“My job really is to create an environment for people to be successful. Because only by the people being successful will the organisation be successful” (William Wolke in A Bank for Teachers 2004).
The story of Bank First is a marvellous success story and another chapter in our history has closed with William leaving us to a life of retirement on October 31 this year.
William and his young family made the huge decision to migrate to Australia in 1996 and William accepted our CEO role six years later. He took over a small credit union with a big heart. He proved to be a perfect match for us. At that time assets under management were $500 million; this total has now grown to $3 billion. He led our bank for over 18 years and never lost sight of its original purpose – to care for members. That tradition was set on Thursday, September 21, 1972 at the first meeting of our founders who agreed to put in $10 each, giving what was then called VTU Credit Union an initial paid up capital of $480. The history of our Bank has been captured in two books: Apples for Teachers, Damien Cash, 1994 and A Bank for Teachers, Lesley Alves, 2013. William surrounded himself with a highly able leadership team and the successful trajectory of the bank is recorded therein.
William led through our values, he showed himself to be a smart banker, a man of vision and a person of integrity. He was a great supporter of his staff; he was much admired for his common touch and genuine interest in others. Bank First thanks him for his dedication and commitment and will always be grateful.
Written by Bernie Lloyd,
Chair of the Board.