First State Bank of ND
The First State Bank of North Dakota has been serving consumer, business and agricultural customers in rural communities for more than 110 years. The First State Bank of Arthur was organized and issued a charter to begin business as a community bank in 1905. W. H. Simmons, Louis Bettschen, Fred Williams and J. H. Gale organized the bank and served as its first elected directors. W. C. Gamble was the first cashier.
From the beginning, First State Bank of Arthur held its customers’ trust above all else. Its directors and officers worked to retain that trust through sound management that maintained the bank’s financial strength.
In 1932, upon the death of Fred Williams, J. E. Sommerfeld was elected the bank’s president and B. A. Helland became the cashier and executive officer. They guided First State Bank of Arthur through one of the most difficult periods in the history of banking.
The banking crisis of the early 1930s threatened the security of many banks and their customers. By the time Franklin Delano Roosevelt was inaugurated in March 1933, banks in all 48 states had either closed or had placed restrictions on how much money depositors could withdraw. FDR’s first act as president was to declare a national “bank holiday” that closed banks for a three-day cooling off period. Solvent banks reopened but many never recovered. During that time and after, throughout The Great Depression, First State Bank of Arthur’s directors and officers made sure all demands were met and depositors never lost any money.
Sommerfeld continued to serve as president for 29 years. Lloyd Williams was elected president in 1962, and James L. Williams replaced him in 1975. Helland was the cashier and executive officer until his death in 1955, when Gale E. Hill replaced him. In 1988, Kim O. Larson was appointed executive vice president & CEO and joined the board of directors in 1990. In 1999, he became president and CEO. James L. Williams III was appointed as the bank’s president in 2016.
In 1992, the bank changed its name to First State Bank of North Dakota (FSBND). That same year, FSBND purchased The First State Bank of Buffalo. In 1999, FSBND purchased the deposits of First National Bank of North Dakota in Casselton, and the Casselton branch moved into a new building in December 2000. In May 2002, FSBND’s holding company, First Financial Corp., purchased The First State Bank of LaMoure, which consisted of banks in Marion, Dickey, Oakes and LaMoure. Shortly after the purchase, FSBND closed the branch in Dickey. The two organizations merged in January 2005. In December 2010, FSBND acquired four Cornerstone Bank branches, in Enderlin, Lisbon, Sheldon and Fort Ransom. In October 2012, the Sheldon and Fort Ransom locations were closed.
Today, the bank offers values-based banking products and services through its 8 branches in Arthur, Buffalo, Casselton, LaMoure, Marion, Oakes, Enderlin and Lisbon, North Dakota. Our directors and officers are as committed as the bank’s founders to serving our customers with honesty, loyalty and integrity, and to maintaining the organization’s financial strength through good times and bad.