Bell State Bank & Trust, with assets over $2.9 billion, is the largest privately owned bank in North Dakota, South Dakota and Minnesota … thanks to our many loyal customers, whose confidence in us has led to our growth and success. From the start, Bell State Bank & Trust has kept its commitment to remaining an independent, locally owned, regional bank.
Headquartered in Fargo, North Dakota, Bell State Bank & Trust was chartered as State Bank of Fargo in 1966. Bell State Bank & Trust is an award winning bank with 20 full-service bank locations in Fargo, West Fargo and Wahpeton, North Dakota, and Moorhead, Dilworth, Hawley, Audubon, Detroit Lakes, Pelican Rapids, Breckenridge, Fergus Falls, Alexandria and Minneapolis, Minnesota. We also have wealth management (trust and investments) offices in Bismarck and Boise, Idaho, and multiple mortgage locations through our Bell Mortgage division. We are proud to be a part of the growth of the communities we serve! A timeline of our bank’s history and locations shows the growth of our organization over the years.
Thomas “Buck” Snortland, one of the founders of State Bank of Fargo in 1966, was instrumental in helping set the tone for the company’s employee- and customer-friendly culture. Snortland family members have remained major shareholders since the bank’s beginning with one small north Fargo location. Buck’s son, Thomas “Mickey” Snortland, was a dedicated board member for four decades and helped create the bank’s unique “bottom line” statement: “Happy Employees! Happy Customers!” His wife, Julie, was named to the holding company board of directors following Mickey’s passing in early 2013. Mickey’s sister Laura Snortland Fairfield is also a major shareholder and serves on the holding company board.
Richard Solberg, a hometown banker from Finley, North Dakota, joined Bell State Bank & Trust as its president in 1982. As chief executive officer and a major shareholder along with his son, Michael, he has helped steer the organization by serving people from all walks of life and all income levels.
In 2009, Bell State Bank & Trust’s board of directors named Michael Solberg president; Richard Solberg continues as CEO and board chairman. Mike has also served as the bank’s chief operating officer since 2004, with oversight of day-to-day operations. Bell State Bank & Trust is well positioned to maintain our strong growth well into the future, for our bank, divisions and affiliate companies.
The Bell Identity
On January 1, 2011, the bank purchased Bell Mortgage, a respected Twin Cities mortgage company with a 130-year history. Bell Mortgage dates back to 1880, when David C. Bell made Minneapolis home. Soon he co-founded a mortgage company under his name: David C. Bell Investment Company. The business Bell began employed numerous Minnesotans and brought a significant amount of money and development into the area. Perhaps that is why Mr. Bell is referred to not only as an entrepreneur, but also as one of the Twin Cities’ founding fathers.
The David C. Bell Company continued to flourish, weathering The Great Depression, two World Wars and embracing nearly 100 years of local development before its purchase in 1980 by Gary Kirt, who remains president of today’s Bell Mortgage Division. We borrowed the “Bell” name for our company as a whole to provide us with a more unique identity; with its long history, it is a perfect fit for the bank’s reputation and culture.
Considering themselves stewards of the bank, the owners, along with our board of directors, value our employees, who are treated like family and whose dedication and loyalty are generously rewarded. An award-winning culture has helped Bell State Bank & Trust recruit, hire and retain enthusiastic employees, who provide unequaled personal service to each customer.
Bell State Bank & Trust’s employees receive not only a competitive benefits package, but also enjoy employee and family events year-round, including family baseball nights, picnics, Kids’ Night Christmas parties with Santa and sleigh rides, and the highly anticipated employee Christmas party. For each of the last several years, the Christmas party has been the venue for announcing the bank’s annual Pay It Forward program, providing employees funds to give to individuals, families and organizations in need in our communities.
Starting in 2008, Bell State Bank & Trust gave employees a very special Christmas gift: the opportunity to “pay it forward” to people in need. It’s become a tradition continued each year. Every full-time employee receives $1,000 and every part-time employee $500 to give to an individual, family, organization or cause – a commitment totaling more than half a million dollars annually. To date, more than $4.7 million has been given to others less fortunate and to organizations that help build our communities.
Paying it forward is about compassionately helping others. Our Pay It Forward stories of giving will touch your heart.
As stewards, dedicated to the growth and reputation of this independently owned organization, we are committed to:
Bell State Bank & Trust’s simple philosophy is embodied in our unique “Bottom Line” statement: