Wednesday, October 01, 2014
   
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Williams to receive ag banking award

The American Bankers Association will present Gothenburg banker Matt Williams with its annual Bruning Award for outstanding leadership in agricultural banking.

Williams, president of Gothenburg State Bank and former chairman of ABA, will be presented with the award at the ABA National Agricultural Bankers Conference, Nov. 9-12 in Omaha.

Named for Nebraska banker Frank Bruning—the first recipient 17 years ago—the award recognizes the lifetime achievement of individuals who dedicated their careers to providing credit and guidance to farmers, ranchers and their fellow agricultural bankers.

“I am humbled and honored to receive this award,” said Williams. “I have known the Bruning family my entire banking career and to receive the award named for Frank Bruning, an ag banking leader in our state, is inspiring.”

Williams is a fourth generation banker and has been with his family-owned bank since 1973. His agricultural roots date back to the 1890s when his family moved to Nebraska. He began working on the family farm at a young age.

Williams’ great grandfather established Gothenburg State Bank in 1902. Today, about 70% of loans at the bank are either directly to farmers and ranchers or to businesses that support them in some way.

“Agriculture is the most important industry in our state, it accounts for one in three jobs, and for more than 100 years our bank has been committed to supporting the ag industry,” Williams said.

He has testified before the Nebraska Legislature and the U.S. Congress in Washington D.C. on important agricultural issues including crop insurance, the availability of credit and the ag economy. He was the only banker invited by the FDIC to a symposium concerning the possibility of an ag real estate bubble.

“We’ve just been through an agricultural cycle where ag has been profitable, but that won’t last forever. And, our job as bankers is to monitor risk and need, but I am very bullish about the future of agriculture,” said Williams. “As the population of the world continues to grow, it’s a unique opportunity for the U.S. As a country, we are blessed with natural resources, which allow us the opportunity to be a leader in providing safe and nutritious food, not just to our own country but to the world.”

Williams recently served as chairman of the American Bankers Association and also serves on the ABA Board. He was selected as one of 14 bankers from across the country to serve on the FDIC Advisory Committee on Community Banking. He was chairman of the Nebraska Bankers Association in 2003-2004 and has served on many NBA committees.

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