Keynote: Eric Hardmeyer, Bank of North Dakota

California Public Banking Alliance’s March 30th Town Hall, The Nuts & Bolts of Opening Public Banks in California

Eric Hardmeyer, recently retired after 21 years as CEO of the Bank of North Dakota detailed the aspects of the Bank of North Dakota he considers responsible for its endurance and its success. He was cautious to not, as he put it, “bash private banking,” saying “a partnership approach rather than a competitive approach with the private sector is a hallmark, founding principal of the Bank of North Dakota.”  To emphasize its role as a banker’s bank, he cited one of its original commitments; “To be helpful and to assist in the development of financial institutions and public corporations within the state and not in any manner to destroy or be harmful to existing financial institutions.” 

As a result, BND has, he emphasized, been a force to stabilize regional and community banking, saying that in the Crash of 2008, “we had no bank defaults in North Dakota. Zero!”   

BND grew from a $1.6 billion bank to a $7.4 billion bank under Hardemeyer’s leadership, and is today a $10 billion bank, which, he explained was achieved through profitability and retention of earnings. The bank currently holds around $1 billion in retained earnings. At the same time, it has been able to provide budget support to the State and in 2015 paid a special dividend of more than $100 million to the North Dakota general fund.