Local bankers hit the big time

Martin Noll named banker of the year; Daniel Watts to chair conference

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Timothy Inklebarger and Thomas Vogel

Staff Writers

Two local bankers – Martin J. Noll, chairman of the board of Community Bank of Oak Park River Forest, and Daniel G. Watts, president of Forest Park National Bank, are making headlines in the banking world this month.

Noll was named Illinois Banker of the Year by the Illinois Bankers Association; and Watts was chosen to serve as chairman at the organization's annual conference on June 23.

Noll said in a telephone interview that the award was "a heck of a shock and surprise." He used the opportunity to highlight the importance of independent community banks and their importance to places like Oak Park.

Not only do they help families and businesses owners get a loan for their first home or storefront, they also build partnerships with civic organizations and nonprofits to help strengthen the community, such as the bank's backing of the fireworks display for the 4th of July this year.

The Illinois Bankers Association noted in a press release that Noll has been in the business for about five decades and has served on at least a dozen IBA committees.

Noll has served as a delegate to the Banking Leadership Assembly of the American Bankers Association and as a member of the advisory board of the ABA's Consumer Lending School, according to the IBA press release.

Noll founded Community Bank in 1996, first serving as chairman and CEO. He now serves as chairman of the bank and chairman of Oak Park River Forest Bankshares, the bank's holding company.

Watts, who has served on the IBA's executive committee for five years, will serve as chairman for one year, and help lead the group's lobbying efforts, as well as relations with its members and communities.

"I'm pretty honored by the whole process," Watts said in a June 29 phone call. "It's a 126-year-old organization. It has a great history."

The IBA, founded in 1891, is an industry trade group.

"The IBA is pleased and honored to have Dan lead our board and executive team," IBA President and CEO Linda Koch said in a June 28 press release. "He is a great asset to the association."

Watts, who lives in River Forest, joined Forest Park National Bank in 2010. In his over 30-year career in banking he has also worked at the American National Bank and Trust Company of Chicago, Cosmopolitan Bank and Trust, Pullman Bank and Trust and Park National Bank. He holds degrees from Northwestern University, Loyola University Chicago and the University of Chicago.


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Sandy Lentz from Oakpark  

Posted: July 5th, 2017 1:52 PM

Congratulations, Marty. And thank you for your years of service to our community. Well deserved.

Joanne Murray from Western Springs  

Posted: July 3rd, 2017 6:03 PM

Congratulations to Marty Noll. You have been a pillar of our community and overseen the expansion of your beautiful satellite facilities. Kudos to you and your staff. Joanne Murray Lynch

Galen Gockel from Oak Park  

Posted: July 3rd, 2017 1:23 PM

Applause, applause for Marty Noll. Many hundreds of local nonprofits have their accounts at Community Bank.

Doug Stewart from Oak Park  

Posted: July 3rd, 2017 12:38 PM

Congrats to both gentlemen on the well deserved recognition

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