Officially known as First State Bank since 1938, our three locations are all nestled in North Dakota’s legendary Red River Valley: Buxton, Thompson, and Grand Forks. Our respected business and mortgage lenders and personal bankers strive to enhance your banking experience with unparalleled service and the best products available today, while building relationships based on our tradition of a friendly, small-town bank.
From our mobile app and online banking to a variety of personal, business, and agricultural products and services, we strive to offer all of the convenient and innovative banking services essential to your lifestyle.
First State Bank is known for supporting farmers and the agricultural industry throughout the Red River Valley, arguably one of the most productive agricultural areas in the world. We’re proud to be a part of this heritage and committed to investing in the future of the industry.
Records for First State Bank date back to 1879, when North Dakota was still a part of Dakota Territory. Opened by L.G. Phelps, the bank was sold to A.L. Hanson, A.L. Plummer, and O.S. Hanson in 1884, and chartered as the Bank of Buxton in 1885. It obtained a national charter in 1916 when it became First National Bank. In 1938, the name was changed to First State Bank of Buxton, which lasted until 1985, when it became First State Bank.
Several banks in the surrounding area became a part of this bank, including the addition of Farmers State Bank in Buxton in 1927 and First State Bank of Thompson in 1936, and in 1939 the deposits and liabilities of the State Bank of Reynolds were assumed. When he was just 22 years old, O.S. Hanson became the first president of First State Bank and remained in that office for 56 years. The Hanson family also had banking interests in many North Dakota and Minnesota towns.
A notable member of the early board of directors was Buxton’s first physician, Dr. James Grassick, who later moved to Grand Forks, but continued to serve as a bank director. Dr. Grassick was known for his work in the fight against tuberculosis, and Camp Grassick, located near Dawson, ND, which serves handicapped children, is named in his honor.
Two armed robberies are part of the bank’s history. The first occurred in 1928 when three men made off with $8,500 after locking a salesman, a customer, and three bank employees in the vault. In the second robbery, three robbers entered the bank, took a woman and her daughter hostage, and fired shots over the heads of some men who were across the street. Leonard Hanson, bank cashier and son of O.S. Hanson, apparently tried to activate the tear gas system that had been installed following the earlier robbery before he was shot and killed. The robbers made off with $1,000, spreading tacks and nails on the road as they fled. These armed robberies and a 1959 burglary at the Thompson branch remain unsolved; however, fingerprints of a man found at the bottom of a well in Oklahoma matched those found at the Thompson bank. Apparently this man, who was on the “Ten Most Wanted List”, had been thrown into the well by his partners.
The stone building in Buxton, used from 1882 to 1976, was turned over to the Buxton Historical Society following construction of the new bank building. The bullet holes from the robbery are still evident. Through its long history, there have been many changes, but the bank has had only four presidents. O.S. Hanson was president for 56 years, followed by S.N. Lommen in 1940. He served until 1972, when the bank was sold to a group of area investors including current Chairman of the Board, Paul H. Marchell. The bank’s current president is John D. Marchell. The past thirty years have been a time of growth for the bank; starting with $1.1 million in assets and growing to over $100 million in assets today. They operated out of buildings in Buxton and Thompson that lacked plumbing and air conditioning, before constructing new buildings in Buxton in 1977 and Thompson in 1978, and when the bank expanded into Grand Forks with a new facility in 1997.
First State Bank has served the area for more than 120 years. With new technology changing the manner in which business is conducted, the bank still continues to maintain a hometown feeling in the expanded trade area. Greeting customers on a first-name basis has always been and will continue to be important to First State Bank.
If you are interested in employment opportunities with First State Bank, contact us for more information and current job openings.