Jerome Fagerland has served BankFirst and the Community of O'Neill as Bank President and Loan Officer since 2013. He announced that he intends to step down Oct. 1, 2022.
“Leading the BankFirst team has been an honor,” said Fagerland. “Through my career in banking, I've seen dramatic changes in the transition of technology in the industry as well as an increase in the size of farming and ranching operations. Over my time with BankFirst however, one thing has never changed – and that is the loyalty BankFirst and its team members have for the customer.” In 2023, Fagerland will celebrate over 45 years in the financial industry and 10 years with BankFirst.
Fagerland is originally from Langford, SD and graduated in 1972 from Northern State University, Aberdeen, SD with a degree in business administration. He is married with three children, nine grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. With this transition, he will also be reducing his hours to part-time and looks forward to having more time with his family doing the things he loves – which include watching college football, fishing, hunting and woodworking.
“The experience that Jerome brings to the table is second to none,” states BankFirst President/CEO, Clark Froehlich. “He has seen all the phases of banking through the last 45 years in the financial industry and we are excited to have him continue to serve the customers and community of O'Neill, staying on as a part-time loan officer – and sharing his wisdom and experience to usher in the next generation of bankers.”
President and CEO, Clark Froehlich confirmed that Kris Koelzer, who has served as Loan Officer with BankFirst, O'Neill since February of 2021, has already began seamlessly transitioning into the role as Community Bank President.
Koelzer grew up in Wood River, where he graduated from Wood River Rural High School. He went on to earn his bachelor of science degree in business administration with an emphasis in management and marketing from the University of Nebraska at Kearney. He has been in banking since 2013 and has previously served five years as bank president in a neighboring community.
When asked about the transition, Koelzer stated, “I am looking forward to building, growing and leading a team focused on serving our customer and local communities. In my near decade in the profession, banking has moved technologically forward with online, mobile and virtual banking services. At the end of the day – it is still essential for community banks to focus on the personal and unique needs of each customer.”
He continued, “Jerome has led BankFirst through some unprecedented times,” said Koelzer. “He has been an extraordinary mentor, whose wisdom and judgement have set an example for us all. I look forward to continuing working with Jerome during this next phase for both of us. We have many exciting initiatives planned for the upcoming year.”
Koelzer is currently the president of the O'Neill Lions Club, the Financial Secretary for the Knights of Columbus in O'Neill, and he also volunteers running events at the O'Neill Golf Club. Kris and his wife, Anne, have two children, John (age 5) – who started Kindergarten this year at St. Mary's Elementary, and Myla (age 3) – patiently waiting to follow in her brother's footsteps.
In his free time, Koelzer enjoys spending time with his family and friends grilling and golfing. “I have always been competitive in the sport of golf and always try to improve my skills.” Fun Fact – he has two hole-in-ones and they both came within a year of each other!
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