North Dakota Legislature declares Bank of North Dakota Day

To commemorate 100 years of fulfilling its mission to promote agriculture, commerce and industry in North Dakota, the North Dakota Legislature has declared Monday, February 25, 2019 as “Bank of North Dakota Day.” Bank of North Dakota (BND) is the longest-running, successful state-owned bank in the United States and is the only one of its kind today.

In honor of this event,the Bank is inviting the public to join the celebration. Cookies will be available in the Bank lobby, and tours of the new BND museum, conceived and designed by noted historian Clay Jenkinson, will be held every morning the week of February 25 at 11 a.m. The tour takes about 30 minutes. Guests are welcome to spend more time exploring the museum after the tour.

BND and other Nonpartisan League programs were originally conceived to support North Dakota farmers who felt they were being treated unfairly by business interests in the East. They received low grain prices at elevators and were charged high transportation costs and interest rates, which ran as high as 12% from banks in Minneapolis and Chicago. Governor Lynn Frazier signed the Bank into law February 25, 1919.

Starting in 1945, the state Legislature began tapping Bank profits to fulfill general fund and special program needs, helping reduce the tax burden on residents. More than $1 billion has been designated over the years with the potential of another $225 million during this session.

In addition to the direct contributions to state government, Bank programs reduce the interest rate for business, farm and ranch startup and expansion, stimulating economic growth and allowing residents to achieve more.

A pioneer in helping residents pay for college, BND was the first financial institution in the country to provide federally insured student loans. Although it no longer provides federal loans, its state-owned student loan programs continue to help residents pay for college and to refinance afterward.

Local financial institutions and economic development associations are important partners of the Bank, working with their customers and residents to access the Bank’s programs.

“It is clear that the Bank’s success can be partially attributed to a willingness to meet emerging needs in the state,” said Eric Hardmeyer, BND president. “However, none of its accomplishments would have been possible without strong relationships with our stakeholders including legislators, economic developers, financial institutions and state agencies.”

“Bank of North Dakota Day” is one of many ways the Bank’s 100th anniversary and its accomplishments are being recognized. Renowned North Dakota journalist Mike Jacobs wrote the book “The Bank of North Dakota: From Surviving to Thriving” to chronicle the first 100 years. It is available for sale through the Bank’s website at Historian Clay Jenkinson led efforts to create a museum in the Bank lobby. North Dakota students in grades 4-8 will be invited for special 100th anniversary field trips this spring, and a public event will be held at the Bank July 29, 2019.

Bank of North Dakota is overseen by the Industrial Commission of North Dakota, which consists of Governor Doug Burgum as chairman, Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem and Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring.