Pub 8 2020 Issue 4

Featured Associate Member

Featured Associate Member: Bell Bank

Headquartered in Fargo, North Dakota, Bell Bank is one of the largest independently owned banks in the nation, with assets of more than $8 billion. When Bell Bank opened its doors in 1966 with a single location in a north Fargo shopping center, our founders couldn’t have dreamed of the growth the company would have. For decades, having happy employees and happy customers has been at the heart of the organization. Our values — being a family, treating our customers well and making our community a better place — are at the core of all we do.

Richard Solberg joined Bell Bank as its president in 1982 and continues as the company’s chairman. In partnership with the Snortland family as a major shareholder with his son, Michael, he has helped guide the bank through tremendous growth while maintaining a people-focused culture among our more than 1,300 employees. Michael Solberg has served as Bell’s president since 2009 and was named CEO in 2015. He was the driving force behind creating the bank’s Pay It Forward program, which has empowered employees and others to give millions to those in need. Our continued growth means more opportunities for our employees and our customers and even greater community impact through volunteering and paying it forward. Bell’s ownership remains solidly committed to growing as an independently owned bank for years to come.

As a privately held company, owned by several majority stockholders, about 140 additional stockholders and Bell employees through an employee stock ownership plan (ESOP), we don’t have the pressure of next quarter’s earnings. Instead, we focus on a healthy balance of profitability, growth and nurturing relationships.

Unlike a typical correspondent bank, Bell’s focus is working as your partner. We have larger hold limits, so we won’t resell your loan participation with us. We also have a team dedicated to correspondent banking and credit to provide flexible underwriting, competitive lending terms and prices, fast decision-making and consistent communication.

Having partnered with more than 300 other independent community banks across 16 states, we’ll help you enhance your customer relationships through our experience-based expertise in participation loans, bank stock and ownership loans and equipment financing.

In providing these services, we become your behind-the-scenes partner, helping you work in a larger relationship without threatening your relationship with your customer. Call Craig McCandless at 406-850-3790 to learn how.

The Montana Independent Bankers Association

This story appears in Issue 4 2020 of the Community Banker Magazine.