Bergren named as new president of HSB

Houghton State Bank will be operating under a new president on July 1.
Britni Bergren has been announced as the new President of Houghton State Bank. She’ll take over from Karl Bormann, who has served in the role the past seven years.
Bergren is a lifelong Southwest Iowa resident, having been born and raised in Lenox.
“My husband, Brad, is originally from the area. I moved here in 2009 and we live on the family farm where he grew up, so it’s exciting for us to raise our girls here and for them to know their dad grew up here as well,” Bergren said.
Prior to moving to the Red Oak area, Bergren said she was working for an eye doctor before making the move to banking.
“When I knew I was moving over here, I thought long and hard about what interested me. I had a checking account when I was eight years old. My parents were strict on teaching me how to save money. I’ve always enjoyed finance and I felt banking was something I’d be interested in doing,” explained Bergren.
Bergren started at U.S. Bank, working with the organization for a year before making the move to Houghton.
“The opportunity came to me to come here in 2013, and I’ve been here ever since. I started out as a residential mortgage lender and consumer lender, doing personal loans, auto loans, and things of that nature. Then seven years ago, Karl approached me about ag and commercial lending. My husband farms, so I have an agricultural background, and it’s been a good fit for me, I’ve been doing that role ever since. I joined the management team in joined the management team in 2020, and became Senior Vice President of our lending department in January of this year,” advised Bergren.
Bergren said the idea of taking over the presidency from Bormann has been something that was thought of for a while.
“With my management duties, I’ve been involved with the operations side of the bank, the lending side of the bank, even the bookkeeping. I’ve dabbled in almost all parts of the bank, and the presidency was something I was interested in pursuing,” stated Bergren.
Bergren was one of a number of candidates considered as Bormann’s replacement. Bergren described the process for her selection.
“There was an extensive search for both internal and external candidates. The committee was shocked by the number of qualified individuals who wanted to be considered for this role. After the initial round of Zoom interviews, they narrowed the field down to the top three candidates at that point, and I was one of the three,” commented Bergren. “Next, I was asked to interview at the First National Bank Tower in Omaha, Neb., It was about a week later that they offered me the position, and I accepted it.”
After the lengthy interview process, Bergren described her reaction when she got the official offer.
“It was a combination of nerves, excitement, and anxiousness all in one. I have big shoes to fill. But I’m excited. We have a great team at the bank, great management over us, and a great relationship with our affiliates. I have a lot of great resources to use along the way,” Bergren said.
With Bergren’s hiring, she becomes the first woman president in the bank’s long history, which she is immensely proud of.
“It’s a great thing. I’ve got two daughters, so I feel it’s a good example for them, their friends, and other girls growing up. It’s something they can look forward to doing as well,” Bergren stated.
Bergren also shared what she felt was the deciding factor in her selection as Houghton’s president.
“I think they saw all the things I’ve done for the bank and where my role has been, and after interviewing the others, they felt it wouldn’t make sense to bring someone new in when I’ve been so heavily involved in it, and the staff knows me and they’ve worked with me all this time,” Bergren stated.
As she approaches July 1, Bergren said she’s been working closely with Bormann on the transition. Also, she said the bank is in the best place it’s been in a long time, and she doesn’t want to make any changes.
Bergren said she finds being able to work with people as the most rewarding aspect of what she does.
“I’m pleased with the relationships I’ve built with the staff and customers. Seeing the way we have enabled our staff to grow in their own roles in the bank has been exciting to see, and I like working with customers daily, talking to them about their crops, their future plans, and their goals,” Bergren explained.
While she’s excited to be taking over as Houghton’s president, there’s also some sadness in the transition.
“When I come in on July 1 and Karl is no longer here, it will be a strange feeling. I’m excited for him and his wife Susie and what their next chapter is, and I know that I had a good mentor along the way,” Bergren commented.
Bergren said when she takes over on July 1, customers will be able to continue to see her as they always have, and she will continue to work with them and do what’s best for them in her new role.
Bormann said in the global organization, they strive to pick the best person for the role. Bormann said he believed Bergren was the best person to take over for him, and to have an outside group make that determination as well felt about as good as it gets.
“We’ve done a lot of succession planning, and Britni and I have worked on many things together. This, in so many ways, will not be new to her. There’s a great staff here. It’s going to be a little bit different, and Britni will make it her own, but in the end, it’s going to be even stronger,” Bormann advised.
Bormann said that one of the unique perspectives Bergren will bring to the role is a very direct focus on the lending function of the bank.
“That’s something that Britni is extremely gifted at and very driven about: business development. We’re the same as any other business. If you’re not figuring out how you grow, that’s a problem. She identified that right away and gravitated towards it,” Bormann stated. “We have another staff member, Molly Ferree, who came to us two years ago. She has a great accounting background, and will be a complementary resource that is going to allow Britni to keep a focus on the lending component. You always have goals. In this area, we believe that from a lending perspective, we can really compete with anyone. That’s a great asset that Britni brings to us.”
Bormann also speculated on the hiring committee’s decision to hire Bergren as his replacement.
“I think a lot of people would look at a role like this and wonder what it would do for them. In Britni’s case, she’s firmly focused on what she can do with the role, and how she can help the customers and community. She’s not focused on what the role can do for her. That’s the way I’ve approached the position as well. I think that’s why we’ve worked so well together. We see so many things the same way,” said Bormann.
While he’s moving on to the next chapter, Bormann said that chapter is not set in stone yet.
“When you’ve lived as long as I have, you have ideas that come to you that you think about pursuing, or you help someone with a business and you think it would be a neat idea to try. For me, being at a point after all these years and working in a highly-regulated industry, to actually have the chance to consider what I want to do next is loaded with endless possibilities in some respects. I might have to take some time to fully appreciate that I can do a number of new things now,” Bormann explained.

The Red Oak Express

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P.O. Box 377
Red Oak, IA 51566
Phone: 712-623-2566 Fax: 712-623-2568

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