Welcome to Tri City National Bank
For more than 55 years, Tri City has been a bank focused on the needs of its customers and communities. Put simply, we succeed when you do. That’s why we are dedicated to helping families fulfill their financial dreams and businesses grow. After all, we are Your Hometown Bank.
Dave Ulrich is declined for a small business loan. It becomes his mission to start a bank that cares about all customers.
After working hard for eight years to raise capital, Dave Ulrich establishes Tri City National Bank at the intersection of 27th and College Avenue in Oak Creek.
Tri City opens its second bank branch, located at 30th & Ryan Road in Franklin. The branch would eventually move three blocks east into Oak Creek at 27th and Ryan Road.
1978: Tri City opens its fifth branch, now serving Oak Creek, Franklin, Hales Corners, West Allis and Brown Deer.
The bank installed its first TYME Machine, an acronym for Take Your Money Everywhere. We now know them as ATMs.
1983: The bank exceeds $100 million in assets for the first time.
1989: With a dedication to give back to its community, Tri City begins an annual partnership with the Milwaukee County Zoo that will last more than 30 years.
1989: The 10th Tri City location, on Capitol Drive in Brookfield, opens.
A devout philanthropist, Dave Ulrich pledges $250,000 to the building of a community center in Oak Creek.
Tri City opens 10 in-store banks, doubling its branch network and becoming the first in the state of Wisconsin to have banks inside grocery stores.
1998: Tri City ends the year with more than $500 million in assets.
1998: Tri City founder David Ulrich passes away, leaving a legacy of a community bank that defines success by the success of its customers.
Tri City opens its Sturtevant branch, its first location in the Racine area.
2009: Tri City acquires the Bank of Elmwood in Racine, adding additional locations in Racine and Kenosha counties.
2009: The bank tops $1 billion in assets across its branch network of more than 30 locations.
2013: Tri City celebrates 50 years as Your Hometown Bank.
2018: The newest branch of Tri City opens in Waukesha.
2020: The bank is named among the community's Best Places to Work by the Milwaukee Business Journal.
Our Dreamer: Founder Dave Ulrich
the ideal that every US citizen should have an equal opportunity to achieve success and prosperity through hard work, determination and initiative.
“I realized early on that if Dave Ulrich was ever going to get anything out of life, I had to do it myself.”
In 1952, at age 24, Dave started on the corner of 27th and College Avenue in Oak Creek with nothing but a dream. “I moved out here with absolutely nothing. There was a time when I tried to borrow $1,200 and couldn’t do it. But I had an opportunity and I felt the need to do something. If you’ve got a dream and you haven’t got the funds, then you have to work in whatever way necessary to make that dream come true. It’s as simple as that.”
The opportunity he spoke of was to purchase a large amount of vacant land from his father on a land contract. His idea was to start a mobile home court in spite of the fact that the city opposed it. He felt there was an opportunity for the business to meet the pent-up demand after World War II for the parents of what would become the Baby Boomer generation, and fought the court on the issue. “After a lengthy battle, we finally prevailed. I was then issued a license to start the trailer court.”
At this time in his life, Dave was working by night, six days a week at the Falk Corporation, attending Marquette University Business School and married with two small children. By day he built Hy-View Mobile Home Court with his fellow Falk co-worker, lifelong business partner and friend William Gravitter. “Bill and I got together and built the mobile home court from absolutely nothing. For the first couple of years, anything we did, we did by hand. We dug over a mile of ditches with a shovel because we couldn’t afford to hire any power equipment.”
In 1956, after four years working double shifts, the two felt they were making enough from their own business to put food on the table and they left Falk. “Bill and I made some sacrifices that I don’t think many people today would make. And I don’t think I’d want to make them again. But I knew I was going to work hard. I felt if I was going to put out 100%, then I want to be the one who’s calling the shots. I wasn’t going to accept less than what I felt I was capable of. I had the confidence – maybe stupid confidence – that I would be successful and I was going to do it.”
Dave’s attitude led to the decision in 1959 to use the income from the trailer court to open a food store on the remaining vacant piece of the parcel. “We felt without question there was going to be substantial commercial development along South 27th Street. We could see it creeping along.” The two built Tri City Foods, on their own, hauling block, putting in the electrical units, pouring the concrete floors, hiring independent masons. Tri City Foods at the time was the largest independent single food store in the Milwaukee area, both in sales volume and square footage.
In 1963, the pair decided to start a bank, Tri City State Bank, to further extend the commercial success of the corner. With a mobile home park, Tri City Foods and Tri City State Bank, Dave’s dreams of success were becoming a reality. As his empire grew and more locations were built, typically food stores and banks on the same parcel, with the construction being done by his real estate development and holding company, NDC LLC, he never forgot his humble roots and conservative business sense. “We never tried to grow too fast and our philosophy is determining where a location will be in 20 years.” His three main companies, which he was President or CEO at each, worked in unison. “We could put a building up in two weeks. If we can do it successfully by ourselves, we’re going to do it.” And in 1989, Dave was one of the first in the nation to put banks inside grocery stores with seven-day-a-week banking convenience that appealed to the market. “We listen to our customers and give them what they want.”
Dave gave most of the credit to his employees for the success of his businesses. “You’ve got to put your faith and trust in other people. You must pick carefully, be a good judge of character. You need their help because your own hands can only reach so far. The people that come with us ordinarily stay permanently – very, very few employees leave us to go somewhere else. As a matter of fact, we’ve had many instances where employees have left us to go somewhere else and have decided to come back.” With the ever-expanding loyal group behind Dave, as the years continued until his death in 1998, his grocery stores expanded to 17 Mega Mart Pick ‘N Saves, 33 Tri City National Banks, and a commercial real estate company, NDC LLC, which owns and operates over 1 million square feet of space. Dave’s empire was built on “no nonsense operations. Everyone pulls together and works hard.”
Dave is the American Dream. He was a self-made man who used hard work, determination and initiative to build business on top of business. He’s an inspiration to us all and hope he will be to those who read this. The biggest satisfaction he got was from the success of business and working hard to give others a helping hand. “I have a tremendous investment in my operations. I spent my life to build them and I certainly don’t want to see anything go wrong. I’m not hired help. If I screw up on the job, it comes out of not only my pocket but our team’s and I don’t intend that to happen.”
“You cannot be associated with Dave and not have the greatest respect for his attitude towards life. He wouldn’t take advantage of anybody if he had an opportunity. We did everything by the book, no gray areas in business dealings or paying taxes. We have close to 3,000 employees and he’s always been more than fair.” - Bill Gravitter, 1990.
We’re proud to share our refreshed logo and brand, that was updated in 2018. It pays homage to our past, with the inward and outward arrows representing the flow of money through the bank. The inward facing arrows represent deposits from our customers – checking, savings and investment deposits. These make the outward arrows possible, which represent money flowing out of the bank in the form of loans – business loans, mortgage loans and consumers loans, as well as donations we make to the communities we serve.
Taken as a whole, the logo represents Tri City National Bank’s commitment to its hometown communities, lending money for business growth and consumer dreams, and helping customers reach their financial goals. The new colors symbolize our bright future after 55 years as Your Hometown Bank.