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Ramsey National Bank celebrating 125th b’day

By Staff | Sep 8, 2017

Ramsey National Bank is celebrating its 125th anniversary. Scott Thompson, CEO of Ramsey National Bank stated, “Banking has changed significantly in the past 125 years. In the early days, there wasn’t a computer so everything was done by hand, now checks can be deposited by using a smartphone. Our bank was lending money to farmers who used horses to plant their crops. Farmers back then would be amazed with the machinery and technology used to grow the crops now.” Ramsey has withstood many trying times including the stock market crash in 1929 and the 1930’s when many banks were forced to close. During World War II Ramsey met its quota each year for the sale of War Bonds and actively promoted the community effort to back the nationwide war effort. The bank did the processing of ration coupons for gas, meat, sugar and coffee for the residents of the Lake Region.

Ramsey has an interesting history as it was founded in 1892 by C.M. Fisher and was first known as Ramsey County State Bank. Fisher worked in Minnesota with James Hill, the Empire Builder. After moving to North Dakota, Fisher farmed north of Devils Lake. As the Great Northern Railroad progressed west, Hill told Fisher where to homestead on a quarter of land. The railroad passed through this quarter, where Churchs Ferry is now located. The sale of town lots helped Mr. Fisher start Ramsey County State Bank in 1892.

In 1901, it became Ramsey County National Bank. While the name has changed over the years, it hasn’t changed the way Ramsey National Bank does business..

C.M. Fisher, the founder of the bank, served as president until 1919 when his son Blanding Fisher succeeded him and served until his death in 1949. Clyde Duffy became the interim president and in 1950 Fred Hoghaug was named president. Fred served through the rapid expansion years of the bank until his retirement as president in 1978. Lynn M. Hoghaug, his son, became president until 1998 when Scott Thompson, the current CEO took over.

“The stability of the leadership has been a key factor in the success of our bank. To be in business for 125 years and only have five Presidents is pretty remarkable.” stated Thompson. Ramsey is known for being an employer of choice. They have several employees who have spent their entire career working at the bank, 20, 30 and even over 40 years. “When you stop and take a look at our staff, the longevity is amazing. It’s not just one or two people that have been working here a long time, it’s many and from several different areas within the bank.”

Thompson attributes being family friendly, providing competitive wages and benefits, offering advancement opportunities and having an excellent retirement plan as reason why people have stayed for so long. “Plus, our staff really enjoys the relationships they have formed with our customers.” stated Thompson.

In 2007, majority interest of the bank was purchased by its Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) from the Hoghaug family. Being employee-owned means bank personnel have a vested interest in the bank’s performance and success and this was important to the Hoghaug family.

“The Hoghaug family has been very generous over the years and this purchase was one more way they have supported the employees and community. They wanted the employees to own the bank so the jobs would remain in the communities we serve.” said Thompson.

Throughout the years, Ramsey has grown and added branches in other communities. In 1987, Farmers State Bank in Maddock along with its branch in Esmond was acquired. In September of 1990, two offices of Midwest Federal were acquired, one in Fargo and one in Cando. Ramsey opened the first supermarket bank in North Dakota in 1992 at Leevers County Market in Devils Lake. In 1992, a branch was opened in Rolla and in 1990 Farmers and Merchants bank of Sheyenne was acquired. Branches were acquired in Cavalier, Rugby and Bottineau in 1995. Ramsey National Bank currently has locations in Cando, Maddock Cavalier, Rugby and Fargo and two in Devils Lake.

The current employees of Ramsey National Bank in Rugby are Sandy Wolf, Wanda Brossart and Karen Tiegen. Please join them on September 14th from 11:00 -1:00 for a Community Picnic to celebrate.

“We understand what it takes to make a strong community and we want to be a part of it.” Thompson said. “The residents of the communities we serve have supported us and in turn, we want to support them.”

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