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Nicolet’s vice president of commercial banking earns Elite Lender designation

Eric DeJardine joins small group of bankers in the state who have received the 2024 WBD recognition

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April 2, 2024

NORTHEAST WISCONSIN — Driving around his community in Door County and Greater Green Bay, Eric DeJardine said he is struck by a sense of pride for how he has impacted and supported local businesses.

DeJardine, vice president of commercial banking at Nicolet National Bank, has spent the past nearly 19 years serving Northeast Wisconsin’s business community.

He recently earned the Wisconsin Business Development (WBD) Elite Lender designation — the culmination of having done 10 or more projects with WBD since 2009.

The relationship with WBD, DeJardine said, allows him to offer small businesses that meet criteria access to long-term, affordable-rate, fixed financing through the Small Business Association’s 504 program.

And that, he said, has been to the betterment of those small businesses, as well as the community at large.

DeJardine said his efforts have impacted small businesses throughout Northeast Wisconsin to the tune of more than $8 million in total project financing, which has helped them retain or create nearly 170 jobs.

He said he appreciates having access to WBD as part of his toolbox of options for small businesses.

A homecoming
For the past five years, DeJardine said his efforts have been focused on Door County — where he grew up.

The Sturgeon Bay native said he and his wife, an Egg Harbor native, always wanted to return to their roots.

In early 2019, DeJardine said he was able to exchange his role as vice president of commercial development in Green Bay for the same role in Door County out of the Nicolet National Bank office in Sister Bay.

Simultaneously, he said it allowed him and his wife to establish roots for their growing family in Egg Harbor.

“I’m grateful the same role I held in Green Bay opened up in Sister Bay, and I was able to make that move within Nicolet Bank,” he said.

A collaborative effort
DeJardine said he’s also appreciative that, in both his work in Greater Green Bay and Door County, he’s been able to impact businesses through a variety of products and services — including WBD’s offerings for those who qualify.

He said working with WBD has been a positive experience — and appreciates the great working relationship he’s had with the WBD team that packages, fosters and maintains the loans once they’re booked.

“They’re good at what they do, they’re easy to work with and they provide value to the customer and the bank jointly,” he said. “Having that lending solution on the table for certain opportunities is a big asset for the customer and the bank.”

DeJardine said the customers with whom he has worked with run the gamut.

He said he’s been able to tap WBD’s offerings for an assortment of mom-and-pop businesses, as well as hotels, assisted living facilities, restaurants, manufacturers and more.

DeJardine said he sees each of them as the entrepreneurs and community contributors they are.

“The companies we’re working with in this program are our friends, neighbors and community members,” he said. “And in Door County, that includes a lot of tourism-based businesses in the full spectrum of clients eligible for this program.”

Whether it’s financing a real estate purchase, a business expansion or a big piece of equipment, DeJardine said he is a partner to business.

“Flexible solutions from a financing standpoint are critical as part of the relationship,” he said.

That’s perhaps more crucial than ever, DeJardine said, in today’s current economic climate.

DeJardine said he finds Northeast Wisconsin to be rich in entrepreneurialism, stretching from his experience in Greater Green Bay up into Door County and appreciates its role in the area’s economic development.

“Door County is entrepreneurial in its own right — more so in some regards, because there’s so much opportunity for smaller businesses with the tourism here,” he said. “I’m proud to help clients achieve a vision or a dream. There’s a feel-good factor to doing that.”

DeJardine said he takes the bank’s focus on relationship-focused banking seriously.

“I’m here to promote what (businesses) are doing as well as to help grow their businesses,” he said. “That’s what matters.”

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