Meet Larry Bodin: Market President for Onalaska and La Crescent

Larry Bodin, Market President

Larry has been in banking for 31 years, and nearly 20 of those he has spent in the La Crosse area. With extensive experience as both a Commercial Banker and Market President, Larry knows what’s important for the local economy: community-minded leadership.

Q: What drew you to the La Crosse area? How long have you lived there?

My wife Elaine, along with our two sons, Justin and Trenton, moved to the La Crosse area in 2003. Previously I worked in the Madison, WI area, but La Crosse County was in my market territory. It made sense professionally to move up a little farther North and there were interesting opportunities in this region.

Q: What drew you to Merchants Bank?

The reason I chose Merchants Bank had everything to do with the local leadership team, including Steve Christiansen (who is now retired) and Shawn Sackman. At my previous position, I competed against them in banking as well as sat alongside of them on various Boards. I knew if I were to move away from a large bank atmosphere, the community-oriented Merchants Bank would be my employer of choice.

Q: What are you looking forward to in your new role as Market President?

I am excited to get to know more of my coworkers across the region (even if it’s just over the phone or a video call) – we spend a lot of time with each other and it’s always nice to know your teammates.

I firmly believe it is important to continue developing leadership skills within our local team, and of course that includes me. When we work with customers our biggest role is to represent our organization in a positive and professional manner. 

Merchants Bank is also fortunate to have a very talented local Advisory Board of Directors.  I am extremely excited to have the privilege of learning from their successful leadership in our communities.

Q: What do you think is important for all businesses to know?

Whether in your professional or personal life – it is so important to build meaningful relationships. Not all banks can fulfill that “Trusted Advisor” role, but when there is mutual respect and understanding between you and your banker, you know you have someone who truly cares about what’s best for your business and will be a partner in helping you make smart financial decisions.

Q: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

Being a man of faith, I like the advice given in James 1:19 which applies to everyone – “Let every person be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to anger.” 

In most situations, but especially in a leadership role – this is very good advice.

Q: What organizations are you part of?

Currently, I serve on the Board of Directors for Chileda, Inc. and the VARC Foundation. Previously I’ve held board positions with the Dahl School of Business at Viterbo University, the La Crosse Area Family YMCA, Junior Achievement, and Holmen Area Rotary.

I enjoy volunteering because of course if feels good to serve your community, but it’s also a great opportunity to meet people.

Q: What do you like to do in your free time?

When I have free time, it’s about relaxing and having fun. My wife and I enjoy walking, golfing, fishing and flying as a private pilot, often taking trips to explore locations around the region and Midwest. We enjoy watching professional and college sports, especially football.

I am also (for the past 25 years) a WIAA, MSHSL, and NCAA licensed Men’s and Women’s Basketball Official. Between Thanksgiving and March, I officiate over 75 contests as well as weekend tournaments. This is a rewarding professional hobby and I honored to have officiated many local Wisconsin and Minnesota high school athletes that have gone on to college and into the NBA.