Bill Marshall

Bill Marshall, president of Five Points Bank, is The Grand Island Independent's 2013 Man of the Year. (Independent/Matt Dixon)

Advice given to Bill Marshall by his father, William Marshall Jr., has paid great dividends over the years for him.

The advice was simple: “You pay a little rent for the space you take.”

“He (his father) was always very community oriented,” Bill Marshall said. “He was always involved in the community even back when we lived in Niobrara, and he became very involved in the community when we came down here (to Grand Island).”

Because of his leadership in the community as chairman of Five Points Bank and as a community organizer and philanthropist, Marshall has been named 2013 Man of the Year by The Grand Island Independent. Marshall’s father, William, received the honor in 1989.

Independent Publisher Don Smith said, “Marshall represents many of the qualities that exemplify the spirit of the Man of the Year honor.”

“Bill and his father, Bill Marshall Jr., launched Five Points Bank more than 40 years ago and grew it into one of the best small-market banks in the country,” Smith said. “He has enjoyed similar success in the hotel business.”

Smith said the “passion, integrity and commitment that marked Bill’s success in business and in life have also been devoted to help Grand Island grow as a community.”

“Through his generosity, leadership and involvement in many civic organizations, fund drives and capital campaigns, Bill and his family have truly made Grand Island a better place to live,” Smith said. “Bill Marshall is one of Grand Island’s most ardent boosters. The Independent’s editorial board is proud to name Bill Marshall 2013 Man of the Year.”

Five Points Bank celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2011. A group of Grand Islanders, including Marshall’s father, had seen the need for a new bank in the Five Points area. The new bank received its charter in 1970 and opened in September 1971.

Following in his father’s footsteps

During the early development of Five Points Bank, Marshall was practicing law in Omaha.

“I came out to Grand Island in June of 1971,” he said. “My dad was chairman of the original Five Points charter application. He kept trying to persuade me to come out here. Eventually, he convinced me to come out here and be involved in starting the bank.”

Under Marshall’s leadership, Five Points Bank has grown to include not only its main branch at 2015 N. Broadwell Ave., but also three other locations in Grand Island and branches in Omaha, Papillion-La Vista, Sumner and Kearney. Five Points Bank also has three locations in Hastings.

In 2012, SNL Financial rated Five Points Bank 15th out the nation’s 750 best-performing banks in the category of banks with assets between $500 million and $5 billion.

Marshall served as president of the Nebraska Bankers Association in 1993.

Nebraska State Fair support

In 2012, Five Points Bank also entered into a 10-year agreement to secure naming rights of the Nebraska State Fair livestock arena.

“Five Points Bank has committed $75,000 per year for a total of $750,000 through the year 2021,” said Joseph McDermott, State Fair executive director. “The sponsorship will also include an endowment for Fonner Park to use in the upkeep of the Five Points Bank Arena throughout the year.”

At the time of the announcement, Marshall said, “I’m very pleased for our bank to make this investment in the Five Points Bank Arena for the Nebraska State Fair and Fonner Park. I feel that both have contributed a great deal to our community in terms of economic benefit and quality of life. This is also good business — the people who come to the State Fair, cattle shows, Danger football or concerts are either customers of our bank or people that we would like to have as customers for our bank. It’s a great investment, particularly for our community.”

The Five Points Bank Arena is used during the fair for 4-H, FFA and open class livestock exhibitors and throughout the year for a number of shows.

Gov. Dave Heineman appointed Marshall to the Nebraska State Fair board in 2009 to represent the interests of Grand Island and Central Nebraska.

McDermott said Marshall has played an “integral role as part of the Nebraska State Fair board of directors.”

“As a member of the finance committee, Bill’s financial background has proven essential to the process as the Nebraska State Fair continues to grow,” McDermott said. “Bill has taken a leadership role in guiding our board through the financial process of many projects like the new Nebraska Building, set to open for the 2014 Nebraska State Fair.”

McDermott said Five Points Bank was the State Fair’s first naming rights sponsor with the arena.

“This goes directly to an exemplary commitment to the community that has been a hallmark of Five Points Bank for years,” McDermott said. “We have been very fortunate to have someone of Bill’s caliber to join the rest of our board to make the Nebraska State Fair the very best it can be.”

Diverse business experience

Marshall said running Five Points Bank for more than 40 years has been a “learning experience.”

“The thing that you realize over the years is that, the more stuff that you do, the more you learn,” Marshall said. “Over the years, we have been involved in farming, in hotels and we have been involved in banking. You get to look at a lot of different businesses. Also, by financing people, you get to look at businesses and figure out what makes them tick and why some succeed and some fail.”

Grand Island’s Holiday Inn Express, an 80-room motel with 20 suites at 3404 W. Faidley Ave., is owned by Highway Motels of Nebraska, whose owners include Bill and Sherry Marshall. The Holiday Inn Express opened in 2010.

Highway Motels of Nebraska also owns the Holiday Inn on South Locust Street and the Days Inn and the Quality Inn and Conference Center at the junction of Highway 281 and Interstate 80.

The building of the Holiday Inn Express and other motels in recent years came as a result of Grand Island becoming the home of the State Fair, the continued growth of Husker Harvest Days and Grand Island’s growth as a regional medical center.

A key principle learned by Marshall as a banker is that, if the community doesn’t prosper, then you don’t prosper as a business.

Five Points Bank, under Marshall’s leadership, was involved in raising money for the Heartland Events Center and other efforts.

“It (Heartland Events Center) has turned into a great deal,” Marshall said. “That helped with the fair choosing the location that they chose. We (Five Points Bank) also helped raise money, as part of the city’s obligation to raise money, to bring the fair here. We were also involved with College Park when it started. Those are all things that I think have added a great deal of quality to our city.”

Earlier this year, the Grand Island Area Economic Development Corp. presented Marshall with its 2013 Progress for Grand Island Award for his many contributions to the growth of Grand Island.

Economic development corporation President Randy Gard said he has known Marshall and his family personally and professionally for many years.

“Personally, anytime you see Bill, he always has time for you, is interested in you as a person and how your family is doing,” Gard said. “Professionally, Bill has been one of Grand Island’s true visionary leaders. Bill and Five Points Bank have always strived to create a ‘pro-business’ and ‘pro-growth’ environment and backed up those commitments with supplying capital for family housing, small business startups and large expansion projects.”

In receiving The Independent’s Man of the Year honors, Marshall said, it’s “nice being recognized for contributing to the community and for business success.”

“I am not dumb enough to believe that was all of my doing,” Marshall said. “I have had wonderful people who have worked for the bank. I had loyal customers at the bank. I have had a wonderful family that has backed me. I had great parents who taught me well. But there was a certain amount of luck involved, too.”

Because of the success of Five Points Bank over its more than 40 years, Marshall said, “It is nice to have a business that has achieved some level of success. The thing that has really contributed to the success of the bank is that the community has really prospered and grown.”

“I like banking,” he said. “I like looking at deals and figuring out whether they are going to work or not. I like dealing with people. So I like what I do. Even though I am almost 70, I haven’t fired myself yet.”

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I cover business, ag and general reporting for the GI Independent.

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