Women in Business: Tewes a guide through a changing landscape

Published 4:16 pm Wednesday, November 2, 2022

Patty Tewes may work a little bit behind the scenes at First Farmers & Merchants Bank, but her effort is in the forefront in the quest to keep her employees and customers up to speed in an ever changing industry.

Tewes, who is the CEO and COO at FFM, deals with the day to day operational duties of the bank and includes regulatory reporting, compliance, deposits and dealing with the government. She works with the Austin and Brownsdale branches.

“Change is constant. It gives the opportunity for me to learn myself and also to teach,” Tewes said. “There are a lot of things I love about this career. It’s stable. Once you’re in banking and it’s in your blood, you stay in banking. I enjoy teaching employees new things and having them change their job roles.”

Patty Tewes is the President/CEO & COO of First and Farmers Merchants Bank in Austin. Rocky Hulne/sports@austindailyherald.com

Tewes likes the versatility in her position as no two days are ever the same. She also enjoys working in a smaller bank that is connected to the community. FFM lies near the heart of downtown Austin as it is right next to the Government Center and just a few blocks away from Austin High School.

Tewes’ office gives her a view of downtown and she always has her mind on the people who are near her.

“I love making decisions locally and we can structure things to help our community locally,” Tewes said. “We’re getting together and seeing how we can help the community. It’s one of the largest joys of working in a community bank.”

Tewes has been at FFM for just over six years. She graduated from Valparaiso University in 1987 before learning the ropes as a teller in Chicago.

“I wanted to learn everything from the ground up. I wanted to learn it all from ground zero,” Tewes said.

After going through an 18-month management training course in Chicago, Tewes ended up in Albert Lea, living in the area the last 33 years.

Away from work, Tewes is involved in education.

“Education is a personal passion of mine,” Tewes said. “I support a lot of things in the community that are education related.”

The advantage of working with a smaller staff is that everyone is closer – in proximity and camaraderie. Tewes is able to meet personally with her employees on a day to day basis and everyone is able to stay on the same page.

“First Farmers and Merchants is a fantastic community bank,” Tewes said. “The people who have worked here a long time care deeply about the community. We don’t look at it as a job and we don’t come here because we have to. We come to work because we want to and we like what we do every day.”