Dakota Community Bank stays personal
HEBRON—The Dakota Community Bank at Hebron prides itself as being a locally owned, hometown bank.
"Community is our middle name and we take that very seriously," said Joy Kitzan, senior vice president. "We understand the importance of community—really it's the responsibility of all banks to serve their communities."
Dakota Community Bank has 11 branches in nine communities—Hebron, Glen Ullin, Bismarck (two), Dickinson (two), Mandan, Lincoln, Bowman, New Leipzig and Taylor.
"Hebron is still the main bank—it always was and remains so—the main office is at Hebron," she said.
In the beginning
The history of banking in Hebron dates back to the pioneer days when three banks operated in the city. The First National Bank operated from 1901 until 1940 when the name was changed to the Security Bank. Even then, the bank operated with two paying and receiving stations at Taylor and Glen Ullin. A new building was opened in 1959 and in 1972, the adjoining building was purchased. A third adjoining building in added in 2006.
In 1991, the Security Bank of Hebron was purchase by the current ownership core group with Dale Pahlke and Stan Sayler as majority shareholders.
"Community involvement is a priority that Dale and Stan have always emphasized," Kitzan said. "Whether it's monetary contributions by the bank to school or civic projects or our employees sharing their time and talent in local organizations, we recognize the need to give back."
The relationship between the bank and community is reciprocal.
"We need each other to survive," she continued. "Agriculture is a vital industry for our area so we're also strong supporters of 4-H and FFA in addition to Farm Rescue and similar groups."
Being in a rural area creates a greater need for everyone to work together—DCB's Hebron location has 23 employees who live in Hebron and surrounding communities.
"Our staff members are on the ambulance squad and fire departments, church and school organizations and civic groups," Kitzan said.
Banking in a smaller community requires a balancing act between the convenience of online banking and hometown service.
"Even though banking has evolved from banking 'in person' to mobile and online banking, customer service is still a priority for us," she said. "We are here for our customers when they come to the bank or call—there's no phone maze to go through to get to a real person who can help."
"We pride ourselves as being an independent community bank—as more mergers take place, we try to maintain a personal level of service," she said. "We're a full service bank—we focus on all those traditional banking services—checking, savings, certificates, loans of every kind, wealth management, trust services. Dickinson and Bismarck have wealth management departments—we will make arrangements to meet them here."
The dedication to the company is apparent in longevity of employees.
"A majority of our employees have been here for more than 10 years and many over 20 years... Three of us have 25 years this year—all under one roof," she said.
Kitzan has devoted 35 years to banking, 25 being with Dakota Community.
"There's always challenges, but definitely no limitations as to what we're able to do as an employee—it's something Stan and Dale reiterate to new hires—we don't care if you have a master's degree or a high school education, if you're willing to work, you won't be held back."
In addition to full service banking, Dakota Community offers a Good Neighbor Club for customers age 50 and older.
"A lot of people like this as an outlet to get together with other customers, not just our branch, but all the branches. It's not all trips, there are card parties, seminars, all kinds of things. My mom loves the Good Neighbor Club."
Because the bank is so entwined with the community, it also shares the ups and downs of the ag and oil industries.
"We share those experiences—it's a cyclical thing, always has been, always will. We try to help people through the hard times, we work with them— it's a routine going back for generations," she said.