Business Q & A

Five questions with Bruce Schwyhart, president and CEO, CornerBank in Winfield

Bruce Schwyhart was rising up the ranks in the Farm Credit system when an opportunity arose to become a community banker.

Schwyhart, 58, was president of Farm Credit in Wichita when he was chosen more than 10 years ago to become president and CEO of CornerBank in Winfield.

While at Farm Credit, the Emporia State University graduate was posted to a number of different towns including Woodward, Okla., and Marysville, Kan.

But the opportunity to work in the town where he lived — he commuted daily from Winfield to Wichita in his last posting at Farm Credit — was enough to sway Schwyhart to leave a Farm Credit career that spanned more than two decades, he said.

Winfield is familiar territory to Schwyhart, who has three children and a grandchild. He grew up on a farm between Winfield and Oxford.

Since joining CornerBank, Schwyhart has overseen a bank that has grown to $235æmillion in assets and branches in seven Kansas cities, including Wichita.

In April, Schwyhart was awarded Southwestern College’s Business Builder Award for his volunteerism and for his work in economic development in Cowley County.

1. What’s the bank’s biggest challenge right now?

“I would say it’s the adaptation to some continuing changing rules of the road for community banks.”

2. How do you see the Wichita market shaping up for the bank in the next few years?

“It’s really been able to stay away from the swings in market values and the decline in market values on real estate. I see the Wichita market still being a strong market for CornerBank and others in the near future. We do see some improvement in the industries that make up your economy in Wichita.”

3. What does community banking offer you that working in the Farm Credit system didn’t?

“Quite frankly, I’m all about the importance of volunteering and participating in a community to help develop a community. This was a great opportunity for me to do that.”

4. What about the banking business continues to keep you engaged?

“Obviously the opportunity to work with entrepreneurs and strong businesses that have been in the area for a long time and continue to adapt. We are seeing some businesses that are growing right now and taking advantage of the changes in health care and construction.”

5. What does receiving the Business Builder Award mean to you?

“To me it’s a recognition of the ongoing partnership between a small four-year college and also the business community. I do appreciate that recognition of what we’re trying to do together.”