About Us

Jump to American Trust & Savings Bank's History

American Trust Retirement Planning, a division of American Trust & Savings Bank, is located in the beautiful and historic bluffs of downtown Dubuque, Iowa. Our history dates back to 1911, when several Dubuque business people obtained a charter for the German Savings Bank, naming Nicholas J. Schrup the first president of the bank. During WWI, the bank became as we know it today, American Trust & Savings Bank. As a bank, we have experienced many changes and economic growth over the past 100 years.

The roots of our first retirement planning services trace back to the 1950s. However, in May 1997, American Trust embarked on a different path and hired Kurt Wedewer to lead the division. Kurt came to American Trust with a strong vision and a direct experience in the retirement planning industry, including his training in pension underwriting from CIGNA and investment theory with Mercantile Bank. Realizing an enormous opportunity existed to marry American Trust's discretionary trust services with the small-mid sized retirement market, Wedewer embarked on a mission to recruit significant talent to carry out the vision. That vision included providing small-mid sized clients with the major cornerstones of a quality retirement plan that were typically made available to only large clients, and to do so in a bundled approach that brought with it tremendous control and cost savings. Those cornerstones; service, technology, plan design, fiduciary oversight, investments, and cost efficiency became the objectives and finding the talent to carry out these initiatives became the first order of business.

Over the next two decades, proven leaders with proven expertise and specific talents were selected to guide the key areas of the division.

Chuck Seymour was recruited to guide the Client Services team after a successful career at Prudential. Chuck leads a team of seasoned professionals whom are responsible for all aspects of the plan sponsor and participants' experience, including service, education, communication and ongoing administration. Proof of their success lies in their retention numbers---100% retention of clients in 8 of the past 11 years, and an overall recommendation rate that is second in the nation at 97.8%. These numbers are unheard of in the industry and provide evidence that they are doing things differently.

Fred Sear, Jr. was hired in 2000 to develop and enhance our technology capabilities. Over that time span, Fred and his team have created a technology package for our clients that allows us to compete at any level with the largest of service providers. Fred's background in programming and compliance has enabled him to customize our purchased systems to fit our clients and in-house needs, thus creating services that are not provided by competitors of any size.

The New Business team, lead by Dennis Herber, focuses on creating new initiatives and expanding our product nationally. Dennis came to American Trust in 2007 and has developed a team and dynamic approach to sales, marketing, and transition of new plans using both a direct and wholesale model. We take a more personalized approach, focusing on specific needs and requests of our clients, and detailing those recommendations in a customized proposal for each and every prospect.

Jeff Kunkel was brought on board in 2008 to lead the Compliance Team. Jeff has completely renovated the compliance and documents initiatives with tremendous results, as his tremendous background and training in compliance would have predicted. His team of seasoned professionals all have significant experience in complex plan design, a cornerstone of the department. The ability of Kunkel's team allow the administrators and marketing department to propose solutions that our competitors simply cannot deliver.

With our vision and its implementation in full swing, the Retirement Planning Department at American Trust is now seeing its efforts lauded by major publications nationally and our services are being sought by many broker/dealers around the country. Plan Sponsor Magazine has selected our services as the tops in our industry in several categories and went as far as to name us at the top provider in the United States in terms of participation rate and second in client recommendation rate in 2009. These awards are proof of our arrival in the industry and set the stage for further growth. Our vision, combined with an experienced and talented team of professionals at American Trust, allows us to provide a product that is not only recognized nationally, but also serves as a valuable tool when planning for your retirement future.

As we look ahead, we are poised for continuous growth and success. We will continue to develop partnerships and work closely with our clients. While the history is in the past, we are very proud of our heritage and look forward to expanding our horizons further. We thank you for your interest in our history and development and encourage you to look closer at our professionals.

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The History. Our Legacy

At American Trust & Savings Bank, we have a history that defines our values, commitment, and dedication to our clients.

In December 1911, several Dubuque business people obtained a charter for the German American Savings Bank. Nicholas J. Schrup, one of the founding fathers, was named the first president of the bank. During WWI, the bank became American Trust & Savings Bank. In this time of economic turmoil, financial void, and a state of poverty, five other banks in Dubuque had fallen, leaving us as one of only two banks to survive the Great Depression.

We began the second half-century of service to Dubuque in 1962 with growth and changes. We continued to expand into Southwest Wisconsin and Eastern Iowa, paving the way for our holding company ATBancorp to be formed in 1985. This organization allowed us to expand our product, serving nine communities and 16 banking facilities in Central Iowa, Eastern Iowa, and Southwest Wisconsin, with assets totaling over $900 million. In 2003, ATBancorp became a significant investor in a newly formed bank in San Mateo, California. United American Bank is now a growing $400 million community bank specializing in business and private banking services.

The Financial Management Group, a division of American Trust, continues to be a key strategic unit of our bank. With assets under management exceeding $1.5 billion, it is one of the largest independent Iowa-based operations in trust and related services. This division of American Trust offers clients wealth management, retirement planning, investment and brokerage services. In January 2005, the Financial Management Group began to offer wealth management services to United American Bank clients in California through its affiliation with ATBancorp.

Continuing the family legacy, Nicholas J. Schrup III was named president in 2000. He continues to guide American Trust into the future and leads ATBancorp in developing a strong reputation for providing outstanding service to our clients and strongly supporting our local communities. At American Trust, we are proud of our tradition, our history, and our legacy.