“Promoting and sustaining a family atmosphere is part of the culture of Bell State Bank and Trust,” shared Bob Buth, President of Bell State Bank & Trust – Moorhead. Family culture was a guiding premise from the very beginning. Thomas “Buck” Snortland, one of the founders of State Bank of Fargo in 1966, was instrumental in helping set the tone for the company’s employee- and customer-friendly culture, which has served the organization well over the years.
“Family is a very important part of our everyday life and should not be taken for granted,” continued Buth. He has a special perspective on the importance of family. As a young 20-year old, he became the household leader of his three younger siblings after the passing of his parents. A hardship that might overwhelm some, Buth rose to the occasion. The experience taught him compassion and empathy for others that has served him well throughout life, especially in his work at the Bell organization.
Growing up in Barnesville, Buth attended public school and was active in sports and other activities. He describes his school year experience as positive and Barnesville as a good place to grow up. He enrolled at MSUM and graduated with a finance degree. However, typical of many college graduates, Buth was exploring his career options and personal contacts can make all of the difference. According to Buth, he was in the lobby of the First National Bank in Barnesville doing some personal business when bank president Ken Just asked for a few minutes of his time. Buth credits Just and their ongoing conversations that eventually led Just to hiring him in 1979, which was the start of a 35-year banking career. “I owe much to Ken for getting me started in the industry,” explained Buth.
Family continues to be a very important part of his life. Buth and his wife Deb have been married for 33 years. They are extremely grateful for their four grown children and their four grandchildren. “I am very proud of my wife and children. They have made my life fulfilling and the grandkids are truly a bonus,” explained Buth.
The past 18 years at Bell State Bank have been a career highlight for Buth. “It’s a great place to work,” he shared. As an independently owned bank, Bell has a great culture with a relaxed, yet professional atmosphere that allows for interacting with co-workers and customers on a personal level. This level of satisfaction is possible he adds, because Bell Bank is rare in that it is a relatively large bank with local, private ownership. The Pay It Forward program is one of such example of their belief that if they do the right thing for their customers, community, and employees, the bottom line will take care of itself.
The Pay It Forward program is well known throughout the area. The program provides employees $500 to $1,000 to give to an individual, family, organization, or cause of their choosing. To date, more than $5.6 million has been given to others less fortunate and to organizations that help support our community.
It demonstrates said Buth, that Bell State Bank & Trust’s simple philosophy is embodied in our unique “Bottom Line” statement: Happy Employees! Happy Customers!” These gifts change the lives not only of those who receive them, but also of the givers. Each time we Pay It Forward, we are blessed many times over.
President Bell State Bank Trust – Moorhead
1333 8th Street South, Moorhead, MN 56560