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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.

Plains Commerce bank

Sioux Falls, SD, Release: Tuesday, August 2, 2022. For Immediate Release Plains Commerce Bank will be hosting a free webinar on Thursday, August 25, 2022: Shifting the Tone: Custody of Crypto Assets.

This webinar will discuss the importance of trust and security with cryptocurrency and digital assets.

When asked about the webinar: Custody of Crypto Assets, Kyle Pickner, Chief Trust Officer at Plains Commerce Bank said that this webinar is a chance for people to educate themselves on how to protect their digital assets. They can ask questions live and get information not easily available through other channels.

Custody for digital assets (as opposed to cash, securities, or precious metals) requires a new kind of technological infrastructure that is independent in every sense of the word. Cryptocurrencies are created and managed using specialized technologies which come with their own unique considerations for storage and security.

Join Kyle Pickner, along with special guests from Brane Inc., Matt Pierce, Interim President and Chris Desjardins, Vice President of Product as they dive into how to protect your digital assets.

Registration now open for the free webinar at

Shifting the Tone Webinar Series is an initiative developed by Plains Commerce Bank to dive into the intricate world of money and finance.

Full information and marketing assets can be found on the website:

Contact Information:
Name: Abby McCann, VP Marketing
Organization: Plains Commerce Bank
Address: 4410 S Technology Drive, Sioux Falls, SD 57106
Phone: 605.954.1322

Note: This is intended for information use only and is not intended as tax, legal, or investment advice. Cryptocurrency is not insured by the FDIC, are not deposits or other obligations of the institution and are not guaranteed by the institution; and are subject to investment risks, including possible loss of the principal invested.

The Bank of Tioga

Tioga, ND, August 1, 2022 - The Bank of Tioga has partnered with the Tioga Area Economic Development Corporation to host REV, a small business pitch competition where $15,000 will be distributed to one or more entrepreneurs. Applications are due October 10, 2022.

From the pool of applicants, up to five businesses will be selected to pitch and be judged on all aspects of their business in front of a judges panel on Thursday, November 10, 2022 at the Divide County Courthouse, located at 200 N Main St., Crosby, ND.

"Entrepreneurs and businesses are encouraged to pitch their current or future business concepts for a chance to win money to support their idea. It is our mission to IGNITE PROSPERITY® in all the communities we serve," said President of The Bank of Tioga, Savanna Hendrickson.

The Bank of Tioga hosts REV in an effort to reinvest in local businesses and entrepreneurs. Applicants will be judged on their pitch, marketing, personal investment level and exit strategy.

In 2017, The Bank of Tioga started REV in an effort to spur economic growth and encourage business owners to continue pursuing their dreams. As of today, over $60,000 has been awarded through this program.

Last year’s winners included Blue Raven Trading Company at $7,200, Back Shed Treasures LLC at $4,200, Luxe Beauty Bar LLC at $2,400 and Haugland Enterprises Inc. at $1,200. Judges include Savanna Hendrickson, President of The Bank of Tioga and Wendy Lenzen, Vice President of Business & Consumer Banking with The Bank of Tioga, along with KayCee Lindsey with Divide County Economic Development and Dennis Lindahl with Tioga Economic Development.

To apply, visit and download the REV application. The application deadline is October 10, 2022. If you have any questions, please reach out to Savanna Hendrickson at The Bank of Tioga at 701-664-3388.

About The Bank of Tioga: At The Bank of Tioga, we IGNITE PROSPERITY® by helping our clients do more with their money. Whether it’s saving a little extra cash each month or accomplishing a long-term strategy, our goal is to help you transform your financial life. The Bank of Tioga was chartered in 1951 and was acquired by TS Contrarian Bancshares Inc., an affiliate of TS Banking Group in 2014. With $350 million in assets, The Bank of Tioga is committed to supporting local organizations and reinvests a portion of its net income back to the community. Branch locations include Tioga and Crosby, North Dakota. For more information visit