Former Dubuque banking executives starting new bank, to be headquartered in Dubuque

A new financial institution led by former area banking officials is expected to open soon in Dubuque, where its headquarters also will be located.

Tut Fuller will serve as CEO and chairman of Capra Bank, which will be located at the corner of East Ninth and Washington streets in the former Dubuque Food Co-Op space. The new, full-service branch location comes after Tut Fuller and Thomas J. Fuller — Tut Fuller’s brother, who will serve on Capra Bank’s board — acquired a bank in Montezuma, Iowa, last year.

“We’ve been working for months to make a bank that we think the community needs and deserves,” Tut Fuller said. “And when we say ‘community,’ that’s the employees, that’s the customers and clients, and that’s the community itself. … Our strategy is about one branch filled with really great bankers — really great community bankers — being really good on technology and having very strategically placed, intelligent ATMs.”

The application for the new Dubuque bank branch was submitted to the Iowa Division of Banking and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. on Friday. The timing of the opening of the branch cannot be determined until the application is approved, but crews are working on transitioning the bank’s future home into an office and branch location.

Tut Fuller left HTLF last year after having served as Region 1 president of the company since July 2021. He previously served as Dubuque Bank & Trust’s president and CEO since 2017. HTLF is the holding company for Dubuque Bank & Trust.

Fuller stressed that Capra Bank’s focus on reinvesting in and supporting the Dubuque community will make the new bank stand out in the local financial services industry.

“Nobody in Dubuque or elsewhere should like the idea of having their deposits go into a bank or credit union and having that money deployed somewhere they don’t live and they don’t call home,” Fuller said. “(The Fuller family has) been here for four generations, and we’re invested in this community. We love this community. We call this community home. We have, and we will.”

Also part of Capra Bank is Dan Walsh, who will serve as the bank’s senior vice president-commercial banking. Walsh has spent 19 years working in community banking, including 16 years at American Trust & Savings Bank prior to its acquisition by MidWestOne Financial Group.

Walsh said his experience at American Trust, which was a family-owned bank, showed him the importance of a bank working to do something good for the community.

“That’s what’s most important to me,” he said. “This is where I raise my kids. This is where Tut raises his kids, and I want to be able to have my kids at some point, if they want to, say, ‘Dubuque is a place I want to raise my family.’ And I think the investment that we’re trying to make today will start paving the way for that future to have that strong community bank presence.”

Fuller and Walsh also said they are focused on giving customers and employees great technology to use, including on desktop and mobile devices. Fuller said the bank will be able to offer technological services that fit well in 2023.

“We have the opportunity to be a very nimble organization so that when we come to Dubuque, we’ll have technology that rivals any regional or national bank,” he said. “And consumers, when they download our app or go to our website and start interacting with us, we believe they will instantly see that.”

With the technology, physical location and ATMs, people will be able to access banking services at times convenient to them, Fuller said.

“This is about bringing the bank to the people, not making the people come to the bank,” he said.

In terms of bank staffing, Walsh said they will look for the right team to meet the community’s needs instead of focusing on a number of people to employ.

“With the culture that we’re going to build, the technology and platform that we’re going to build, the focus on our community, we’re hopeful that talent is going to say, ‘We want to partner with you on some of these things,’” he said.

In addition, the Montezuma bank acquired by the Fullers will be known as Capra Bank on Monday, Feb. 20. That branch previously was operating under the name Peoples Savings Bank.

“We’re not shutting it,” Fuller said of the Montezuma location. “It’s staying there, and we’re actually investing in it and its employees.”