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N.D. native founder of closed banks

A former Fargo banker and attorney was the leader of a big Scottsdale, Ariz.-based banking company closed by federal regulars. Raymond A. Lamb was founder and majority shareholder of the Scottsdale-based First National Bank Holding Co., which had...

A former Fargo banker and attorney was the leader of a big Scottsdale, Ariz.-based banking company closed by federal regulars.

Raymond A. Lamb was founder and majority shareholder of the Scottsdale-based First National Bank Holding Co., which had 28 branches in Arizona, Nevada and California and total assets of $3.6 billion as of June 30.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. last week took over First National Bank Holding Co.-owned 1st National Bank of Nevada and First Heritage Bank, which suffered from problem loans and the real estate slump.

The 28 banks have reopened as Mutual of Omaha Bank branches, according to the FDIC.

Lamb couldn't be reached for comment Tuesday. A former First National Bank Holding Co. spokeswoman said Lamb likely is out of town.

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Lamb has a strong background in this area.

According to Forum files:

The Michigan, N.D., native graduated from the University of North Dakota in 1962 and from George Washington University Law School in Washington, D.C., in 1964.

He practiced law in Fargo-Moorhead and also became involved in banking.

In 1976, Lamb and his father, Raymond F. Lamb of Michigan, bought the former Dakota National Bank in Fargo.

The younger Lamb subsequently gained controlling interest when his father sold him his bank stock.

Raymond F. Lamb died in 2003.

Raymond A. Lamb sold Dakota Bank to what's now U.S. Bank in 1992. At the time, Dakota Bank was Fargo's third-largest commercial bank.

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Lamb later expanded his bank holdings in the southwestern United States.

Lamb was "the driving force" behind First National Bank Holding Co., which he launched a decade ago, according to a report in the Arizona Republic newspaper.

Lamb owned more than 80 percent of the privately held company, according to the report, which briefly mentions his North Dakota connection.

Eric Fischer, now senior vice president of Fargo-based State Bank & Trust, worked with Lamb for about 10 years at the former Dakota Bank.

Fischer said he hasn't had dealings with Lamb since then, but remembers Lamb as "very intelligent" and "able to get things moving."

"He also was someone who had 10 things going at once, and he was able to handle them all," Fischer said.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Jonathan Knutson at (701) 241-5530

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