Friday, Sep 21, 2018

Like father, like son - Phillip Lehmann fills fathers shoes at Harvard State Bank

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Phillip Lehmann is the new chief executive officer and president of Harvard State Bank. COURTESY PHOTO

After more than 30 years as president and chief executive officer at Harvard State Bank, Roger Lehmann will hand over the reins to his son, Phillip Lehmann.

“I’m excited for the opportunity and for the new challenge,” said Phillip Lehmann, who has been with the bank since 2001. “But it’s the staff here who make this bank what it is.”

Phillip Lehmann joined Harvard State Bank as the vice president of lending at its Hebron office. He was promoted to senior vice president in 2004, moving to the Harvard main office and managing the entire loan department for the bank. Two years ago he was promoted to executive vice president, continuing to manage the loan department as well as run the day-to-day operations of the bank.

Lehmann said that, while the banking industry continues to change with the advance of technology, customer service must remain integral to Harvard State Bank’s success. He noted that banking customers have a uniquely personal connection to their banks, something he doesn’t take lightly.

“Our success and their success are tied together,” he said. “We have to be able to do whatever we can to help them. We don’t make anything. All we can do is provide them superior service.”

As technology has advanced, many customers, especially younger adults, spend less time at physical bank locations. “It wasn’t that long ago that there were no computers, and what was there was in the back and as big as a credenza,” Lehmann said. “We have come a long way with technology … there is more onus on us to take precautions [to safeguard customers’ accounts and data].”

That safety and security will remain, but Lehmann added taking advantage of personal connections may be more important than ever for Harvard State Bank and others.

“When you come to the bank nowadays, you’re usually there for a very specific reason,” he said. “We must be able to take care of [the customers] because this may be the one time in nine months they’ll be here.”

Lehmann earned his Master of Business Administration in 2001 at the Olin School of Business, Washington University, St. Louis. Prior to joining the Harvard State Bank in 2001, he worked at BMO Harris in northern Illinois and U.S. Bank in southern Illinois.

“Phillip has proven through the years that he manages for the future,” Roger Lehmann said in a press release. “He has assisted us in dedicating our organization to building relationships with our communities and clients and has been an integral part of our bank’s success through the years.”

Roger Lehmann served as the president, CEO and chairman of the board since 1983. He joined the bank in 1978 as the executive vice president. He will continue to work part time and will remain the bank’s chairman of the board.

Harvard State Bank also announced Tony Villarreal will step in as vice president, senior lender, taking over management of the loan department. Tom Raine will assist as the vice president of mortgage lending. Luchika Lamick also was promoted to assistant vice president/assistant cashier.

The bank has offices in Harvard, Hebron, Rockford and Oregon, Ill.