Don Hanhardt, loan officer at the original Farmers Bank in Albert recently celebrated his 50th anniversary with the financial institution. “Don’s loyalty to our bank is a perfect reflection of this bank’s commitment to the communities we serve,” remarked CEO WR Robbins. “Don has seen a lot of changes over the last fifty years, and has continually adapted to his customers’ needs.”
Don demonstrates stability as a pillar of the Albert community, where he has spent his life and developed relationships with many of the children and grandchildren of the founding fathers of the bank established 103 years ago right here in Albert. “This is the philosophy that has made Farmers Bank so successful, demonstrating stability as it adapts to meet customer needs,” Robbins says.
After graduating from Otis High School, Hanhardt knew that finance was his future calling. After working for another financial institution for ten short months, Hanhardt started at Farmers Bank as a teller in 1961 at the age of 18. After being promoted through the positions of bookkeeper, loan assistant, and loan officer, Hanhardt now holds the title of Assistant Vice President, assisting customers with their lending needs.
“When I started at the bank, our total assets were right around $2 million and we did things a lot differently,” Hanhardt says. “This was due largely in part to the lack of modern computer and communication systems. We were still hand-writing transactions in ledger books. As our bank grew, we experienced changes in technology, who dreamed we would be offering banking by phone when I first started!”
Over the course of five decades, much has changed in the way that Hanhardt and the rest of the Farmers Bank team do business. Since the bank was purchased by W.R. Robbins in 1971, Hanhardt has seen assets grow from $4 million to $650 million through four major technology upgrades, with lots of incremental changes along the way. Each one of these technological upgrades was geared toward making the customer experience more enjoyable and more convenient. “No matter the advancements in technology, though, banking still revolves around relationships maintained between a bank and its customers,” bank President Gene Dikeman noted. “A bank can only grow if the community and environment it is in also grows. It’s the bank’s responsibility to be a good partner with the community, because we both win.”
Hanhardt lives with his wife, Marty, in Albert. When Don isn’t at the bank assisting his customers, he enjoys yard work and spending time with his six grandchildren and two great grandchildren. Hanhardt currently serves as a volunteer fire fighter and as the treasurer for the Peace Lutheran Church. In the past, he has also served as Albert city treasurer, as a volunteer for the annual fire department pancake supper, and on various church committees.