By Kristen Miller
“I think we have a pretty unique story,” said Mike Seaberg, vice president of First National Bank in Cokato.
“Our bank has grown during a time period when the banking industry has contracted,” Seaberg said.
In 2012, First National Bank has put more than $11 million in loans back into the community, according to Seaberg, most of which have been agricultural or commercial in nature.
As far as residential real estate loans, “It’s our affiliation with our mortgage company that allows us to provide fixed rates to our customers,” Seaberg noted, adding that it’s a common practice in most community banks.
Something the bank is proud of is its five-star rating by Bauer Financial.
Banks are rated, with five being the highest, based on earnings, capital, and the overall financial condition of the bank, explained Seaberg. Therefore, the higher the rating, the stronger the bank.
Though the products and services may remain the same, when it comes to larger national banks, it’s “the manner in which we conduct business that differentiates us.”
The bank has been under local ownership with the Knoff family for more than 30 years, and its nine employees have been with the company anywhere from five to 30 years.
“We have the ability to know our customers and their needs,” Seaberg said, explaining the employees are, customers’ neighbors; living, shopping, and going to church in the same community.
“It takes that stability, trust, and financial strength to allow us to provide for our customers. And that feels good,” Seaberg commented.