Our Story

Experience the People First difference.

What makes us different is not the systems we use or the size of our buildings; it’s our people. Our People First values represent the heartbeat of our organization. It is the steady drum that has and always will drive our decisions and how we treat people.

What makes Choice different is not the systems we use or the size of our buildings; it’s our people. Our People First values represent the heartbeat of our organization. It is the steady drum that has and always will drive our decisions and how we treat people.

Our Choice Family put these values into practice. Browse our blog and experience story after story of who we are; stories of our team members secretly mowing their neighbor’s lawns, creating surprise birthday cards, or bringing Thanksgiving dinner to a neighbor who lives alone.

Our journey began in November of 2001 as a small group of people driven by these values. We are now 380 team members strong with assets of $2.15 billion. As a Midwest-based bank, we have strong ties with agriculture and were voted #1 Ag-lender the past four years in a row. Momentum grew, and we were recognized as one of the fastest growing banks in America, and one of the best banks to work for in the U.S.!

As a community bank, our attention stays local. Decisions are made in our community and for our community; whether it’s helping your neighbor down the street take out a small loan to start a business, or driving to meet you on the farm with the paperwork you need.

Our People First mindset also means our Choice family dedicates much of their time to volunteering. In one year we helped raise $229,458 for hospice care in our communities, matched over $65,000 in employee donations, and recorded 7,276 hours volunteering our time and talents to our communities.

 

From the moment we were conceived in 2001, Choice Bank has remained true to our roots, our customers and our communities.

Choice Bank began with the merger of four local banks: Citizens State Bank Grafton-Petersburg (with locations in Grafton and Petersburg), First Capital Bank of North Dakota (with locations in West Fargo and Goodrich), and First State Bank Langdon and Walhalla State Bank. Each local bank was known for its strong community banking culture. Collectively, our assets totaled $170 million at the time.

In 2004, we expanded to Grand Forks.  Investing in this new community was our first priority and in 2008, we provided specialized funding to for the Grand Forks Park District in their development of the region’s premier wellness center, Choice Health & Fitness.

Expanding into North Dakota’s largest city, we opened a location in Fargo in 2006. Coupled with our location in West Fargo, we continue to enhance our presence in this area.

In 2014, Great Plains National Bank joined Choice Bank with locations in Dickinson, Belfield, South Heart, LaMoure, and Ellendale and assets of $210 million. This allowed us to expand our footprint into new areas, blazing a trail we would follow into western North Dakota.

We continued our path of growth in 2014 by opening a location in Bismarck and expanding our insurance team in Fargo and Dickinson. The Bismarck opening took less than 90 days, which allowed us to make a significant impact on our capital’s vibrant and growing city. The expansion of our insurance services built upon our commercial and business insurance expertise.

In 2015, we further enhanced both our traditional and non-traditional financial services with the acquisition of Northland Financial and Fremling & Associates and a partnership with Great Plains Financial Group.

Northland Financial enabled us to further expand our presence in Bismarck as well as locations in Steele and Medina. With this connection between east and west locations along the I-94 corridor, Choice was positioned as the sixth largest community banking organization (by asset size) in North Dakota.

Fremling & Associates is a Fargo-based financial services company that has been serving the region since 1996. We now have the ability to additionally serve businesses throughout the Midwest in designing comprehensive employee benefit plans. Their expertise in this area, coupled with our Health Savings Account (HSA) product, provides our partner businesses the opportunity to offer their employees competitive benefit plans.

Great Plains Financial Group, now Choice Wealth, has been advising clients since 2002 by providing a full suite of financial management services including estate planning, financial planning, retirement planning, life insurance and much more. With more than fifteen wealth managers and a presence in nearly all our locations, Choice Wealth supports the needs of clients and businesses across our entire footprint and beyond.

In 2017, Choice Wealth continued to strengthen our coverage in western North Dakota by partnering with Gilchrist & Fettig. Based in Bismarck and Beulah, Gilchrist & Fettig have a strong history of providing financial products and services to individuals and businesses throughout the region.

In 2018, our path of growth led us into the Minneapolis, Minnesota area through a partnership with Venture Bank. With four locations in Bloomington, Eagan, Golden Valley, and Roseville, this partnership allowed us to provide our #PeopleFirst service to a new and exciting market as well as expand our resources in our existing markets. While we have grown and changed throughout the years, one thing remains the same – our commitment to our local communities and the people and businesses we serve.

Most recently, we announced a partnership with Northern Capital Insurance Group giving us the chance to grow our presence in the Twin Cities market and expand our insurance expertise with an agency that has the same dedication to putting PeopleFirst. Northern Capital Insurance Group was founded in 1978 and their team of over 35 experienced agents brings our current insurance coverage to over 11,000 clients in 43 states.

Our proud history displays Choice Bank’s forward-thinking, proven record of stability and reliability. Guided by our People First approach—we’re proud that our roots are local, decisions are local and our leadership is local. Whether you are saving for your children’s education, buying your first home or providing your employees with amazing benefits, we want to be part of the most significant moments in your life.

Guided by our People First approach—we’re proud that our roots are local, decisions are local and our leadership is local. Our executive team and board of directors are represented in communities throughout our footprint and are the ones that lead our innovation and drive our passion.

Our board of directors are comprised of entrepreneurs and experienced bankers that help support the foundation of our organization. They are individuals that recognize there was a better way to do banking and are committed to supporting and expanding the People First way.

Meet our Executive Leadership Team     Meet our Board of Directors

 

Our Story

Core Values

Create personal and professional growth opportunities.

Better the places we live.

Respect ourselves and others.

Embrace change and encourage innovation.

Know when to ask for help and know when to offer help.

Smile, be helpful and be passionate.

Commit to our customers with undivided attention.

Keep everyone’s personal and financial information confidential.

Complete our work timely and accurately.

Seek and share knowledge.

Strengthen shareholder value.

Work hard. Do the right thing. Have a little fun!

Our Core Values in Action

Like what you see?

Join our team!

We need amazing people to deliver our #PeopleFirst style of banking. Our employees support our customers, and each other, every day. We firmly believe it begins with our culture, our values, and our benefits. Check out our current openings.

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Community Involvement

Bettering the Places We Live

We’re dedicated to enhancing the quality of life and economic viability of local families and businesses.  Through our annual hospice events, charitable giving campaigns, and our partnerships with programs that provide financial assistance in low-to-moderate income areas and underserved markets, reinvesting in our communities has always been a focus of ours. And we are so proud to have employees dedicated to giving back.
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Executive Leadership Team

Brian L. Johnson

Chief Executive Officer

Lisa Artz

EVP, Director of Corporate Relations

Travis Barkve

EVP, Chief Strategy & Operations Officer

Mike Boub

President, Choice Financial Services

Tony Gudajtes

EVP, Ag Market President

Crystal Hatcher

EVP, Chief Risk Officer

Tim Heilman

EVP, Chief Brand & Innovation Officer

Brian P. Johnson

EVP, Chief Operating Officer

Tim Karsky

President, Choice Bank North Dakota

Kara Lombard

EVP, Chief People Strategies Officer

Gwen Stanley

EVP, Director of Finance

Mike Zenk

President, Choice Bank Minnesota

Board of Directors

Joe Bata

Director

Tom Campbell

Director

Erv Inniger

Director

Brian L. Johnson

Director

Rodger Johnson

Director

Susan Mathison, MD

Director

Lauris Molbert

Director

Candace Muggerud

Director

Clay Swanson

Director

Craig Tweten

Director

George Wald

Chairman

Mike Zenk

Director