BISMARCK, ND – The National Servicing Center of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has once again ranked North Dakota Housing Finance Agency (NDHFA) as a Tier 1 Federal Housing Administration loan servicer. The ranking for fiscal year 2023 marks the agency’s sixth consecutive year to receive this recognition.

The HUD ranking system evaluates FHA servicer compliance with guidelines, intervention requirements, loss mitigation engagement, and reporting, aiming to safeguard borrowers and alert HUD to potential issues. An important indicator of servicer effectiveness is the work-out ratio, demonstrating the ability to work with delinquent borrowers and prevent foreclosures.

Dave Flohr, executive director of NDHFA stated, “This distinction underscores our ongoing commitment to helping homeowners work through financial challenges. Homeowners who experience financial difficulties work with NDHFA staff one-on-one to navigate these issues, preserving the stability of their homes.”

Out of 624 participating FHA servicers nationwide, NDHFA was one of 147 loan servicers ranked as Tier 1. NDHFA achieved an impressive FY2023 score of 94.06%, reflecting an increase from the previous year’s score of 91.92%. The agency currently services approximately 12,400 loans, with 50% being FHA guaranteed.

Known for affordable mortgage loans as well as down payment and closing cost assistance through the FirstHome™ program, NDHFA services its own loans as well as loans for the Bank of North Dakota and local nonprofit housing providers.

Flohr stated, “NDHFA provides affordable home financing that can help individuals and families of modest means achieve and maintain their dream of homeownership.

NDHFA is a self-supporting and mission-driven state agency dedicated to making housing affordable for all North Dakotans. The North Dakota Industrial Commission, consisting of Gov. Doug Burgum, as the chairman, Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring and Attorney General Drew H. Wrigley, oversees the agency. More information about NDHFA is available online at

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For Immediate Release                                                                                                   December 27, 2023

Bank of North Dakota Loans Replenish Cattle Herds

BISMARCK, N.D. – Bank of North Dakota (BND) reports that approximately 16,000 head of cattle were replenished in the state with the assistance of the Livestock Rebuilders Loan Program in 2022 and 2023. It was established to strengthen the livestock industry after the 2021 drought when beef cow numbers decreased by 89,000 head. The program closed June 30, 2023.

The drought created hay shortages, forcing producers to purchase and transport hay from other states. A statewide drought disaster was declared. The Livestock Rebuilders Loan Program was part of a suite of programs rolled out by the state including the Emergency Feed Transportation Assistance Program administered by the North Dakota Department of Agriculture and the Livestock Drought Loan Program administered by BND.

“The state’s response to the 2021 drought is an example of what makes North Dakota so successful,” said members of the Commission in a joint statement. The Commission, consisting of Gov. Doug Burgum as chairman, Attorney General Drew Wrigley, and Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring, oversees BND. “We are able to work with key stakeholders who determine needs and state agencies that work together to respond quickly, and that sets us apart from so many others.”

The loan was available for up to a seven-year term with a fixed interest rate of 3.50%.

Local banks and credit unions serve as the loan program conduit for BND programs. For this effort, 32 different financial institutions, and a total of 58 branches within them, accessed the program for their customers. There were 196 loans made for a total loan amount of $26,650,860, of which BND funded $18,549,013.

“Once again, our local financial institutions deserve a great deal of credit for facilitating the disaster relief loan for their customers,” stated BND President/CEO Todd Steinwand. “As a local lender, they know their customers better than anyone. They provided valuable input as we developed the terms of the loan, and then applied for the funds on behalf of their customers who qualified.”

The Bank’s mission “to support agriculture, commerce and industry” has not changed since its earliest days in 1919. The Bank of North Dakota is the only state-owned bank in the nation.

For more information: Janel Schmitz BND Communications & Marketing Manager 328.5880

Karen Tyler, Executive Director and Secretary

Reice Haase, Deputy Executive Director

State Capitol, 14th Floor - 600 E Boulevard Ave Dept 405 - Bismarck, ND 58505-0840">E-Mail:

Phone: (701) 328-3722


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ND independent banks 'doing well' | Prairie Public Broadcasting

Prairie Public Broadcasting | By Dave Thompson

"They're strong, well-run, well-capitalized," said David Mason of First International Bank and Trust in Bismarck. "We've been fortunate for a highly supportive community base in North Dakota."

Mason said North Dakotans like doing business with other North Dakotans.

"That's where the community bank model really thrives for us," Mason said.

Mason also said the biggest issue facing banks this year is inflation, and continued efforts by the Federal Reserve to tamper down inflation through raising interest rates.

"Increasing or decreasing isn't as big of a deal as how fast they change," Mason said. "And we've seen a dramatically fast-paced move by the Fed in increasing rates this time around. And that just changes the dynamic."

Mason said it takes a little bit of a different management style, to help customers deal with the rates.

Meanwhile, ag lenders are reporting a more positive outlook in farm country. A banker from southeast North Dakota said farmers are doing very well this year, compared with the past few years.

"The crops that got put in look very good," said Darwin Bitz of Heartland State Bank of Edgeley and Kulm. "The prices are excellent, and even on the livestock end, prices are very good."

Bitz said farmers are in a very good financial position, because of the current prices, and also because of disaster payments, crop insurance and COVID relief. And he said his bank hasn't been making loans to farmers this year.

"I can tell you that right now, of operating loans at our bank, there have been some that haven't been touched," Bitz said. "The farmers haven't needed it."

Bitz said he has sen a lot of pay-down on existing loans.

"It's actually a great time to be farming," Bitz said.

The independent bankers' group had their annual meeting in Bismarck this week.

BISMARCK, ND – Stephen L. Stenehjem, Chairman and CEO of First International Bank & Trust (FIBT), is the recipient of the 2022 Distinguished Community Banker Award. The award was presented to him during the 54th Annual Independent Community Banks of North Dakota (ICBND) Convention & Exposition. The three-day event was held August 8-10, at the Bismarck Hotel and Conference Center, in Bismarck, and was attended by over 200 bank and associate members.

The Distinguished Community Banker Award was created in 1998 by the ICBND Board of Directors to recognize the efforts of its most outstanding members and is the most prestigious award given by ICBND. This award, which need not be given every year, honors an active or former community banker for exemplary and outstanding service to community banking over an extended career. Stephen’s father Leland M. Stenehjem posthumously received the award in 2017, making Stephen the second Stenehjem to be honored with the ICBND Distinguished Community Banker Award.


Stenehjem, who recently celebrated 40 years with First International Bank & Trust, looks back on his achievements with pride. “FIBT is over 100x larger than when I started and that’s a testament to the amazing team we’ve built over the years. From our humble beginnings in Arnegard, ND, we now have 34 locations across four states and can serve more customers than ever before. Thank you to everyone who has been part of FIBT’s success. I am truly humbled and honored to receive this award.”

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ICBND hosts 54th Annual Convention in Bismarck | KX NEWS (

BISMARCK, N.D. — This week is the ICBND 54th Annual Convention. The convention will last Monday through Wednesday.

Jessie Pfaff, who is the vice president for the ICBND says this is a chance for community bankers and associate members vendors across the nation to get together.

“It’s just a time to reconnect with eachother and to celebrate everything they have accomplished last year” “

Pfaff says conventions such as this one is extremely important to have in the state.

“North Dakota in general is a tight knit rural community and community banks across our state are what provide the funding for a lot of main street, and we are excited about bringing them together.”

According to Pfaff, ICBND is the only association in the state of North Dakota that excessively represents Community Banks.
The convention always has a theme and for this years theme it’s the roaring 20’s.

“We figured it’s the 20’s. We are roaring forward and everything that banks have had to overcome with their customers and COVID the last couple of years,” said Pfaff. “They keep charging forward into the future.”

And the big topic on everyone’s mind is inflation.

“It’s front and center. The man on the street and the lady on the street mind’s these days is on how much things are costing,” said Reber. “When they go to the grocery store, when they go buy clothes. When they fill up their gas tank.”

As far as what interest rates could do in the next six months, Jim Reber, President and CEO of ICBA Securities, says it’s impossible to predict.
Despite not being able to predict how long the inflation will last, Reber says community banks are built to benefit from rising rates.

“If this is a long term scenario, where rates are higher than normal, community banks should do just fine.”

They say no matter what the economy looks like… they will continue to reach out and help their neighbors from rural to cities here in North Dakota.

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