The American Bankers Association has announced the recipient of its Bruning Award, the association’s first prize for significant contributions to the agricultural banking industry. ABA will honor Joseph F. Kessie, senior vice president and regional business manager of Lake City Bank in Indiana, with the Bruning Award at the Agricultural Bankers Conference, November 14-17 at the Duke Energy Convention Center in Cincinnati.
Joseph F. “Joe” Kessie is this year’s recipient of the Bruning Award for his leadership and exemplary service as an advocate and mentor to farmers, agribusinesses and small communities across rural America.
Since 1997, the Bruning Prize, named after its first recipient, Nebraska Banker Frank Bruning, has recognized bankers who demonstrate exceptional leadership and dedicated service in providing credit and advice to farmers, ranchers. and their fellow agricultural bankers.
“I am truly honored to be named the recipient of the ABA Bruning Prize this year. My goal as a banker has always been to be a trusted advisor to all of my clients, ”said Kessie. “I am very fortunate to work at one of the best performing banks in the country and I take this award as a testament to what the whole team does every day at Lake City Bank.”
Raised on a small cattle and grain farm in northern Indiana, Kessie valued the quality of life and the values his parents passed on to him. Kessie said her passion for pursuing a career in agriculture came from her professional high school agriculture teacher, Bill McVay, who led Kessie and two of her classmates to win the National Business Management competition. FFA farming business in 1978. Kessie’s career began in 1983 at the height of the agricultural crisis. After graduating from Purdue University, Kessie worked as an agricultural lender for the Albion Production Credit Association and the National Bank of Warsaw before joining Lake City Bank as vice president of commercial banking in 1997. During his 24 years at Lake City Bank, Kessie led the bank’s entire agri-food loan portfolio and led the institution to become one of Indiana’s largest agricultural lenders.
Kessie is a leader both in the industry and in her community. He currently sits on the Board of Directors of the Farm Financial Standards Council and previously served as the 2017-18 Chair of the ABA Agricultural and Rural Bankers Committee. Some of Kessie’s additional leadership roles include President and Treasurer of the Whitley County Economic Development Corporation, Director of Parkview Whitley Hospital, Director of Indiana Grain Indemnity Corporation, and Director of the Whitley County Community Foundation.
Kessie is a founding member of the committee and current chair of the Huntington University Agricultural Studies Advisory Board. Launched in 2015, the Agricultural Studies Program offers five areas of specialization, including agricultural education. Kessie hopes the program will be part of the solution to the shortage of professional agricultural teachers, developing future mentors like the one who inspired him to pursue agribusiness.
Kessie holds a BS in Agricultural Finance from Purdue University, an MBA from Indiana Wesleyan University, and is a graduate of the Colorado Graduate School of Banking. He currently resides in Indiana with his 37-year-old wife, Darci. They have two children, Kaitlin and Taylor, and four grandchildren.