Longtime BankChampaign VP set to become next president

Longtime BankChampaign VP set to become next president

CHAMPAIGN — Mark Ballard has been named president of BankChampaign, effective Jan. 1.

Ballard, the bank's longtime executive vice president of retail banking, will inherit the new title from L. Dean Clausen.

Clausen, whose family owns a controlling interest in BankChampaign, will remain the bank's chairman and chief executive officer.

"My responsibility will be planning and overall direction of the bank," Clausen said, adding that Ballard will act as chief operating officer.

As executive vice president, Ballard oversees the trust department, wealth management, retail banking, human resources and marketing.

With the new title, he will pick up responsibility for commercial banking, Clausen said. Linda Richardson will remain executive vice president of commercial banking.

Ballard, 50, is well-known in the community, having served as chairman of the Champaign County Chamber of Commerce and both board chairman and campaign chairman for the United Way of Champaign County.

A certified public accountant, Ballard is also a Champaign Public Library trustee, a past board chairman for the Champaign County YMCA and a past president of the Champaign West Rotary Club.

Clausen has been with the bank since its founding in March 1990, with Ballard joining the following year.

BankChampaign, which has more than $200 million in assets and 53 full-time equivalent employees, has three offices in Champaign:

— 2101 S. Neil St.

— 5 Convenience Center Drive near Market Place Shopping Center.

— 301 N. Neil St., in the M2 building in downtown Champaign.

Clausen said Ballard's promotion was approved Thursday by the bank's board of directors as part of the succession planning process.

Ballard said most customers won't notice much difference as a result of his promotion. But he will get more opportunities to interact with commercial lending customers.

He said he plans to continue his investment blog, "Mark's Investment Strategies," at the BankChampaign website.

Clausen said the change will free him up a bit.

"I'm looking forward to spending more time out with customers and less time behind the desk," he said.

Clausen said the privately owned bank will maintain its strategy of focusing "solely on Champaign-Urbana and Champaign County."

"The boards of the bank and holding company are committed to maintaining independence and growth and our focus in the market," he said.

Ballard added: "We focus on what we know and understand, and stick to it."

Ownership in the bank's holding company is held by a relatively small group of shareholders — probably fewer than 40 and almost all of them from Champaign County, Ballard said.

The bank's plans for next year, he added, include rolling out iPhone and Android applications for mobile banking.

In another development, Champaign developer Newton Dodds will retire from BankChampaign's board of directors at the end of this year, to be succeeded Jan. 1 by his son, Jason Dodds.

Newton Dodds will, however, remain on the board of the bank's holding company, Market Place Bancshares.