December 6, 2023


Business Banking

From Fees to Freedom: REO Plastics’ Success Story with Deerwood Bank

From Fees to Freedom: REO Plastics’ Success Story with Deerwood Bank

Founded in 1960, REO Plastics provides contract plastic injection molding services to a worldwide customer base from their Maple Grove, Minnesota headquarters. Though REO Plastics is publicly traded, they maintain a family-oriented work environment and pride themselves on exceptional quality and personal service.

Dan Dammen is the Executive VP and Chief Financial Officer at REO, managing all aspects of the company’s finances.

When COVID hit in 2020, Dan called the bank that REO had been banking with and tried to apply for a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan.

“We weren’t sure how COVID was going to impact our business, and we wanted to be protected,” Dan says. “The problem was that our main contact at the big national bank had changed so many times over the years that we didn’t have a point person who cared about, or knew about, our business. So, when we called for PPP assistance like so many others, we never heard back. It was a very stressful time early in the pandemic because we didn’t know what was going to happen.”

So, Dan called Joe Bauer, a Business Banker at Deerwood Bank, whom he had known from a previous working relationship. The same day that Dan called, Joe helped him understand and apply for PPP funding.

“He walked me through it and helped us secure funds that would assist us through the uncertainty of those first months of COVID,” Dan says. “They were there when we needed them.”

“Deerwood saves us over $1,000 a month in fees.”

After experiencing the personal service and responsiveness of Deerwood’s team during the PPP process, Dan decided to explore other banking options with Deerwood Bank.

Together, Joe and Dan did an account analysis, comparing their accounts at the big bank and discussing how Deerwood may be able to help.

Ultimately, they found that Deerwood’s nice and simple, fee-free approach could save them over $15,000 per year.

“The big bank we were using at the time was charging us an incredible amount of fees. From per-check processing fees to incoming ACH and other account fees. What we’ve found is that Deerwood is a very fee-free bank; they don’t nickel and dime us, and they don’t use fees as a significant source of revenue for the bank,” Dan says. “Once we found that out, it was kind of a no-brainer to switch.”

“They gave us the attention and connection that we never got at the big banks.”

In the Summer of 2021, REO began pursuing a 42,000-square-foot warehouse expansion to meet their growing needs and position themselves for long-term growth. Deerwood Bank worked hand-in-hand with Dan and REO’s leadership team to present financing options. And, when REO got down the road with one financing option and decided they wanted to switch paths, Deerwood was able to pivot with them and help advise them on the journey.

“The level of interest Deerwood Bank showed in our business was something we hadn’t experienced with our previous bank,” Dan says. “Joe and his team put in extra time, came to our job site, even met with us on a holiday when our timing was tight.”

REO’s whole team has been impressed with Deerwood Bank’s level of personal service, breadth of product offerings, and ability to provide financing options that compete with, and beat, much of the industry.

“I’ve worked with a lot of financial institutions over the years, and Deerwood Bank is different. Their approach is contrary to typical banking, and we appreciate that,” Dan says.

Joe Bauer close up

Joe Bauer

Office: 651.643.8494

Joe Bauer is the Metro Market President for Deerwood Bank. He is based in Mendota Heights and has been with Deerwood since 2007. Joe graduated from St. Cloud State University with a bachelor’s degree in Economics. He then went on to obtain his MBA in Finance and Strategic Management from the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota. Joe is actively involved in the sports that his children participate in. In his spare time, Joe enjoys working out and taking walks with his wife, Jeannie, and their dog, Rex.

Back toTop