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Iowa banker to receive top ag banking award


The American Bankers Association's Center for Agricultural and Rural Banking will present Jeff Plagge with its annual Bruning Award for his lifetime commitment to agricultural banking. He will receive the award at ABA's National Agricultural Bankers Conference in San Antonio, Texas, from Nov. 15 to 18.

Plagge was recently named president of Northwest Financial Corp., a position he will begin next month. His dedicated service to his customers and the banking industry earned Plagge the Bruning Award, which honors a lifetime of commitment to providing credit and financial guidance to farmers, ranchers and businesses in rural America.

"When you are involved in ag lending, participating in local producer organizations and taking advantage of the ABA agricultural conference is critical," said Plagge, who once chaired ABA's Agricultural and Rural Bankers Committee. "Staying current with our skills, education and knowledge has never been more important. Unlike the larger lenders, in community banking we have to be experts in all of the categories. If we are just selling money and not adding value to the relationship, we won't win in this competitive market."

Plagge was raised on a farm near Latimer, Iowa. After majoring in agricultural business at Iowa State University, he attended the Graduate School of Banking in Colorado.

Plagge began his career as a loan officer for a Production Credit Association, working out of Council Bluffs, Iowa. He was soon promoted to branch manager and ultimately became area vice president and marketing director of the Production Credit Association in Webster City, Iowa. He became executive vice president and director of First State Bank of Webster City, where he stayed for 10 years.

He then served as president and CEO of First National Bank of Waverly as well as president of First of Waverly Corporation and CEO of First Insurance Services. His current position, before joining Northwest Financial Corp. in September, is chairman, CEO and president of Midwest Heritage Bank in West Des Moines, Iowa.

Plagge has also served as a member of ABA's Government Relations Council and ABA's Board of Directors and as chairman of the Iowa Bankers Association. He has also served on the boards of Delta Dental of Iowa, American Red Cross, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, Waverly Light and Power and Waverly Library Foundation.

He and his wife, Sandy, will be moving to Okoboji, Iowa, area. They have three grown children.

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