Fargo, ND (January 7, 2021) – Rodney Jordahl, chief financial officer at Bell Bank since 1999, retired Dec. 31 after guiding the company’s finances through more than two decades of growth and change.
A Fargo, N.D., native and a graduate of Minnesota State University – Moorhead, Jordahl joined what was then State Bank of Fargo, Moorhead and West Fargo after previous roles with Metropolitan Federal, Dakota and Gate City banks. State Bank had $502 million in assets at the time. Today, Bell Bank is one of the nation’s largest independently owned banks, with more than $8.5 billion in total assets.
During Jordahl’s tenure, he helped steer Bell Bank through significant events including post-9/11 financial challenges (and later the Great Recession), the acquisition of Northern Capital Trust (and its merger with the 3 banks into State Bank & Trust), the bank’s expansion into the Minnesota lakes area; strategic acquisitions, particularly Bell Mortgage in 2011 (after which the company adopted the Bell Bank name) and Warner & Company Insurance (now Bell Insurance) in 2019; the 2016 launch of Bell’s employee stock ownership plan (ESOP); and Bell’s ongoing growth in the Twin Cities metro, Arizona and other new markets.
Bell Bank chairman Richard Solberg described Jordahl as providing behind-the-scenes advice and guidance over decades of working together.
“Rod was so good at all the details, he would just quietly get it done without fanfare,” Solberg said. “But his role has been critically important to our company.”
Michael Solberg, Bell’s president and CEO, said the company benefited from Rod’s patient and steady leadership through the past several decades of tremendous expansion and growth.
“When you look at all the changes he’s seen, Rod has had simply an amazing run at Bell,” said Michael Solberg. “Not only does Rod have accounting and financial skills second to none, but for many years, he also had all of the bank’s operations and technology under his wing. Today, all the roles Rod had previously are split among at least five leaders in finance, operations, IT and on our bank and holding company boards. Bell’s ownership and staff have been privileged to have Rod’s wise guidance all these years.”
With Jordahl’s retirement, Blake Nelson has been named chief financial officer (CFO) and Carrie Bjorge SVP/controller for Bell Bank.
“Blake and Carrie have already moved into their new roles over the past year,” said Michael Solberg, “and have had the benefit of consulting with Rod throughout 2020 with its unique challenges. Our company’s financial side continues to be in good hands as we look to the future.”
Nelson, a native of Pelican Rapids, Minn., and a graduate of Concordia College in Moorhead, Minn., joined the bank in 1998 and was named controller in 2003. He lives in Fargo with his wife and their 3 children.
Originally from Alexandria, Minn., Bjorge also graduated from Concordia College. She joined Bell Bank in 2015 as assistant controller and has been in the banking field for 20 years. She lives in Fargo with her husband and their son.
Bell Bank (Member FDIC) was founded in 1966 in Fargo, N.D., and has full-service banking locations in North Dakota, Minnesota and Arizona, as well as mortgage offices around the country. The company provides a broad range of financial services, including personal and commercial banking, wealth management, mortgage and insurance.