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Donna Thomas to Retire from Cresco Bank & Trust; Andy Ludeking Named Market President, Erin Ludwig as Vice President

Posted in: Community News

Donna Thomas to Retire from Cresco Bank & Trust; Andy Ludeking Named Market President, Erin Ludwig as Vice President

After what will be a 45-year career in banking, Donna Thomas has announced her plans to retire in early 2026. Donna's career journey began in 1981 as a Proof Operator in the bookkeeping department at Cresco National Bank. Over the years, she navigated various transitions, ultimately becoming President of Boatmen’s Bank in 1995, which later became Fortress Bank of Cresco and now Cresco Bank & Trust.

In 2007, anticipating the sale of Fortress Bank to a large holding company, Donna proactively sought a partnership with the Grimstad family in neighboring Decorah. "I respected the Grimstad family and their model for community banking," says Donna. This initiative led to the acquisition of Fortress Bank by Decorah Bank & Trust, and it now operates as Cresco Bank & Trust, a division of Decorah Bank & Trust.

"The bank has grown nicely over the years under Donna’s leadership. Donna’s commitment to banking, our customers and the Cresco community have been tremendous. She has graciously given us good lead time to ensure a smooth transition," stated CEO Ben Grimstad. Donna will continue to serve on the bank’s Board of Directors even after her retirement.

Reflecting on her career, Donna expressed, "It has been an amazing journey that I would do all over again. I've witnessed many changes in my time and it has been a very rewarding career. Whether it's helping with community projects or assisting customers in growing their businesses and transitioning to the next generation, it has been fun to play a role in it all."

Starting in 2026, Andy Ludeking, currently the Chief Lending Officer, will take on the additional role of Cresco Market President while continuing his lending duties. With 20 years of banking experience, Andy has been with Cresco Bank & Trust for 12 years and is deeply involved in the Cresco community. His community involvement includes serving on the boards of the Howard/Winneshiek Community School, Howard County Mutual Insurance, Cresco Industrial Development Corporation (CIDC) and Howard County Business & Tourism (HCBT). Additionally, Andy chairs the Cadet Capital Campaign.

Erin Ludwig, Ag & Business Banker, will support Andy as Cresco Market Vice President, overseeing daily operations. Erin brings 13 years of banking experience to her role. Throughout Erin’s career, she has volunteered and served in leadership roles including the Howard County Childcare Coalition, Elma Community Complex Committee Chair, Elma Area Community Foundation Chair, The BRIDGE Organization and Saratoga 4-H Club Leader.


Andy Ludeking                   Erin Ludwig

Andy Ludeking, Chief Lending Officer, EVP and Erin Ludwig, Ag & Business Banker, AVP