State Bank heads to lakes


State Bank & Trust is branching out beyond its Fargo-Moorhead financial foothold.

State Bankshares -- parent company of State Bank & Trust -- is acquiring a bank in Audubon, Minn., adding banking services to mortgage offices in Detroit Lakes and Pelican Rapids, Minn., and establishing a new mortgage office in Sioux Falls, S.D., company President Dick Solberg said Wednesday.

State Bank & Trust is the largest independently held bank in North Dakota, South Dakota and Minnesota. Its assets topped the $1 billion mark in March.

State Bank & Trust has eight banking locations in Fargo, Moorhead and West Fargo, as well as trust offices in Fargo and Bismarck and mortgage and loan offices in Detroit Lakes, Pelican Rapids and Alexandria, Minn.

State Bankshares is owned by Mickey Snortland, a Sharon, N.D., farmer, his sister Laura Fairfield of DeKalb, Ill., and Solberg and their families.


The company has signed a letter of intent to acquire First State Bank of Audubon, a hometown bank with assets of $11 million.

Mike Netland, president of the Audubon bank, said its board of directors was in negotiations to be acquired by another banking company when Solberg called.

"He wanted to know if it was too late for State Bank to enter the picture," Netland said. "He made an offer and it was a better one than the one from the company we were negotiating with."

In addition to its offer being better monetarily, State Bank & Trust figured to be a better fit for Audubon, Netland said. The community of 400 is located along U.S. Highway 10 about 40 miles east of Fargo-Moorhead.

"State Bank & Trust, in my opinion, is a dynamic leader in the financial services industry," Netland said. "I'm especially pleased that they are a community bank and they bring a community-banking method of doing business to the table."

Also working in State Bank & Trust's favor was its willingness to maintain First State Bank of Audubon's staff of eight.

"Our customers now have a much broader offering of services, but at the same time maintain a relationship with the people they're used to doing business with," Netland said.

First State Bank of Audubon was established in 1896 by Andrew Netland, an immigrant from Norway.


With Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis regulatory approval, First State Bank of Audubon will become State Bank & Trust in the fourth quarter of this year, Solberg said.

Also in the fourth quarter, State Bankshares will add full-service banking to its mortgage offices in Detroit Lakes and Pelican Rapids.

State Bankshares established its Detroit Lakes office in 2001 and its Pelican Rapids office in 2002.

Solberg said expanding bank services into the lake country of Becker and Otter Tail counties recognizes the growing number of those in Fargo-Moorhead who either commute from or own lake property there.

The Sioux Falls mortgage office opens in August, Solberg said. State Bankshares has no immediate plans to establish bank branches in that market, he added.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Gerry Gilmour at (701) 241-5560

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