Bank of North Dakota releases book about its first 100 years

Bismarck, ND – Just one month before entering its 100th anniversary year, Bank of North Dakota has released the book, “The Bank of North Dakota – From Surviving to Thriving.” It is the third book ever written about the only state-owned bank in the country and chronicles the Bank’s first century, covering a history rich in drama, failure and ultimately success.

The author is longtime North Dakota journalist Mike Jacobs. It can be purchased through the Dakota Institute collection which is managed and marketed by Bismarck State College (BSC) students. It is available online at or at the BSC Bookstore located in the BSC Student Union.

“It’s a privilege to help tell the story of the Bank of North Dakota,” Jacobs said. “The Bank has an increasing important role in the state, all built on the determination and foresight of North Dakotans of the last century.”

“The state-owned Bank is unique in the United States,” Jacobs pointed out. “It arose out of frustration and was chartered in controversy, and it has grown through adaptation and compromise to become the tool for money management, growth and stability that its founders sought when they confronted very difficult economic conditions 100 years ago.”

Although there have been numerous attempts to create state-owned banks in the United States, the Bank of North Dakota (BND) is the only one active today. It grew out of a farm protest movement in the 1910s. North Dakota farmers were getting low grain prices from elevators, high interest rates from banks and high transportation fees from railroads. The Bank was part of the Nonpartisan League program approved by the state Legislature on February 25, 1919 creating the Industrial Commission, State Mill and Elevator and BND.

An emergency clause required the Bank to open within months, but the battle over it had just begun. Multiple attempts to close the Bank from legal action, bankers and investors were overcome. Today Bank of North Dakota’s assets are $7 billion, and projections are that the Bank will have its 15th consecutive year of record profits in 2018.

The Bank is considered a crucial arm for economic development in North Dakota and partners with local banks and credit unions to meet its mission, which has remained unchanged for its 100 years –“To promote agriculture, commerce and industry in North Dakota.”

“This is a proud time for the state of North Dakota and for all of us who are a part of the Bank’s history,” BND President Eric Hardmeyer said. “One cannot underestimate the resolve with which our predecessors fought to keep the Bank alive. It’s been a privilege to work with someone of Mike Jacobs’ caliber to bring the story to life.”

A native of Stanley, North Dakota, and a graduate of the University of North Dakota, Jacobs’ career in North Dakota newspapers spans half a century. He led the staff of the Grand Forks Herald to a Pulitzer Prize for Public Service for continuing publication during the Flood of 1997.

The Bank of North Dakota is a state agency and the only state-owned bank in the United States. It is overseen by the Industrial Commission which includes Governor Doug Burgum, Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem and Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring.

For more information or media requests, contact Janel Schmitz, Bank of North Dakota Communications and Marketing Manager 701.328.5880