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.

People First. Banking Second.

Choice is more than just a bank. As a People First organization, we provide a wide array of innovative financial solutions to make banking and managing finances easily accessible from anywhere. Our People First approach to financial services starts with your best interests in mind. We work alongside you to achieve your goals and celebrate your growth as an individual or business. Your success is our success.

We are a supportive team of trusted partners who will get to know you and what you’re passionate about to understand your challenges and help you succeed. From banking to insurance and succession planning to employee benefits, we are committed to helping our customers grow.

Choice Bank’s journey began in November of 2001 as a small group of people driven by these values. Momentum grew and we are now over 400 team members strong with assets over $3 billion. Choice Bank has since been recognized as one of the fastest-growing banks in America and one of the best banks to work for in the U.S.

As technology continues to shape the future and how we do business, Choice Bank remains true to our roots and is committed to serving businesses and farmers in our communities. We are proud to be the #1 ag bank in North Dakota. By continuing to invest in people and technology, Choice has become a leading Fintech sponsor bank delivering flexible and accessible online banking services with a People First approach, globally. We partner with Fintechs that share Choice’s passion for serving our communities and those who do not have ready access to banking services. This presents an incredible opportunity for Choice Bank to extend our community banking heart to a larger community.

Choice Bank is dedicated to enhancing the quality of life and economic viability of families and businesses in the communities we serve. Through our annual fundraising events, charitable giving campaigns, and partnerships with programs that provide financial assistance in low-to-moderate income areas and underserved markets, investing in our communities and bettering the places we live has always been our primary focus.

Where We Come From

Guided by our People First approach — we’re proud that our roots are local, decisions are local, and our leadership is local in each of our 25 across North Dakota and Minnesota. From the moment we were established, Choice Bank has remained true to our community banking roots as we’ve grown to a bank with $3 billion in assets.

Humble Beginnings

Choice Bank began in 2001 with the merger of four local banks: Citizens State Bank Grafton-Petersburg (located in Grafton and Petersburg), First Capital Bank of North Dakota (located in West Fargo and Goodrich), 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.

Growth in North Dakota

In 2004, we expanded to Grand Forks and began investing in this vibrant community. We provided specialized funding to the Grand Forks Park District in 2008 for their development of the region’s premier wellness center, Choice Health & Fitness.

We opened our first Fargo location in 2006. Coupled with our West Fargo location, we continued 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. At this time our assets totaled $210 million. This partnership allowed us to expand our footprint into western North Dakota as we opened a location in Bismarck and expanded our insurance team in Dickinson and Fargo.

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

Northland Financial enabled us to expand our presence in Bismarck, Steele, and Medina. With this expansion, Choice became the sixth largest community banking organization by asset size in North Dakota.

Fremling & Associates was a Fargo-based financial services company that had been serving the region since 1996. Their expertise in comprehensive employee benefit plans, coupled with our Health Savings Account product, provided 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 with a full suite of financial management services including estate planning, financial planning, retirement planning, and life insurance.

In 2017, Choice Wealth continued to strengthen our coverage in western North Dakota by partnering with Gilchrist & Fettig in Bismarck and Beulah.

Expansion into Minnesota

In 2018, our path of growth led us into the Twin Cities through a partnership with Venture Bank. With locations in Bloomington, Eagan, Golden Valley, and Roseville, this partnership allowed us to provide our #PeopleFirst service to a new and exciting Minnesota market and expand our resources in existing markets.

Our 2019 partnership with Northern Capital Insurance Group expanded our insurance expertise and presence in the Twin Cities market. Northern Capital Insurance Group’s team of over 35 experienced agents brought our current insurance coverage to over 11,000 clients in 43 states.

In 2019, we continued our expansion into Minnesota with the opening of a new Choice Bank location in Moorhead. This new location is a full-service bank that offers services from our home loans, insurance, and wealth management divisions.

Forging Financial Technology

Choice Bank remains dedicated to bettering the places we live, now one of those places is the digital community as more consumers migrate to online banking. With Choice’s expansion into the financial technology industry, we began to provide banking services to fintech companies globally. Choice Bank partnered with Lively in 2018, an online HSA platform for employers and individuals that helps people make smart decisions about finances and healthcare.

Since first partnering with Lively in 2018, Choice Bank has gone on to partner with other fintechs, including Current, Doough, Lili, Mercury, Qube, and Unit, that offer accessible online banking services.

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. Learn more about Choice’s rich history here.

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 Leadership Team     Meet our Board of Directors


Our Story

Core Values

Better the places we live.

Embrace change and encourage innovation.

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

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

Our Core Values in Action

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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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Leadership Team

Travis Barkve

EVP, Chief Strategy & Operating Officer

Golden Valley, MN

sam berg headshot

Samantha Berg

SVP, Chief Human Resources Officer

Grand Forks, ND

Mike Boub Headshot

Mike Boub

EVP, President of Choice Financial Services

Fargo, ND

molly headshot

Molly Cook

Interim Chief Risk Officer

Golden Valley, MN


Lisa Dow

EVP, Director of Corporate Relations

Fargo, ND

John Fritz Headshot

John Fritz

EVP, President of Choice Bank Minnesota

Golden Valley, MN

Tony Gudajtes Headshot

Tony Gudajtes

EVP, Ag Market President

Grafton, ND

Tim Heilman

EVP, Chief Brand & Innovation Officer

Fargo, ND

Brian Johnson headshot

Brian L. Johnson

Chief Executive Officer

Grand Forks, ND

Brian P Johnson Headshot

Brian P. Johnson

Executive Director of Banking & Business Development

Golden Valley, MN

Jay Lies headshot

Jay Lies

EVP, President of Choice Bank North Dakota

Fargo, ND

Chris Kildahl headshot

Chris Kildahl

EVP, Chief Financial Officer

Fargo, ND

Scott LeDuc Headshot

Scott LeDuc

EVP, Chief Credit Officer

Grand Forks, ND

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Mandy Sheeley

Chief Operations Officer

Fargo, ND


Shikhar Singh

Chief Technology Officer

Golden Valley, MN

Board of Directors


Paymon Farazi


Brian Johnson headshot

Brian L. Johnson


Rodger Johnson



Susan Mathison, MD



Lauris Molbert


Candace Muggerud


Clay Swanson


George Wald Headshot

George Wald



John Wernz


Mike Zenk Headshot

Mike Zenk