Return to Home Page











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 Bemidji area.

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 1979.

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 December 1986.

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 Bemidji community. 

Growing with you - A Partnership for Generations



Copyright 2012,  First National Bank of Bemidji

Home Page | Personal Banking | Business Banking | About Us | Contact Us
Investments | Disclosures | Privacy NoticeElectronic Banking | Apply Online

FARIN - Bank & Credit Union Website Design and Hosting