As a state-chartered bank, Dacotah Bank provides banking, insurance, mortgage, and trust services to customers who enjoy existing financial relationships with us. We also market these services to prospective customers residing in or doing business from our defined trade area. Our trade area consists of North Dakota and South Dakota and adjacent counties of states bordering the Dakotas.
On November 10, 2004, employees, stockholders, and customers observed the 40th Anniversary of Dacotah Banks, Inc. (DBI). That same year, the Aberdeen-based bank holding company, owner of a family of community banks and insurance agencies, passed the $1 billion assets mark. Today, the company's banking assets approach $2 billion.
With locations in dozens of hometowns, over 500 employees, and over 50,000 customers, Dacotah Bank remains one of the largest Dakota-grown state-charted banks in North Dakota and South Dakota. Dacotah Bank is also one of America’s largest lenders to agriculture and consistently ranks in the top 20.
While competing very effectively with multi-billion dollar, out-of-state banking interests, we pride ourselves in remaining a community bank large enough to service most customers and small enough to react to their special needs. ”We believe in staying close to our customers,” says Rod Fouberg, DBI’s Chairman of the Board. ”Our company’s decision making is focused on both customer and community.”
On April 12, 1955, individuals prominent in banking and investing chartered the Farmers and Merchants Bank of Aberdeen, SD. Several of the same individuals, in 1964, organized Dacotah Bank Holding Company (DBHC), which later became Dacotah Banks, Inc. (DBI). The firm initially acquired controlling interest in Security Bank, Webster, SD, and its associated insurance agency and building company.
In 1969, DBI received regulatory approval as a registered bank holding company and, the same year, purchased controlling interest in the Farmers and Merchants Bank of Aberdeen, as well as the Citizens State Bank at Clark, and the Citizens Bank at Mobridge, SD. In 1971, DBI filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission to become a publicly-traded company, using the net proceeds from the stock sale to acquire an interest in the Bank of Lemmon. During the 1970s, we strengthened our position as a multi-bank holding company through retained earnings and prudent lending policies. These policies would prove essential to the survival of our company and our customers in the approaching farm crisis.
The decade of the 1980s dawned with a drought affecting the western half of Dacotah Bank’s service area. The drought, coupled with low commodity prices and high interest rates, devastated the farming community. Rather than giving up our farm accounts, as many of the national banks did, we stayed in the trenches and saw hundreds of local farmers through the worst agricultural calamity since the Great Depression. “The fortunes of our company to a great extent are tied to the success and well-being of the farmers and ranchers and small businesses with whom we do business,” wrote Chairman Fouberg to DBI stockholders. During the 1980s, DBI added banks in Cresbard, SD (1981) and Faulkton, SD (1982). In 1987 we also acquired the failed First State Bank of Sisseton, SD from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. Sisseton was our first bank outside the bank’s originally defined service area.
The 1990s ushered in a new expansion phase—de novo branching or “from the ground up”. Through our Clark charter, we constructed and opened a new branch in Watertown, SD. This was the bank’s first expansion into a major population area by a means other than acquisition of a charter. Also in 1990, Dacotah Bank received approval to establish (through our Aberdeen charter) a branch on the west side of Sioux Falls, SD. By the end of the 1990s, a second Sioux Falls location was built downtown (1994), the company entered Rapid City, SD through a de novo branch (1999), and opened a second banking location in east Aberdeen, (1999). We looked at our de novo entry into growing population centers of the state as a way to add to our deposits and expand our loan portfolio, both of which ultimately happened. At the same time, we continued to define ourselves as a locally-owned bank with primary interest in the rural communities of the state.
Referring to the challenge from non-traditional banking entities brought about by deregulation and acknowledging our success in starting new branches, Chairman Fouberg wrote our stockholders: “We continue to look for ways to serve our existing customer base. In spite of increased competition and moderate growth, community banks like ours remain the backbone of their areas.” Also during this decade, we:
- Returned to our roots as a privately held firm (1993)
- Entered, through acquisition, the abstract and title business in Webster, SD (1994) and Huron, SD (1995)
- Changed our corporate name from Dacotah Bank Holding Co. to Dacotah Banks Inc. (DBI) and the names of each banking location to Dacotah Bank (1995)
- Completed the purchase of all minority interest in our six subsidiary banks (serving 16 communities) and collapsed their charters into one Aberdeen-based charter (1997)
- Passed the $500 million assets mark (1998)
- Introduced Internet banking to our customers (1998).
The New Century
Early in 2000, the bank grew beyond the borders of our home state, acquiring Rolla Holding Company, with its two charter banks: The First State Bank of Rolla, ND (branches in Belcourt, ND, Regent, ND and Reeder, ND) and the First National Bank of Hettinger, ND. Also that year, DBI acquired the holding company for First National Bank of Bowbells, ND, with branches in Flaxton and Minot, ND. The acquisition of the Minot location gave our company a presence in one of North Dakota’s largest communities.
These first interstate acquisitions were similar in many aspects to Dacotah Bank’s original banking locations, with most of their loan portfolios made up of agricultural producers.
While expanding geographically, we affirmed our intention to remain a community bank. In his 2000 letter to our stockholders, Chairman Fouberg stated: “Dacotah Bank will continue our involvement in the communities we serve, and this means continuing to serve the credit needs of our customers while finding our source of funds primarily through deposits … from the local community.”
In 2001, Dacotah Bank acquired the holding company for Farmers & Merchants Bank of Valley City, ND, bringing a Dacotah Bank presence to southeastern North Dakota through an important trade and education center located on I-94. In 2003 and 2004, additional banking locations in Rapid City, (downtown), Minot, and Sioux Falls (east side) were opened.
During the first decade of the new century, Dacotah Bank continued to grow by establishing branches in larger communities such as Brookings, SD and Dickinson, ND.
While the steady growth of Dacotah Bank has given us the ability to compete with national banks and banks owned by international firms, we have repeatedly declared our intention to remain a community bank with decisions made close to the people we serve—both rural and urban.
Considering the firm’s history and vision for the future, employees, stockholders, and customers alike are proud to say, “it’s good to be in Dacotah Territory!“