Hjelle graduates from Dakota School of Banking

She is employed by Unison Bank.

Niki Hjelle 22.jpg
Niki Hjelle recently graduated from the Dakota School of Banking.
Contributed / Unison Bank
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Niki Hjelle, Unison Bank loan operations specialist in Jamestown, recently graduated from the Dakota School of Banking.

The Dakota School of Banking is sponsored by the North Dakota Bankers Association and endorsed by the South Dakota Bankers Association. In its 48th year, the school trained 63 bank personnel on the University of Jamestown campus in Jamestown.

Students like Hjelle are enrolled for two years and attend the school for one week each summer. Hjelle was invited to attend by Unison Bank President and CEO Kelly Rachel. The first year provides an overview of the banking industry and departments that make up a bank. Second-year students build on their banking knowledge and add a computerized bank management simulation to reinforce technical and functional management skills.

School instructors included bankers, attorneys, accountants and financial industry consultants. The sessions combined lectures, hands-on activities, a computerized banking simulation and testing.

“When first enrolling in the Dakota School of Banking, I was most intrigued by the multi-dimensional educational experience that they provide their students with,” Hjelle said. “Dakota School of Banking was an amazing experience. I came away with a wealth of knowledge and a greater appreciation for our management team.”


Hjelle said she broadened her knowledge of day-to-day bank operations and processes and enhanced her current performance in her role with the customers and colleagues she serves.

“Early on in my career at Unison Bank, I have been open with our management team regarding my career goals," she said. "They have provided me with opportunities for growth, like the Dakota School of Banking, and have allowed for me to grow and advance within the organization.”

Rachel said Unison's employees are its greatest asset and that is why it makes an effort to invest in them.

Hjelle joined the Unison Bank team in September of 2009 as an ag and commercial loan processor. In addition to her current and first roles at Unison Bank, she has previously been a mortgage loan specialist and audit and compliance specialist. Hjelle moved into her current role with the bank in 2021.

The Dakota School of Banking provides a focused education for bankers who seek a better understanding of the industry and advancement in their careers, said Dorthy Lick, NDBA senior vice president of education.

For more information about Unison Bank or career opportunities, visit or call (701) 253-5600.

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