Welcome to Volume 8, Issue 1

By Chris Schneiderman - Welcome to the latest edition of State Bank's newsletter.  Thank you for taking the time to read the articles as we hope they bring value to your relationship with State Bank.  The spring newsletter will focus on a variety of topics, including a wrap up of the 2017 Ag Seminar, information on a new educational luncheon, and a brief article on enhancing employee strengths.  We also highlight our 2017 State Bank Foundation Golf Outing, scheduled to occur at The Freeport Club on Friday, May 19 at 2:00 p.m.  Please also take a few moments to review the Freeport and Stephenson County economic climate data within the newsletter.

I would also like to welcome three new additions to State Bank: our summer interns!  We are very excited to host and utilize three commercial/agribusiness banking interns.  All three will be entering their final year of college and each will spend anywhere from two weeks to two and a half months at the bank.  It is our way of introducing future graduates to community, commercial and agribusiness banking.  We have found it to be an excellent way to recruit and develop future talent, especially as it relates to superior customer service skills.  We hope to have the chance to introduce some of you to our interns in the coming months. 

As always, thank you for your business and relationship with State Bank.  We take pride in serving your banking needs and look forward to seeing or speaking with you in the near future.
Upcoming Ag & Economic Luncheon Steph Co. Home Sales
Business Tools of the Future  Steph Co. Home Sale Price
Derrick Schubert
EmployeeStrengthsEnhancing Employee Strengths

By Derrick Schubert -  In the 1950s, the Nebraska School Study Council was concerned about student reading retention.  In an effort to address this concern, the Council tested 6,000 incoming freshman to see how fast they could read while retaining at least 80% of the content.

The results showed that most students could read 90 words per minute while retaining 80% of what they read.  However, a small portion of students far exceeded that, reading 350 words per minute while maintaining the same retention percentage.  

The school put both groups of students through a six week speed reading course and then retested.  It was their expectation that the students reading 90 words per minute would improve more than the students who were already reading 350 words per minute.  The results, however, showed something different.  The 90 words per minute group increased to 140 words per minute, while the 350 words per minute group jumped to a staggering 2,900 words per minute.

What we can take away from this study in the 1950s is that each person has individual, inherent strengths.  These strengths often remain untapped potential as most people in today's culture focus all their time and energy on improving their weaknesses.  Rather than focusing time on another skill, the study of the strong readers above shows that a focus on enhancing an already inherent strength allows that particular skill to progress exponentially.

This experiment provides tremendous insight for businesses looking to maximize their existing workforce.  Taking the time to evaluate your team and ensuring their inherent strengths are being stretched and utilized is one way to not only gain a competitive advantage, but also to provide an opportunity for your employees to feel engaged and valued.  What if every member of your team was thriving in a position that utilized their inherent strengths? What level of exponential growth could you expect? 

J.W. Glock, The Relative Value of Three Methods of Improving Reading
Sales Tax Revenue
Acknowledgement: Illinois Department of Revenue

By Andrea Moring -  On June 21st, Foresight Financial Group, Inc. (FFG) will be hosting its first company-wide Ag & Economic Luncheon.  This exciting event will include five of the six banks in the FFG family; State Bank, German American State Bank, State Bank of Davis, Lena State Bank, and Northwest Bank of Rockford.   We invite you to join us from 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. at Stewart Centre West in Freeport for a day of education in both the business and agriculture industries. 

Steven D.  Johnson, Ph.D, Farm & Ag Business Management Specialist at Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, will provide the agriculture-based portion of the event.  Steve specializes in topics related to government farm programs, crop insurance, crop marketing, grain contracts, farmland leasing, and other crop risk management strategies. Annually he conducts nearly 100 meetings, workshops, seminars, and conferences across the Corn Belt with over 10,000 in attendance.

The economic information will be presented by Jay Morelock, Economist at FTN Financial.  Jay concentrates on the analysis of economic releases, Federal Reserve policy, fiscal policy, and geopolitical events with a primary focus on the U.S.  He presents clear and objective analysis of the macroeconomy and its relation to markets through economic projections, written reports, conferences, and public commentary.  He has appeared on CNBC's Squawk Box and is frequently quoted in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Bloomberg, and BBC.  Prior to joining FTN Financial, he worked as a trader in the U.S. fixed income markets.  
Registration for the event begins at 10:00 a.m.  Steven D. Johnson will speak from 10:30 to 12:15, and lunch will be served from 12:15 to 1:00. Jay Morelock will close our program, speaking from 1:00 p.m. to  2:00 p.m.
We hope you will join us for both speakers, however, if your schedule won't permit, we invite you to join us for the portion you are able. 
Please RSVP to Salina Loescher at 815.297.0900 or salina.loescher@statebankfreeport.com.  We hope to see you there! 
HomeSales Home Sales
Stephenson County Single Family/Condominium Sales 
Acknowledgement: IllinoisRealtor.org
FutureBusiness Tools of the Future

By Shawn Cox - Some of us have seen the evolution from the electronic typewriter, to the desktop computer, to the laptop computer, and on to the tablet.  We've even seen the change from a dot matrix printer to an all-in-one business center that can copy, scan, fax, collate, and staple with the touch of just a couple buttons.  Each time I enter an electronics store, I am amazed at how quickly old technology becomes obsolete, and the new becomes more sophisticated.  I recently visited a store that carried the newest computers, virtual reality headsets and even different types of drones ready for anyone to purchase. Are these really the next tools we will use to increase efficiencies in our industries?

What if a farmer wanted to take a close view at all of his or her 1,500 acres of crops over 10 different parcels of land? That's a lot of ground to walk. A drone could provide aerial views to expose patterns that diagnose everything from irrigation problems to soil variations that aren't apparent at eye level.  Airborne images can also find differences between healthy and distressed plants that may not be seen by the naked eye.  Finally, a drone could survey a crop as often as you would like.  Taking multiple images throughout the growing season can show changes in the crop by revealing trouble spots or opportunities for better crop management.

A real estate agent could use a drone to take unique aerial photos of a property.  A virtual reality headset could provide a virtual tour of a house for a client looking to relocate to Freeport.  The client could use a virtual reality headset to get a feel of what standing in a kitchen may feel like from over 2,000 miles away.

How much fun would it be to see an event like Music on Chicago or the Stephenson County Fair from a drone or a virtual reality point of view? Or could an interior designer transform a customer's remodel ideas into a virtual reality program to view the finished project before making an investment? There are plenty of opportunities and ideas that can come from using these new "toys" or tools across many industries. If you have an idea for how a new piece of equipment may improve managing your business, contact me at  shawn.cox@statebankfreeport.com or 815.297.0900.
Median Home Sale Price
Acknowledgement: IllinoisRealtor.org
Amanda Jacobs
GolfOutingUpcoming State Bank Foundation Golf Outing

By Amanda Jacobs - The 7th Annual State Bank Foundation Golf Outing is right around the corner!  On May 19, golfers and State Bankers alike will come together at The Freeport Club for a day of food, fun and fairway.
Historically, the golf outing has been the largest fundraiser for the State Bank Foundation.  Previous outings have raised a combined total of more than $45,000 to support youth and educational programs in our community.  It is because of your involvement, support and generous donations that we have been able to make a positive impact in our community.   Since our first grant cycle in 2012, the State Bank Foundation has awarded $29,000 to area nonprofit organizations. 
It's not too late to be part of this year's event; there are still multiple ways to join in on the fun!  We would love for you to join us as a golfer at the event.  Your $60 entry includes 9 holes of golf, dinner, prizes, and more!  We would also appreciate your support as a Hole Sponsor for $100 or a General Sponsor for $60.
We are so excited for this fun-filled event and we welcome everyone to join us!  Please contact Amanda or Salina at 815-297-0900 for more information.  Again, we thank all of our sponsors and golfers, past and present, for your support; you are truly appreciated!    
Acknowledgement: Illinois Department of Employment Security
Salina Loescher
Agribusiness2017 Agribusiness Seminar

By Salina Loescher - Even when snow covers the ground, our local agriculture community is still working hard and preparing for their next year of business.  This was proven in January when over 275 local agriculture professionals packed Highland Community College's conference room for the 2017 Agribusiness Seminar.  It was wonderful to see so many attendees from the surrounding area take time out of their busy day to listen to informative speakers, learn more about their industry, eat a hearty lunch, and hopefully leave with new insights to apply to their respective operations.  This year's attendees heard from three speakers: Mike Boehlje, Eric Snodgrass and Carl Babler.
Dr. Mike Boehlje is a professor in the Department of Agricultural Economics and the Center for Food and Agricultural Business at Purdue University.  He is the author of four books and over 450 articles.  Dr. Boehlje focused on integrating concepts of economics, finance and strategy to solve problems of farm and agribusiness managers. 
Eric Snodgrass was next in the speaker line-up, and focused his message on the weather.  He is the Director of Undergraduate Studies for the Department of Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  Snodgrass is also the co-founder of Global Weather and Climate Logistics, LLC, a private company that provides logistical guidance and solutions to weather-sensitive financial institutions.  
The seminar closed with Carl Babler as the final speaker of the day.  Babler grew up on a dairy farm near Orangeville, earned a Master of Science Degree at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville and completed agribusiness coursework at Harvard University.   His experience in grain, beef, hogs, and dairy production provided him the ability to relate to producers both on a production and marketing level. 

This year's Agribusiness Seminar was another huge success thanks to these wonderful speakers, the support of seven community banks and the support of our generous sponsors.  Plans are already underway for next year's seminar; it's an event you won't want to miss!   
Unemployment Graph
Acknowledgement: Illinois Department of Employment Security
This advertisement is brought to you by State Bank.
Member FDIC