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Community Bank history

In 1963, Citizens State Bank of East Grand Forks, located at 1413 Central Ave. NW, was established by a number of community-minded individuals for the purpose of serving the East Grand Forks area.

In 1963, Citizens State Bank of East Grand Forks, located at 1413 Central Ave. NW, was established by a number of community-minded individuals for the purpose of serving the East Grand Forks area.

Following the accumulation of considerable information and the addition of more sponsors for the new bank, applications were submitted to the State of Minnesota for a charter and to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. for deposit insurance. While many people made contributions of time, effort and eventually pledges, the two principal leaders of the project were Robert Foley, and Leonard Driscoll.

In 1964, the applications for both the charter and deposit insurance were approved and Citizens State Bank opened for business on July 20, 1964 in rented, temporary quarters with initial paid-in capital of $250,000 provided by 70 shareholders.

These quarters were in the Vernon Hagen Potato office building located across the street from Sandy Weekley's Auto Wrecking. The bank's first saving account was opened by Robert McWalter, an area farmer.

By a ruling of the Commissioner of Banks for the State of Minnesota, the charter for Citizens State Bank was approved on the condition that it locate its building west of Highway 220 North to avoid conflict with an already existing bank. This initial limitation eventually proved beneficial for the bank because of the subsequent growth of commercial business on Highway 220 North.


Soon thereafter Citizens State Bank made several changes to its building with the addition of a parking lot, drive-up window, night depository, as well as other remodeling.

At the first shareholders meeting the following persons were elected to serve on its board of directors: Leonard Driscoll, Robert Foley, Delmar Ogden, Walter Pulkrabek, Lyman Brink, Robert Nelson, Herbert Paulson and Richard Wiley.

The beginning staff included Grace Larson, Ann Straus, Alice Armstrong and Richard Wiley.

On Dec. 31, 1964, Citizens State Bank's assets were at $981,000 and its capital at $240,000.

In 1972, economic steps were taken in the East Grand Forks area and the Red River Valley when sugar beet growers purchased the American Crystal Sugar Co. Citizens State Bank was pleased to provide funding to customer growers allowing them to purchase their individual shares of beet stock.

During 1979, Citizens State Bank marked its 15-year anniversary with an open house showcasing its five newly installed drive-up windows.

In 1982, Citizens State Bank initiated a fund drive for a proposed Industrial Park in East Grand Forks, by offering the first pledge of $10,000.

During 1985, the first phase of an extensive remodeling project began with a 90-foot-by-24-foot addition to the west side of the building.


In 1986, Citizens State Bank completed the second phase of its remodeling project by rearranging and redecorating its entire bank lobby.


July 20, 1964 - Citizens State Bank opened for business in East Grand Forks.

Jan. 31, 1991 - Frandsen Financial Corporation purchased Citizens State Bank.

July 1, 1996 - Citizens State Bank - East Grand Forks merged with Peoples State Bank Warren, Minn., to become Rural American Bank.

April 10, 2001 - Rural American Bank -South Point office opened for business.

July 1, 2001 - Valley State Bank - Oslo merged with EGF and Warren to become a branch of Rural American Bank.

Aug. 29, 2003 - Rural American Bank merged with Community National Bank - Grand Forks to become Community Bank of the Red River Valley.


July 1, 2005 - Rural American Bank - Ada merged with Community Bank of the Red River Valley.

In 2005, Community Bank's East Grand Forks building underwent another major remodeling. The project had two main goals, the first goal was to redesign the lobby and teller area. The building was built in 1965 when banking was dramatically different.

The lobby was completely re-worked. The number of teller stations was reduced to four. "We now have two traditional style teller windows and two teller windows that allow the customers to sit while conducting their transactions." Said current President Oscar "Keith" Sutherland.

The lobby changes were inspired by the desire for all customer contact personnel such as tellers, customer service representatives, and lenders to have a clear view of the lobby. This change benefits both the customer and the employee. Offices were also created for the customer service representatives to provide greater customer privacy.

The second goal of the project was to expand the building. "This additional space was needed to provide offices for our operations department and training facilities for our staff ," Sutherland said. The new square footage also provided extra office space that will allow for future growth. - Submitted by Community Bank of the Red River Valley.

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