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Happy Spring everybody! Well…we’re not quite there yet and given the snowpack conditions across the state we should probably hope for a slow, methodical melt. My heart goes out to those across the upper Midwest who are struggling with water and flooding issues. I’m hopeful that you all, especially those in the Red River Valley, are able to escape any damage and stay safe during this white-knuckle time.

After spending last week at the ICBA Convention in Nashville, I was reminded again that one of the very best parts of my job which is visiting with our members about what’s going on in their communities and at their banks. For a number of reasons, it feels like it’s been a long winter and I haven’t gotten to have as many of those visits as I’d like. Of course, the colder than normal weather plays a part in that. But more significantly, I’ve been cooped up these last three months in crowded, poorly ventilated hearing rooms at the Capitol seeing all the same people every day and most of them are either on the front end or back end of cold or flu conditions! Happens like that every session. And, how many times does one have to respond to the old “cold enough for you” question?

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Starion Bank Donates to Trinity Bible College Endowment

Starion Bank, in a commitment to the long-term success of Trinity Bible College and Graduate School, has presented its first $20,000 donation to the school’s endowment fund. Starion has committed to donating a total of $100,000 to the endowment.

As a learning organization, Starion is proud to support the college’s mission of training well-equipped leaders who will made a difference in their community. By giving to the endowment, Starion’s gift will assist Trinity Bible College and its students well into the future.

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Starion Bank Celebrates 50th Anniversary with Donations, Volunteering

At Starion Bank, giving back to the community has always been a core value. In 2019, the bank is celebrating 50 years of Larson family ownership and, as part of the anniversary, the bank is donating $500 to the charity of choice for each employee. To date, 54 donations have been given.

This is part of the anniversary theme Year of Giving and Caring. In addition to the donations, every employee gets two days of volunteer time off (VTO).

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Starion Bank Announces

New Board Member

Starion Bank announced that Michelle Larson of Bismarck has been elected to the board of directors. This board guides the overall strategic direction of the bank, including principle business focus and merger and acquisition activities. The board includes owners, senior managers and representatives of the communities served by the bank.

Michelle Larson

Larson has served on the board of directors for Starion’s parent company, Starion Bancorporation, since 2012. She was a pharmaceutical representative for many years before becoming a community activist. Larson is very involved in raising awareness of homelessness, food insecurity and other issues. She studied at Moorhead State University and North Dakota State University, and earned a bachelor’s degree in communications.

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CHOICE FINANCIAL GROUP TO ACQUIRE NORTHERN CAPITAL INSURANCE GROUP

Choice Financial Holdings, Inc., the parent company of North Dakota based Choice Insurance and Choice Bank, is pleased to announce that pending regulatory approval, it has entered into an agreement to acquire Twin Cities-based Northern Capital Insurance Group. Choice Insurance recently expanded its footprint throughout ND as well, through the addition of teams in both Fargo and Bismarck. This will however, mark Choice Insurance’s first entrance into Minnesota.

Northern Capital Insurance Group is an independent insurance agency that specializes in Business Insurance, Employee Benefits, as well as Home & Auto, Health, and Life Insurance.

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First International Bank and Trust Donates $140,000 for MSU Dome Renovations

First International Bank & Trust (FIB&T) is proud to announce the donation of $140,000 to aid in the renovation of the Minot State University Dome. Built in 1981, the Minot State Dome has hosted countless sporting and community events over nearly four decades. First International Bank & Trust is a proud partner in making sure the facility continues to be a point of pride in the Minot Community.

We recognize the continued success of our bank depends on the financial health of our community. With seating for 10,000 spectators, Minot State estimates the State Class B boys tournament, which runs a single weekend brings between $2 million to $3 million to the community.

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LPGA MEMBER KIM KAUFMAN HEADS TO KIA CLASSIC WITH CHOICE BANK AS NEW LEAD SPONSOR

Choice Bank, a division of Choice Financial Group, announced today that it is adding another people first partnership with the sponsorship of LPGA Tour Member, Kim Kaufman. She joins Minnesota wide receiver, Adam Thielen, as a Choice Bank partner in community engagement.

Kaufman, who started playing golf at the age of four, was a four-time high school state champion in South Dakota and a two-time All-American at Texas Tech. She joined the LPGA Tour in 2014, and has had eleven career top-ten’s. “I am proud to represent Choice Bank at the Women’s PGA championship this June,” said Kaufman. “I have a great respect for Choice Bank and their People First approach.”

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Starion Bank

Systems Administrator

Starion Bank is a $1.3 billion bank providing local leadership, personalized service and community loyalty. We recognize that our employees are the key to our success and foster a culture where you can grow professionally and personally. Starion is family-owned, so we understand the importance of work-life balance. We offer flexible work hours, generous PTO schedules and other competitive benefits.

We are currently seeking a Systems Administrator to join our progressive IT team! This position will support and maintain the server infrastructure, solving a wide array of problems with various types of hardware and software in time-sensitive situations.

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Starion Bank

Computer & Network Specialist

Starion Bank is a $1.3 billion bank providing local leadership, personalized service and community loyalty. We recognize that our employees are the key to our success and foster a culture where you can grow professionally and personally. Starion is family-owned, so we understand the importance of work-life balance. We offer flexible work hours, generous PTO schedules and other competitive benefits.

We are currently seeking a Computer & Network Specialist to join our progressive IT team! This position will support and maintain the server infrastructure, solving a wide array of problems with various types of hardware and software in time-sensitive situations.

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Starion Bank

Starion is a growing community bank known for providing local leadership, personalized service and community loyalty. We foster a culture where you can grow professionally and personally, and treat employees as our most important organizational asset.

Learning & Organizational Development Partner

Passionate about learning, coaching and knowledge sharing? Excited when you see individuals and teams move to the next level of performance? Want to be part of a learning organization? Join Starion Bank as the Learning and Organizational Development Partner. The Learning and Organizational Development Partner collaborates with all departments to design and deliver effective learning experiences in support of strategic goals and initiatives, as well as supports initiatives expanding the Bank’s capacity as a learning organization.

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Starion Bank

Starion is a growing community bank known for providing local leadership, personalized service and community loyalty. We foster a culture where you can grow professionally and personally, and treat employees as our most important organizational asset.

Legal Counsel

Located in Bismarck, this position ensures legal compliance and limits risk exposure, offers counsel on legal issues, and facilitates business strategy development.

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Starion Bank

Starion is a growing community bank known for providing local leadership, personalized service and community loyalty. We foster a culture where you can grow professionally and personally, and treat employees as our most important organizational asset.

Business Banking Officer

Located in Fargo, this position is responsible for soliciting, developing and managing profitable commercial banking relationships. Responsibilities include gathering information and analyzing credit requests, making credit decisions, generating prospects through active sales call efforts and community involvement and administering a loan portfolio within bank policy and regulatory guidelines.

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American Bank Center Announces Ribbon Cutting for New Northwest Bismarck Location

American Bank Center is proud to announce the celebration Jan. 14-17 for the grand opening of its newest location, in northwest Bismarck. The official ribbon cutting took place at 3 p.m. on Jan. 17. The new building is located at 1615 Burnt Boat Dr. next to the Eckroth Plaza.

American encouraged the community to explore the new building and register for prizes during the event. All were welcome and had a chance to win more than $2,000 worth of prizes. Packages included airline tickets, a Larks gift basket including game tickets and a tailgating basket.

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CHOICE BANK RECOGNIZED AS A TOP SBA LENDER IN NORTH DAKOTA WITH DIRECTOR’S AWARD

Choice Bank was recently awarded the Director’s Award by the U.S. Small Business Administration for being a top SBA lender in North Dakota throughout 2018 (SBA Fiscal Year October 1, 2017 – September 30, 2018). The Director’s Award is given each year to recognize institutions that help small businesses succeed through SBA financing. This year Choice was responsible for 15 of the 169 7(a) SBA loans that were guaranteed in North Dakota, totaling $3.4 million.

Throughout 2018, Choice has been making great efforts to help small businesses takeoff and expand their operations. A big enhancement in their efforts came in September, when they secured Preferred Lender Status with the SBA. To earn Preferred Lender Status, Choice had to demonstrate a thorough understanding of SBA lending policies as well as a successful track record of servicing SBA guaranteed loans.

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CHOICE BANK EXPANDS INSURANCE EXPERTISE AT BISMARCK LOCATIONS

Choice Bank, through the Choice Insurance division, proudly announces the expansion of its insurance team and services at its banking location located at 207 E Front Avenue, Bismarck, ND.

Dan Werner joins Choice as an insurance advisor with 25 years of experience in commercial insurance. Werner’s expertise covers a number of industry groups including oil and gas, construction, transportation, technology and more.

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Starion Bank Offers Loan Payment Deferment for Federal Employees

As a community bank, Starion Bank is committed to helping its neighbors in times of trouble and one way the bank can do that is by deferring consumer loan payments for federal employees.

Recognizing that the partial government shutdown may be impacting people’s ability to make loan payments, Starion Bank is allowing payments on existing consumer loans to be deferred for the first quarter of 2019.

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First International Insurance Acquires Johnson & Johnson Insurance Agency, LLC in Moorhead, MN

First International Insurance announced January 2, 2019 the acquisition of Moorhead, MN insurance agency, Johnson & Johnson Insurance.

“We are excited to have the employees of Johnson & Johnson join the First International Insurance family,” says Daniel Toy, VP/Director of Insurance. “Both organizations operate as independent insurance agencies, providing a wide array of personal and commercial insurance products allowing agents to shop multiple companies and find the best coverage and value. It will be a smooth transition for all involved.”

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WESTERN STATE BANK TO OPEN MESA, ARIZONA LOCATION

Western State Bank will open a new full-service bank in Mesa, AZ, during the first quarter of 2019. The Mesa bank will be Western’s sixth Arizona location in addition to its three banks in North Dakota.

The bank will be located at 5901 E McKellips Road in the Falcon View Plaza, a major Mesa retail shopping area near major highways including Loop 101, Loop 202 and US Highway 60.

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ICB SERVICES, INC. DONATES DEBIT CARD TRANSACTION MACHINE

Red Door would like to give a warm shout out to Angie Olson at Independent Community Bank Services, Inc. for the donation of a debit card transaction machine. At Red Door, we work on teaching life skills to our adolescent population. This machine will allow teens to practice the use of debit and credit cards before performing this skill in real life. We are so proud of our community and businesses like Independent Community Bank Services. Our kids are lucky to live here!

I hope this message finds you all enjoying a happy and prosperous 2019. It’s January of an odd-numbered year, so we are hunkering in to the 66th Assembly of the North Dakota Legislature. As I write this, we are in the third full week of the session. Nearly 950 bills have been introduced so far. ICBND is tracking about 75 bills that could have varying degrees of effect to community banking. Obviously, the higher priority bills get more attention. In my limited space here, I won’t wander too far into the weeds of the bills and the issues we’re following. However, the ICBND Legislative Update is distributed and posted weekly for your reference.

We’ve just completed the marketing materials for a Fintech educational session on April 15, 2019 which will be sponsored by our newest endorsed member, Dakota Carrier Network. The session will also be held at their beautiful facility in Bismarck. Our keynote presenter will be Kevin Tweddle who is ICBA’s Chief Innovation Officer. We’re excited to offer this timely session and hope to see you there.

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Endorsed Members