The Ag Banker

Bill Vetter has spent a lifetime helping farmers with finances


Really wanting to live a farm life, Bill Vetter chose what he figured was the next best thing – becoming an agriculture banker.

“Ag banking was a way to keep close to the farm – as close as I could come,” he said.

In a career spanning four decades, the 65-year-old Vetter retired at the end of the year, but hasn’t worked since June, taking time for health reasons.

The Dewitt native served Wilton State Bank for the last 13.5 years (when the new facility was formed on U.S. Route 6), but his banking career included 24 years with the former Wilton Savings Bank, which is now Community Trust & Savings Bank in Wilton.

Wherever Vetter was located, his customers followed.

“I think I’ve been the luckiest banker ever,” said Vetter. “The relationships I’ve had have been wonderful – so many co-workers, directors and customers – it’s just been overwhelming.”

Vetter says there’s no real secret to his longevity in the ag banking world, despite the fact so many changes have taken place.

“Listen,” he said. “I recognized early on that whoever sits behind a desk can have a dramatic impact on the person at the other end of the desk. Surround yourself with the right people. That’s one of the keys to my success.”

Vetter said he learned a lot from key mentors through the years including Wilton bankers Herb Thompson and Jerry Johnson as well as Dennis Henning.

“A boss told me once long ago that a farmer needs a good corn planter and a vacation,” Vetter said, pointing out that modern technology has helped farmers produce larger yields and more profits through the years.

“One young farmer told me when the iPad went into the tractor, that’s when grandpa stopped driving the tractor,” he continued.

He said there have been massive upgrades in machinery technology, raising livestock, advances in grain seeds. He is proud to be a part of a new revolution in farming.

“It’s so dramatically different,” he said. “The technology that’s available today is just mind boggling.”

He said there were times he doubted ideas some farmers proposed. “Over the years, I was presented with ideas that at first glance, I’d think, ‘what the hell is this guy thinking,’ but many of those ideas were a big success,” Vetter said, pointing out there are no far-fetched ideas he wasn’t willing to bend an ear.

The father of four grown children (Jessica, Jordan, Alexis and Olivia) with his wife Cris, he now lives north of DeWitt on a rural acreage where he has a small woodworking shop, something he hopes to keep active with in retirement. He also says he wants to do some fishing and plans to spend some time with his two Dewitt brothers, Tom and Todd.

“I was very, very fortunate to have great mentors,” Vetter said. “I’ve been able to share my knowledge with many other bankers. I’ve dealt for 40 years with so many customers and friends.”

In lieu of a reception for Vetter, customers and friends are welcome to stop by either the Wilton or Dewitt Banking facility to sign a retirement memory book through the end of February.

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