WPS Health Insurance

Starion Financial finalizes WPS Community Bank acquisition

John Hecht becomes market president



MADISON, Wis.—April 13, 2015

Starion Financial officially acquired WPS Community Bank, a subsidiary of Wisconsin Physicians Service Insurance Corporation, at the close of business on April 10. The acquisition gives Starion three locations in the Madison metro area: Monona, Middleton and Sun Prairie.

“Divesting the bank allows WPS to continue to grow and innovate in our core business, and gives the bank the best opportunity to continue to grow and succeed,” said WPS Senior Vice President for Strategy and Business Development John Stephens.

“Since announcing the acquisition in October 2014, we’ve been preparing customers and employees for the transition,” explains Craig Larson, president/CEO of Starion Financial. “The acquisition enables us to expand our presence and increase our commitment to the Madison community. We are thrilled that 14 WPS Community Bank employees, including John Hecht, have joined Starion Financial.”

Starion has appointed Hecht market president. He is responsible for general management of the Monona, Middleton and Sun Prairie locations, including staff, financial and sales performance. Hecht was instrumental in the start-up of WPS Community Bank in 2009 and served as its only president/CEO. Under his leadership, WPS Community Bank grew to assets of more than $100 million. In 2014, the bank earned accolades including recognition from the Independent Community Bankers of America as one of the top 100 industry U.S. loan producers and the No. 3 ranking among independent banks in Wisconsin. Both Starion Financial and WPS Community Bank have five-star “superior” ratings from BauerFinancial, an independent bank rating firm.

“John brings banking experience in large and small banks with an emphasis in community banking to Starion Financial,” Larson said. “We are excited that he will lead this market so Starion can help even more businesses and individuals with their banking needs and help the community grow.”

Hecht is a licensed CPA with a bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire and more than 30 years of banking experience. He is a board member for the Madison Chapter of Financial Executives International and serves the community as president of the Monona Chamber of Commerce board.

“I am excited about the opportunity to lead the three Starion Financial branches in the Madison area,” says Hecht. “Starion’s business model has integrity, which is very appealing to me and consistent with my personal values. I share the Larson family's passion and commitment to build stronger communities where we live and work.

“With these three locations, we can serve all of our customers even better with enhanced service delivery points and convenience for a broader market. Combined with the talent and support of the larger Starion organization, I am excited for the future.”

Starion Financial has been a family-owned community bank since 1969 when the Larson family purchased First National Bank of Oakes (N.D.). The bank experienced strong growth before expanding to Middleton in 2006 and Sun Prairie in 2013. In the past six years, Starion doubled its assets and has grown into a $1 billion “supercommunity” bank, with 15 locations and serving thousands of customers throughout Wisconsin and North Dakota. The bank has built its reputation on integrity, personalized service, local decision-making and community involvement. Starion Financial’s three locations are 5900 Gisholt Drive in Monona, 1651 John Q. Hammons Drive in Middleton and 326 S. Grand Ave. in Sun Prairie.

WPS Community Bank opened in 2009 as a subsidiary of Wisconsin Physicians Service Insurance Corporation (WPS). Madison-based WPS is a nationally regarded government contractor and Wisconsin’s leading not-for-profit health insurer.

About WPS Health Insurance
Founded in 1946, WPS is a nationally regarded government contractor and Wisconsin’s leading not-for-profit health insurer. The WPS Health Insurance division offers affordable individual health insurance, family health insurance, high-deductible health insurance, and short-term health plans, as well as flexible and affordable group plans and cost-effective benefit plan administration for businesses. The WPS Medicare division administers Part A and B benefits for millions of seniors in multiple states, and the WPS TRICARE division serves millions more members of the U.S. military and their families. In 2015, the international Ethisphere® Institute named WPS one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies® for the sixth straight year. For more information about WPS, visit www.wpsic.com.