Associated Bank is the Twin Cities' seventh-largest bank by metro-area deposits and is looking to get bigger. The bank is headquartered in Green Bay, Wis., and also does business in the Chicago area and much of Wisconsin — yet sees the Twin Cities as having the best potential for growth.

Paul Schmidt, head of commercial real estate and executive vice president, is the highest-ranking bank employee located in the Twin Cities. Like many banks, Associated is pouring money into technology, looking for acquisitions to make and trying to gain marketshare in the Twin Cities as large banks move into the area.

Schmidt recently talked to the Business Journal about growth plans, the local banking scene and why he sees the Twin Cities as the bank's best potential for growth. The conversation has been edited for length and clarity.

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