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Bell is the largest independently owned bank in the upper Midwest, and one of the largest in the nation, with assets of more than $4.5 billion and business in 50 states – thanks to our many loyal customers, whose confidence in us has led to growth and opportunity.
When Bell Bank opened its doors in 1966 with a single location in a north Fargo shopping center, our founders couldn't have dreamed of the growth the company would have. For decades, having happy employees and happy customers has been at the heart of the organization. Our values – being a family, treating our customers well and making our community a better place – are at the core of all we do.
Bell Bank began 50 years ago as State Bank of Fargo. Now one of the country's largest privately owned banks, we still embrace a simple, yet powerful bottom line: "Happy Employees! Happy Customers!"
With this as our mission, core values of family, unequaled service and giving back are at the heart of what we do. Employees and customers alike are treated like family, and Bell is recognized as a top place to work and to do business. We're a place where people matter, and results matter. That's the Bell difference.
Pictured are (standing) Julie Snortland, Richard Solberg, (seated) Michael Solberg and Laura Snortland Fairfield.
This unique program has empowered more than $8 million in giving.
See a timeline of our bank's growth over the years.
Thomas “Buck” Snortland, one of the founders of State Bank of Fargo, was instrumental in helping set the tone for the company’s employee- and customer-friendly culture. Snortland family members have remained major shareholders ever since. Buck’s son, Thomas “Mickey” Snortland, was a dedicated board member for four decades and helped create the bank’s “bottom line” statement: “Happy Employees! Happy Customers!” His wife, Julie, was named to the holding company board of directors following Mickey’s passing in early 2013. Mickey’s sister Laura Snortland Fairfield is also a major shareholder and a longtime holding company board member.
To honor Mickey's memory, Bell employees annually travel to his farmland to pick rocks to be used in our branches. In addition, a unique piece of 3-D artwork in Bell Bank’s boardroom depicts our company’s past, present and future.
Richard Solberg joined Bell Bank as its president in 1982 and remains the company's chairman. In partnership with the Snortland family as a major shareholder with his son, Michael, he has helped guide the bank through tremendous growth, while maintaining a people-focused culture. Michael Solberg has served as Bell's president since 2009 and was named CEO in 2015. He was the driving force behind creation of the bank's Pay It Forward program, which has empowered employees and others to give millions to those in need.
Our continued growth means more opportunities for our employees and our customers, and even greater community impact through volunteering and paying it forward. Bell's ownership remains solidly committed to growing as an independently owned bank for years to come.