History of First National Bank Bemidji
On November 17, 1897, the Bank of Bemidji
opened its doors in a small white building on the south side of Third
Street. The capital investment of $5,000.00 was equally divided
between its two owners, R.E. Davis and William H. Taber. On that
first day, there were five depositors opening checking accounts in the bank
totaling $910.00 and eighteen loans totaling $1,088.83.
By 1914, the bank had outgrown its quarters, and a new brick building
was constructed at the same location. During World War I, the total
deposits finally reached the one-million-dollar mark. The bank continued to
grow slowly, hindered by the depression during the 1930's.
In 1931, the First National Bank was purchased by Andrew and Charles
Warfield. Strength and stability has always been a concern of the
First National Bank management. Just prior to World War II, the
total deposits reached the two-million-dollar mark.
In 1945, Nick and Rudy Welle, along with Elgin Phillips and Les
Hoganson, acquired the bank from the Warfields. By 1945, deposits had
passed the five-million-dollar mark. The bank was completely remodeled in
1948. The next ten years showed continued growth of the bank and the
By 1963, total deposits had passed the seven-million-dollar mark, and the
building on Third Street was too small to accommodate the continued
growth. Construction began for a new facility on the corner of Fifth
Street and Minnesota Avenue.
The new facility was completed in 1964. It had seven inside teller
windows, two drive-up windows, large office areas and a customer parking
lot. In 1978, total assets reached fifty-five million dollars. First
National Bank Bemidji built a detached facility on Paul Bunyan Dr NW and
started an expansion project of the main office that was completed in June
By 1986, total assets were more than one hundred thirty-five million
dollars. Plans were underway for another expansion project at the
main bank facility which included moving the drive-up lanes to a new
facility across the street. First National Bank Downtown Express opened in
In 1991, First National Bank North was remodeled to provide an expanded
teller line, larger lobby, more drive-up lanes and a drive-up ATM. The expansion helped First National Bank Bemidji better serve the growing
community of Bemidji.
First National Bank South opened its doors in May, 2000.
It is located beside Lueken's Village
Foods South and provides complete financial services and allows customers
to shop and do their banking in one stop. Our inside and outside
automated teller machines provide 24 hour banking service for our customers. The south location
provides convenience for the businesses and other consumers who reside in
the south areas of Bemidji.
First National Bank Bemidji's Main Office is located at
1600 Paul Bunyan Dr NW. The office opened on February 19, 2008. There are
two drive-up ATMs. The Safe Deposit area is located on the Main floor and
is open Monday - Saturday.
First National Bank Bemidji has grown to $601 million in assets
with 110 full and part-time employees. Thomas E. Welle is President
and Chairman of the Board. The bank is rated highly
for its safety and soundness and continues its strong commitment to the
Growing with you - A
Partnership for Generations