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North Dakota: Banking On The Locals

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The Power Of Banking Locally

North Dakotas banks did not lose their collective minds in the last boom. They did not buy sub prime loans or invest in risky derivatives.

This is the story of the power of a local bank, The Bank Of North Dakota. Here your deposits literally help your neighbors business.

Today the Bank Of North Dakota is a 4 billion dollar bank, capitalized with the states earnings. It uses that money to create lending opportunities.

Governor Bill Langer created a moratorium on debt in the early 30's. The banks stopped foreclosures and allowed farmers to stay on their farms.

"A state owned bank has a different mission than a commercial bank. It's mission is to serve the people of the state." explains political scientist Dr. Rozanne Enverson Junker. "During the last 90 years the bank has returned a half a billion dollars to the states general fund. What that means is the state has been able to develop a half a billion dollars worth of programs without taxing the people of the state to do these really, in my mind, doesn't matter if it's socialism or capitalism. What matters is what works best for the people, what provides the most services at the least cost."


--Bibi Farber