The state's two largest banks have named new leaders in Lincoln.

First National Bank of Omaha and Mutual of Omaha Bank, which are the two largest Nebraska-based banks by total assets, have both named new top executives for the Lincoln market.

Jack Weeks, the new Lincoln market president for First National Bank of Omaha, took over last fall, while Roger Ludemann took over as Mutual of Omaha Bank's Lincoln market leader last month.

Weeks is a South Dakota native who spent 12 years working for First National in Yankton, South Dakota, before moving to Lincoln in July to take over as head of commercial lending. He was named Lincoln market president in Lincoln, succeeding Richard Herink in a planned leadership transition.

Herink had been the Lincoln market president since First National opened its first Lincoln office in 2001.

Weeks has plenty of Lincoln ties. His wife is a Lincoln native and he is a University of Nebraska-Lincoln graduate. He also worked for First National in Lincoln for three years before moving to Yankton.

He said he's optimistic about growth in the city.

"It's amazing what Lincoln has done in the past 12 years," Weeks said. "This community has a lot of potential."

Weeks said one of the bank's big focus areas for Lincoln is growing its commercial lending operations.

But at the same time, he said, retail and consumer banking will remain a strong focus as well.

"Both are an important part of what we do," Weeks said.

First National has a lot of growth potential in Lincoln. Despite being the largest Nebraska bank and the largest privately owned bank in the U.S., it ranks ninth in deposit share in the Lincoln area, according to the most recent data from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., with only about 2.7 percent of the total deposits in the market.

The bank has steadily grown its physical footprint in Lincoln, adding a new branch about every five years on average, and it now has branches in every corner of the city except for the northwest.

Despite a trend nationally of banks closing branches, Weeks said he does believe First National will continue to add branches in Lincoln in the future.

"A couple more branches are reasonable to cover the town and footprint," he said.

More local branches are not in the plans for Mutual of Omaha bank, which has a single location in downtown Lincoln at 14th and Q streets.

But Ludemann, who is a veteran of the Lincoln banking scene, said that doesn't mean the bank isn't looking to grow.

He said Mutual of Omaha wants to expand both its residential mortgage operations in Lincoln as well as its commercial lending operations.

"We want to serve the community, from a banking perspective, any way we can, " Ludemann said, although he noted that growing commercial lending is "probably the top focus of the bank."

Ludemann, who has more than 30 years of experience in the banking industry and was formerly an executive at both TierOne Bank and Great Western Bank in Lincoln, said he can't remember a more vibrant time in Lincoln.

"This whole city in general is just a proud place to be these days," he said. "It's really on a roll."

Mutual of Omaha got into the banking business more than a decade ago by buying a Lincoln bank, Security Federal Savings Bank, in 2007. Though the banking operation has grown to become nationwide and now has a presence in many large metro areas, Ludemann said Lincoln remains an important market.

"The Mutual of Omaha name and close proximity to Omaha are a very nice fit for the Lincoln banking operation," he said.

Mutual of Omaha has even more room to grow in Lincoln, with only 0.2 percent of deposits, ranking 24th out of the 26 banks serving the market.

One of the country's larger banks, which also is among the biggest in Lincoln, also will have a new local leader.

U.S. Bank, which ranks third in market share in Lincoln with about 10 percent of all deposits, recently announced that Steve Erwin, longtime president for the bank's Nebraska and Western Iowa region, is retiring at the end of March.

Erwin, who has been with the bank since 1990 and its Nebraska and Western Iowa leader since 2005, will be succeeded by current Omaha market president Joseph Sullivan.

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Reach the writer at 402-473-2647 or molberding@journalstar.com.

On Twitter @LincolnBizBuzz.


Business editor/reporter

Matt Olberding is a Lincoln native and University of Nebraska-Lincoln graduate who has been covering business for the Journal Star since 2005.

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