By Bonnie Melbers, Dec. 8, 2018, Grand Forks Herald

The Bank of North Dakota turns 100 years old next year, but it’s just as important today as when it was founded in 1919, the bank’s executives said.

It is the only active state-owned bank in the country. In recent years, however, there has been interest in public banking, President Eric Hardmeyer said.

“There is a public banking mood that has entered into conversations around the country,” Hardmeyer said. “California is looking at it, we’ve talked to people in Oregon, Washington. Many different states have looked at this and are looking at this.”

The bank grew out of a progressive movement in the early 1900s.

“Farmers felt they weren’t getting a fair shake from the bank, the railroad or even the elevator,” Hardmeyer said.

The bank was part of the Nonpartisan League program approved by the state Legislature in 1919, which created the bank, the Industrial Mill Commission and the State Mill and Elevator.

Today the bank’s assets are $7 billion, and it is projected to have its 15th year of record profits in 2018.

The Bank of North Dakota is overseen by the Industrial Commission, which includes Gov. Doug Burgum, Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem and Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring.

The bank continues to make a difference in North Dakota’s economy, he said. It released a book on its history and limited edition coins to celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2019.

The book is authored by Mike Jacobs, a long-time journalist in the state who previously was editor-in-chief and publisher of the Herald. Titled “The Bank of North Dakota—From Surviving to Thriving,” the publication can be purchased at the Bismarck State College bookstore or online at

It was a privilege to tell the story of the bank, Jacobs said in a news release sent out by the bank. Hardmeyer said he asked Jacobs to write the book.

“This book was something we had been talking about for number of years, a coffee table type book on the bank celebrating 100 years,” Hardmeyer said. “I ran into Mike at a conference, and I know him and his great solid reputation as a writer, and so I asked him to write the book.”

The coins are available in pure silver or antique brass. There are 750 silver coins and 650 brass coins available for purchase.