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Bank Forward celebrating 90 years

Bank Forward is celebrating 90 years this year. The business was founded as Security State Bank of Hannaford in 1927 by A. C. Brown and later expanded to other communities. Submitted

Bank Forward is celebrating 90 years this year.  

A customer and community appreciation lunch at Bank Forward, Jamestown, will be from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 7. The event is free and open to the public.

Bank Forward is located at 400 2nd Ave. SW, Jamestown. At the same location, Insure Forward offers personal and commercial insurance solutions. Tax Forward provides tax preparation and accounting services. Investment services are also available from Invest Forward. Tory Hart serves as market president.

Bank Forward got its start in 1927 in Hannaford, N.D. Founder A. C. Brown, had a simple formula for success: “Take care of the customer!,” which the bank has followed for 90 years and will use in the future.

Brown founded Security State Bank of Hannaford with $25,000 in assets. W. O. “Bill” Brown joined his father, A. C., and two other employees in 1948. Bill Brown’s son, Mark, joined the bank in 1975.

On its 50th anniversary in 1977, the bank held $9.5 million in assets.

Banks in Wimbledon and New Rockford were acquired in 1979 and 1991, respectively. In 1991, the three banks merged to become Security State Bank of North Dakota. Mark Brown became president. In 1993, a bank in Carrington was purchased and a charter to open a branch in Cooperstown was obtained. The Jamestown branch opened in 1995, and a bank branch opened in Valley City in 1998.

The Brown family expanded ownership to employees through an employee stock ownership plan in 2000.

On its 75th anniversary, Security State Bank of North Dakota celebrated with 100 employees and $160 million in assets. In 2003, Mark Brown became CEO and Tom Watson became president.

Security State Bank of North Dakota acquired a bank in Walker, Minn., in 2006.

In 2007, Security State Bank of North Dakota changed its name to Bank Forward. Bank branches in Grand Forks and Bemidji, Minn., opened.

That same year, three insurance agencies were acquired: Insure Forward with offices in Jamestown, Hannaford, New Rockford, Cooperstown, Carrington, and Valley City; IPS Incorporated in Bemidji, Minnesota; and FPM Insurance Agency, Inc. with offices in Fargo and Grand Forks. The agencies consolidated as Insure Forward in 2008. Also in 2008, Tax Forward was established with the acquisition of Rene and Associates in Jamestown.

Forward Foundation, a separate registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit stand-alone organization, was founded in 2012. Its mission is to enhance the lives of children in communities served by Bank Forward, Insure Forward, Invest Forward and Tax Forward exclusively.  

In 2013, an investment firm in Bagley was acquired.

Today, with more than 220 employees and over $545 million in assets, Bank Forward has 12 bank branches, 11 Insure Forward agency offices, two Tax Forward offices, and six Invest Forward offices.