped her widen her support network and learn new skills from peers. “It’s really given me my own network within the bank,” Aberson reflected. “It’s really helped me lean on different women and men within the bank to help me network and to learn skills and connect with people outside of my department especially – which then overall makes a much more engaging and fun environment to work in.”

Maxon, a seasoned product manager, feels the power in numbers and says where there is a presence there is a voice. Maxon appreciates working for an employer who recognizes the importance of bringing diversity of thought throughout the company.

“The flexibility that we all have to be a part of this, the leadership opportunities it has given me, it’s unique,” Maxon said. “I’m not surprised that Great Western Bank offers this because our mission is to Make Life Great not only externally with customers but internally with its employees.”

Learning leadership and networking. Formulas for success for Aberson, Maxon and Great Western Bank.

For the doctors at PrairieCare Medical Group, the physician-patient relationship is all about the human connection. In the business of healing, the healthcare company provides specialized psychiatric services to children and young adults through six outpatient clinics, a 71-bed inpatient hospital and a 20-bed longer-term residential inpatient hospital in the greater Minneapolis – Saint Paul metro area.

While rewarding, the practice of medicine can be demanding and often stressful. For PrairieCare, having a bank that can focus on the business side of things is critical. Since becoming a Great Western Bank customer in 2011, PrairieCare has forged a lasting business relationship with Great Western Bank Regional President Chris Wiedenfeld and Business Banker Brian Elsasser who have helped the healthcare company grow by expanding its business; adding new clinics, employees and patients.

“We were really grateful they were willing to come on board with us and help support the initial opening of our hospital and what after that has been essentially meteoric growth,” said PrairieCare President Dr. Stephen Setterberg. “It’s always been a very direct and personal communication. It also felt like they really understand our business very well. They’ve been good partners with us.”

Since its start with a 20-bed hospital, the company now delivers services through five different channels: clinical, intensive outpatient programs, partial hospital, inpatient and a residential program. PrairieCare now employs ten times its original staff, growing from 80 employees at two small sites in Minnesota nine years ago to 800 employees in 10 locations today. Committed to serving others, PrairieCare Medical Group is thriving thanks in part to the support of Great Western Bank.

“We knew there was a huge need for certain services,” continued PrairieCare Executive Vice President Dr. Joel Oberstar. “I think having a bank that can support an organization going through a process of rapid growth is really critical. The launch of our growth is very much attributable to our good relationship with the bank. Being able to sit down with a bank and a banker who can understand that business and understand the ebb and flow of the business is critical. It’s really about the relationship piece of things.”

Colorado entrepreneurs Josh and Christi Skow grew their business from a single loaf of bread into a national brand by understanding what customers were missing. After being diagnosed in 2007 with celiac disease, Christi quickly discovered the lack of quality, gluten-free bread options on the market.

“You don’t know what a staple bread is until you can’t have it anymore,” said Co-Founder Christi Skow. “It was a game changer. There was nothing like this on the market.”

Josh and Christi believed they had the right ingredients for a successful business and started building their company campus style with no outside investments, growing at their own pace. But the company quickly grew and soon it became evident just how inefficient and inconvenient it was to run a business in four different buildings around the Denver, Colorado metro. Josh and Christi needed more space and the right bank to help them do that. When it came time to take Canyon Bakehouse to the next level, they sought a banking partner who could help them rise to the challenge. They soon found that partner in Great Western Bank and business bankers Mike Sanders and Bryan Guest who understood their business.

“It wasn’t like talking Greek to them about what we were trying to do, and they were interested in businesses that were growing organically,” said Co-Founder Josh Skow. “They wanted to cultivate that kind of business so those were good factors for the both of us.”

With a desire to house all employees under one roof, the company combined multiple operations into a single 165,000 square foot building. As the Skows look around their expansive investment, both feel a sense of pride; remembering where they started just nine years ago in a small 4,000 square foot garage. Canyon Bakehouse products are marketed and sold in stores across the country from giants like Wal-Mart to natural food companies such as Sprouts and Whole Foods. Both Josh and Christi say their rapid success is a testament to the products, their employees and their banking partners at Great Western Bank.

“Great Western was a neat find,” said Josh. “I like that they have a Midwestern base. We’re from the Midwest and I felt like there was a great connection there. I found it encouraging that they were interested in doing business with a company like ours. That was important to us.”

When it came time to find a bank to achieve his legacy project, Northern Colorado developer Jon Turner turned to Great Western Bank to create a one-of-a-kind, custom development. Turner knew this would be a massive undertaking and he needed a bank that could stay the course for the long run. The stakes would be high. After all, this would be the state’s first new golf course in nearly a decade.

TPC Colorado in Berthoud is a high-end, outdoor-oriented lakeside golf community, perfectly nestled within the rolling hills of Berthoud – between hip Boulder and the growing suburb of Loveland. The community itself includes more than 1,400 high-end single-family homes, villas, townhomes and condos spread over 700 acres including the golf course and related facilities. The main clubhouse is an expansive 55,000 square foot rustic, lodge-style building overlooking the picturesque course.

Turner attributes much of the development’s progress to Great Western Bank business bankers Andrea Walrath and Mike Sanders who are helping him navigate the multi-year project. In addition to finding the right bankers to work with, Turner says a number of other key items have come together, most notably a deal to acquire the prestigious Tournament Players Club (TPC) label for his project.

“The TPC label is the best we can get,” Turner added. “What we are building here is much larger than a country club. This is a corporate business entertainment facility. This has put the town of Berthoud on the map. It’s a hidden jewel and now it is getting regional and national attention.”

Turner’s project has drawn so much attention that the State of Colorado Economic Development Corporation has taken notice. A TPC-sponsored golf tournament is scheduled for late 2019 and area business supporters are predicting the economic impact will be felt throughout the region for years to come. Turner says having a bank that shares his long-term vision is key.

“This is a multi-year project,” Turner continued. “There are a few zigs and zags that have to occur and it’s important that we have time and ability to stay close to the project so we can zig and zag how we need to. The flexibility with our bankers has been very good too, so we’re real pleased with that. The biggest word I can say is they’re advocates. They see what we’re doing and that’s key.”

Mention the name Lynch Companies and chances are, if you’re in the ag industry, it’s a household name. The Northeast Iowa ag business is synonymous with the pork and cattle industry. The family-owned business has been around for nearly a century with more than 700 employees working today in plants and in fields and at the many companies the Lynch family owns.

When President Gary Lynch approached Great Western Bank in 2013 about financing his pork production business, he was using several banks to accommodate his growing loan demand. Lynch says Great Western Bank had not only the lending capacity Lynch was looking for but also the expertise as the sixth largest ag lender in the country.

“Our relationship has been great,” said owner Gary Lynch. “The bank provides us what we need and we are very open and discuss our plans for all of our businesses. It has just been fantastic.”

In addition to a great banking relationship, Lynch attributes much of his company’s success to integration. He’s diversified Lynch Companies into nearly a dozen subdivisions including Lynch BBQ, Premium Iowa Pork, GJL Farms, PCI Advisory Services, Waucoma Tire Company and a host of other ag-related companies including a recent acquisition of a meatpacking plant in nearby Luverne, Minnesota. Lynch says he developed this integration because of his desire to get things done without having to wait on others. Now in his early 70s, Lynch is looking to his son-in-law Jason to take over the family business. Lynch says that when an industry like agriculture goes through tough times, it’s important to have a trusted advisor like Great Western Bank Agribusiness Banker Tom Ricke on his side.

“He’s with us in good times and bad,” Lynch added. “He knows the industry, he knows about the markets and he knows our business, not just the hog feeding business – our whole company and where we are going. We work well together.”

One might think that with a population of over 3 million, finding the right fit in a community partner in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis – Saint Paul might be tough. But the choice of a Making Life Great Grant partner was easy for Great Western Market President Steven Block. Block didn’t have to look far for the ideal nonprofit organization. Prior volunteer experience with Bridging of Bloomington, Minnesota reaffirmed Block’s belief that Bridging checked all the boxes.

“We look for opportunities in the market we serve and this is just a natural fit for us,” said Block. “It’s a great feeling to give back and contribute to such a terrific cause, especially when you see the things people go without. They’re going from nothing and homelessness to the comforts of a home – it’s golden riches for them.”

Bridging served 4,500 households in 2018, giving families transitioning out of homelessness into affordable housing the necessary goods to furnish a home. With a staff of 34 full time employees, Bridging’s volunteer force is plentiful with more than 6,000 eager volunteers who donate nearly 80,000 hours each year. In addition to providing financial support through its Making Life Great Grants program, Great Western Bank also offers volunteers and donations. Bridging Executive Director Mark Wilkening says without community support from companies like Great Western Bank his organization would not be able to fulfill its mission to help families in need.

“We ask the community – organizations like Great Western Bank – to come on in and assist us in three important ways,” said Wilkening. “One, that they volunteer, two offer financial support and three to donate new or gently used items. These are all items we use to furnish hope in our community.”