With roots dating back to 1879, Alerus has been serving individuals, families, and businesses with one core belief: Everything we do should be in the best interest of our customers. Our proud history of perseverance and prosperity owes a great deal to the customer-focused approach we’ve held since day one.
One of the earliest banks to do business in the Dakota Territory, Alerus was committed to helping its customers make Grand Forks the commercial, educational, and cultural center of the region. The importance of our bank to Grand Forks was never so apparent as it was in the 1930s during the Great Depression, when we chose to stand by our neighbors and work through difficult times together. By shouldering the financial responsibility with our employees, customers, businesses, and the town as a whole, our company proved it was an institution vital to the community, operating with the trust of our friends and neighbors. This relationship with the community would serve us well as the 20th century came to a close and a new generation faced new challenges.
In the spring of 1997, the dikes in Grand Forks failed, flooding 75 percent of the city, including the entire downtown area. The flood paralyzed many downtown businesses, and our company was no exception. Following the initial floodwaters, a fire tore through downtown Grand Forks, completely gutting the bank buildings. With the unfaltering help of our employees, we exhibited a resiliency that kept the company—and everything it stood for—alive. With the community counting on them, employees counted on each other to ensure the company would survive to help during this time of stress and upheaval.
This recovery and rebuilding process provided an opportunity for growth and expansion. In 2000, our board made the strategic decision to change the company’s name to Alerus Financial. With Latin origins expressing ‘to take flight,’ the new name perfectly aligned with the board’s vision for the company, reflecting our evolution from a traditional bank to a total financial services company. Since the name change, Alerus Financial has tripled in size, added comprehensive mortgage and retirement services, and expanded into two major markets. Today, Alerus continues to operate true to the words that have guided us going back to the early days of Grand Forks: Always in your best interest. To us, this is more than just a slogan—it’s something we truly believe in. We take pride in helping customers wherever they are on life’s journey. And we mean it when we say: “It’s our purpose to help you achieve yours.”