First Business Bank celebrates 30 years

Before technology brought banking to your phone, the standard of convenience at banks began and ended at the drive-through window. When Jerry Smith founded First Business Bank in 1990, he started with the client experience, reimagining convenience in relationship-based banking for businesses. One of the first business-focused banks in the United States, First Business Bank differentiated itself from day one with a courier service that picked up deposits at the client’s location. The innovative branchless banking experience was born, and clients no longer needed to waste time driving to the bank.
Thirty years later, First Business still leverages a client-first focus on technology, service and expertise to deliver robust financial services for businesses, executives and high-net-worth individuals.
As many First Business employees arrived seeking an alternative to large corporate bank environments, First Business focused on culture long before it was in vogue, knowing engaged employees result in happy clients.
Rapid growth in the early years led First Business Bank to expand outside traditional commercial lending services in 1995 to establish an asset-based lending division, which was unusual for a then-$200 million bank. Building on that success, the company began offering other specialty finance solutions over time, growing organically and holistically to support its business clients.
In 2000, after 10 years of working with business owners, First Business grew again to offer retirement plan services for businesses, establishing First Business Trust & Investments. After building a trusted relationship working with their 401(k) plans, executives also wanted the company to manage their personal wealth. The team then began offering private wealth solutions, such as financial planning, investment management and private banking for individuals.
Ambitious plans for continued growth, and with more than 500 local shareholders, led First Business to become a publicly traded company in 2005 under the ticker symbol FBIZ on the Nasdaq Stock Market.
Although First Business is a very dynamic and rapidly growing company, the one constant is its culture, which is founded on its Statement of Beliefs. This early focus on intentionally creating a supportive, proactive culture, and maintaining it through its growth, has only strengthened throughout the years. In fact, President & CEO Corey Chambas says maintaining the company’s culture is so important, the only other title he would want is “Chief Culture Officer.”
The combination of unmatched expertise and focus on clients has led to extremely high client satisfaction ratings for the company, outpacing industry standards and leading to numerous accolades.
Today, First Business Financial Services, Inc., the holding company of First Business Bank, encompasses three banking locations in Wisconsin — Greater Madison, Southeast Wisconsin and Northeast Wisconsin — in addition to expanding outside the Wisconsin market in 2014 to the Kansas City Metro. With more than $2 billion in assets with an additional $1.8 billion in trust assets and under management and administration, which are not on the balance sheet,
First Business continues to invest in its employees and communities as it focuses
on its clients’ success.

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