Bell Mortgage will soon be Bell State Bank


Leaders at State Bank & Trust have announced their intention to rebrand the locally owned community bank as “Bell State Bank” later this year. The company plans to retain the identifying mark of the State Bank & Trust “tree” logo, which is long established and widely recognized in the region.

Why Change the Name?

Founded in 1966 and headquartered in Fargo, N.D., State Bank & Trust has grown to be the largest independently owned bank in North Dakota, South Dakota and Minnesota. The bank has 15 full-service banking locations in North Dakota and Minnesota, more than $2.2 billion in bank assets, and more than $3 billion in assets under management by its Wealth Management Division. In March, State Bank & Trust purchased First National Bank in Hawley and in April opened its first Twin Cities bank, located west of downtown Minneapolis in Golden Valley.

“It is exciting to grow in new markets and new lines of business,” said State Bank & Trust president Michael Solberg. “Yet the generic nature of the State Bank & Trust name has led to confusion in the marketplace and for our potential customers.”

Solberg cites more than 150 banks in the Dakotas and Minnesota with similar brands that have the word “State” in their names. Even in Hawley, where State Bank & Trust recently finalized the purchase of First National Bank, State Bank of Hawley is already in existence.

At State Bank & Trust, the plan is to change branding on legal documents and disclosures, external signage, letterhead, and other essential materials by late September. Conversion of additional materials will be phased in through the first quarter of 2013.

Why “Bell State Bank”?

Last year, State Bank & Trust purchased leading Twin Cities lender Bell Mortgage, with 28 offices in Minneapolis-St. Paul and Phoenix. Since its founding in 1880 by early Minneapolis leader David Bell, Bell Mortgage has developed an outstanding reputation for service and has more than half a million family mortgages to its name.

“We have an advantage in rebranding,” said Solberg. “We have two names – Bell Mortgage and State Bank – that mean a lot to all of us in our company. Combined, they unite two strong companies and brands to build a unique identity. Bell State Bank is easy to spell, say and remember, and Bell is a name that is well recognized and respected in the Twin Cities market, where we expect to see significant growth in the coming years.”

There is no other “Bell State Bank” or even “Bell Bank” in the nation, added Solberg.

State Bank & Trust’s major divisions for mortgage, wealth management and investments will also take on the Bell State name as “divisions of Bell State Bank.”

“People Philosophy” Remains Unchanged

Solberg said State Bank & Trust has been through several name changes and logo variations during its 44-year history. He reminded bank employees, customers and friends that while the name changes with the addition of “Bell,” the logo will remain the same and, more importantly, the bank’s “bottom line” philosophy – “Happy Employees! Happy Customers!” – remains unchanged.

“Names and logos come and go, but we have always been about the people we employ and the people we serve, and that is what makes this company great,” Solberg said. “Our people are the same, and so is our commitment to keeping our headquarters in Fargo and our banks in the communities we serve. We are committed to remaining a locally owned, community bank for generations to come. That will never change no matter how many times the name or logo might change in the years ahead.”

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