Customer Stories

Forward Bank

This central Wisconsin-based community bank serves 13 communities with a customer-focused approach.

Forward Bank


Industry: Finance

Headquarters: Marshfield, Wisconsin

Board Management Goals

  • Increase efficiency
  • Provide user-friendly portal for seasoned board members 
  • Provide a more efficient way to retrieve, review and update documents


  • Improved efficiency by 40 to 50%
  • Improved overall process thanks to implementation and innovations
  • 100% adoption rate among board members

The Challenges of Paper-Based Meetings

Forward Bank serves for its central Wisconsin customers as somewhat of a relic in modern times — a community bank that lives up to its name in every possible sense.

The Marshfield-based bank has 15 locations. In addition to all of its community and charitable endeavors, it provides all the services bank customers expect, from personal banking and mortgages to business and investment services. “We respond to the needs of the community, said John Marshall, Forward board member. “That focus makes it so much fun to keep looking for that next expansion and keep thinking of ways that we can continue to do what we do so well.”

John is one of nine board members. They meet monthly, and the audit committee, of which John is also a member, also meets once every two months. The full board approves some loans, reviews wages, and performs other governance duties.

Like lots of other bank boards, John and his fellow board members used to receive thick paper packets to review before meetings. It was inefficient for the board members, and for Sandy Klatt, who serves as the bank’s corporate secretary and executive administrator.

“We wanted to make sure our board meetings didn’t suffer due to an inability to retrieve documents and review them on a timely basis,” Sandy says. “Also, from an admin standpoint, I wanted something that was going to give directors up-to-date information rather than waiting for an email. Email is not ideal, especially in an environment where data can be easily compromised.”

Easy Implementation Helps Smooth the Transition

When it was time to shop for a new solution, Sandy knew what she wanted — and just as importantly, what her board members wanted. “We wanted something that was end-user friendly, as many of our directors at the time we made the switch, were older,” she says.

From there, OnBoard’s implementation process paved the way. “The implementation allowed me to devote more time to other tasks, saving me countless hours,” Sandy says. “It took me days to put a packet together in a binder. With the ability of being electronic, once I have a report, I upload [into the portal] right away. If the packet is already out, and another document needs to be added or updated, I can make those changes instantly, giving directors real-time data.”

Sandy isn’t the only one who experiences efficiency bumps. Board members notice it, too. “I can put it on my iPad and read in 15- or 20-minute increments if I want,” John says. “The security [the portal] provides is invaluable. There’s just no way to put a number on that. It really does cover what we need to have and be efficient in what we do.”

“The security [the portal] provides is invaluable. There’s just no way to put a number on that. It really does cover what we need to have and be efficient in what we do.”

John Marshall

— John Marshall
Board of Directors Member
Forward Bank

Minimal Transition Challenges, Big Time Savings

The biggest hurdle, Sandy says, was switching from a paper-based model to an electronic one. “Change is hard, but our board was able to adapt quickly,” she says. “Another ‘ah-ha’ moment was the ability to decrease the time we spent on consent items. Before, in a printed world, each user would have to page through to find their notes on a report. Now, all that is found in annotations. We saved 15 to 20 minutes on this alone. We now use that time for more strategic planning discussions.”

John agreed the time savings enables directors to devote more time to governance and less time to outdated processes. “We all know that time is everything, and we’re able to spend more time talking about those situations,” he said. “That provides us the time to talk about the things we want to talk about instead of the mundaneness of what document this is, and who approved that, and where did that come from. As a former auditor, I recognize the value in that.”

Sandy also noted the platform security OnBoard provides. “Our IT department is happier that we can remove data remotely in case a device is compromised,” she says. “We liked the encryption process so we know that our data is safe.”

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