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Ixonia Bank plans moves into Madison and Milwaukee

May 12, 2018 GMT

A small Jefferson County bank — celebrating its 100th anniversary this year — plans to triple its size, and is targeting Madison and downtown Milwaukee for a big part of its expansion.

Ixonia Bank has seven locations in Jefferson and Waukesha counties and $320 million in assets. The bank opened in 1918 in Ixonia, near Oconomowoc, about 50 miles east of Madison.

Ixonia Bank currently has a loan production office in Madison, at 1 Erdman Place. The office will be swapped for a full-service bank in the first half of 2019, said Dan Westrope, chairman and CEO of Ixonia Bank.

He said it will be at a different location, as yet undetermined. “We are currently analyzing a couple of possible locations that could fit our needs,” Westrope said.

Ixonia Bank also plans to open its first location in downtown Milwaukee within the next year, with more branches in both cities to follow.

Ixonia Bank had a net loss for 2017 of $2.7 million “largely driven by a $4 million tax hit due to the new tax law at year-end,” Westrope said.

By 2023, Ixonia Bank expects to have $1 billion in assets.

“Growth has always been in our long-term plans, but we have not been ready to grow prior to now,” Westrope said. “The competition in our industry requires a larger bank with a bigger footprint.”

Sheldon Lubar and his family acquired a majority stake in Ixonia Bancshares in 2012. Lubar is the founder and chairman of Lubar & Co., a Milwaukee investment firm. Lubar has served as a member and president of the UW Board of Regents, and he has held federal government appointments under presidents Jimmy Carter, Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford.

“Ixonia Bank’s main business principles that we’ve built the bank around are soundness, profitability and growth,” said Lubar, president and CEO of the bank’s holding company, Ixonia Bancshares.

As for what interested him in this particular bank, Lubar said: “The people, the location equal distance from Madison and Milwaukee corridor and my desire to get back into banking, an industry I knew exceptionally well.”

Ixonia Bank says it is aimed at serving small and mid-size businesses, and it plans to focus particularly on women-owned businesses and female entrepreneurs.