The Bank of North Dakota: What a Bank Should Be

It’s been a heated election season. When the political dogfights get all the attention, it’s easy to forget that there good policies and institutions out there that receive bipartisan praise, are working well, and deserve to be built upon.

The Bank of North Dakota is an important example. Founded in 1919 in response to a credit crisis that threatened that state’s agrarian economy, the Bank of North Dakota is now a revered institution credited with helping keep the state solvent and growing while many others are struggling with the effects of the current recession.

North Dakota’s state-owned bank takes North Dakota money and puts in back to work for small businesses and communities throughout the state. It does this by partnering with the state’s private banking sector, who in turn provide loans to small businesses. Through the capital it provides, the Bank of North Dakota generates jobs – one factor in the state having the lowest unemployment rate in the country.

On top of all this, the bank generates a profit for the state – and North Dakota was one of the only states that did not have a revenue shortfall this year. And its community banking sector is thriving. In contrast to most other states, there have been no bank failures in North Dakota since the recession began.

It’s no surprise, then, that the Bank of North Dakota gets a lot of support from across the board: private banks, elected officials, and small businesses. It’s an institution that works well for everyone: the state, its people, and its banking sector. Remarkably, its something that everyone can agree on – and idea that a lot of other states could afford to bank on.

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