When Brian Robinson began as a State Farm Insurance agent, he spent most of his time helping Chicago-area policyholders whose homes had burned to get reimbursements and temporary housing.

After seven years as a fire claims representative, he decided to open his own State Farm agency in Normal, Ill., a suburb of Bloomington, and learned how to offer auto, homeowners, and other insurance lines. Little did he know when he set up shop four years ago that one day he would be selling products that are not insurance-related at all — loans and deposit accounts.

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