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Recent Posts
07 Nov

While the season of cheer, joy, and family and friends are only a few weeks away, big spending and gift giving brings opportunities for fraudsters to spoil the holidays. Although there are some scams that are designed specifically for the holiday season, the truth is, most scams perpetrated during this time tend to be garden-variety fraud schemes that focus on online shopping.

04 Oct

In recognition of National Cybersecurity Month in October, Grand Rapids State Bank and the Independent Community Bankers of America® (ICBA) are reminding consumers of simple steps they can take to safeguard their sensitive data when making purchases online or via a smart device and what to do if they suspect their information has been compromised.

02 Oct

Starting December 2019, for security purposes, our email addresses and website URL will end in ‘.BANK’ instead of ‘.com’; look for the ‘.BANK’ before interacting with any email or website of ours.

22 Aug

Bill and Gail Heig have been partners in life as well as the resort business for years. They’re very certain about what makes their resort, Bowen Lodge on Lake Winnie, successful: relationships.

08 Aug

Share these tips to guide employee social media activity to help protect their personal information and that of your institution. Start with social media privacy settings so you don’t fall into the trap of oversharing.

02 Aug

Steph Gambill was hired as a Grand Rapids State Bank credit analyst in October 2015. The work she does in her job is an integral step in the process of the bank’s business loan process. Before loans are made, she and another colleague analyze and review financial information provided by prospective business customers. Using this data, she’s able to confirm the customer’s payback sources, cash flows, business trends, and determine the bank’s risk position.

23 May

The news often reports on incidents involving large corporations facing massive data breaches where the personal information of millions of consumers was potentially leaked. However, we don't often hear reports about the hacking of small businesses, mainly because these types of attacks aren't public knowledge.

06 May

As the third-generation owner of Acheson Tire, John Acheson has seen a great deal of change in his business. Not only has technology enhanced the products he sells, but the customer base has evolved dramatically, too. There is one thing John credits for the success of this business, and that hasn’t changed: a focus on customer service. 

30 Apr

When he began working at Grand Rapids State Bank in December 2014, Jeff told his colleagues on the lending team this would be the last job he holds in his banking career. “So far, so good,” Jeff commented when he was asked about his role as Chief Lending Officer. 

03 Apr

Grand Rapids, MN (April 3, 2019)—In honor of ICBA Community Banking Month in April, Grand Rapids State Bank and the Independent Community Bankers of America® (ICBA) are shining a spotlight on community banks’ role in fostering economic prosperity through expansion and innovation to meet the needs of consumers and local communities.

27 Mar


Never has the future of community banking been brighter in America. With the next generation of our nation’s leaders, workers, volunteers and citizens, the future of America has never seemed so bright in recent memory. We have a strong economy, by most measures nationwide and our nation’s youth are entering the workforce at a fascinating time as technology changes the way we work, and how we interact with one another as well as with those companies that help us keep our daily lives moving along smoothly.

01 Feb

Grand Rapids State Bank announced that Julie Wilcox has been promoted to the position of Senior Vice President – Marketing, Brand Management and Communications; Cory Colter was promoted to the position of Vice President, Personal Banker; and Kristi Poling was promoted to the position of Marketing and Creative Services Manager.  

08 Jan

Today, cybersecurity tips for small businesses should not be taken lightly. If you are like millions of small-business owners in America, you probably cannot imagine how a cyber criminal halfway around the world could possibly cause your business to suffer a data security breach. After all, aren’t hackers busy enough with the Fortune 500?

26 Dec

After 11 years on the job, one of the things Jeni Dorr appreciates the most about her experience at Grand Rapids State Bank is the relationships she’s built with her customers and fellow employees. 

17 Dec

Jeff Peterson’s career as an entrepreneur began at an early age.  He grew up in Grand Rapids and graduated from high school in 1995.  By the age of 18 he was already busy pursuing his interest in the construction business. 

07 Aug

Are you spending time in 2018 establishing or improving your cybersecurity strategy?

Why Should I Spend on Cybersecurity?
A good cybersecurity budget is built on outcomes. Most organizations should be able to say with a straight face:

25 Jul

Grant Prokop is doing what he loves, and he would offer this suggestion to anyone who’ll listen: “Chase your dream. If you fail, regroup, analyze what went wrong, and try again.”

This is sage advice, and it’s even more amazing considering the words come from a 29-year old who’s been working at one business or another since the age of 10.

25 Jul

One of the things Derekia Kuschel really likes about her job as an account service representative is interacting with customers. She has plenty of opportunity for that interaction, too: she helps customers open new accounts, assists people if they have any concerns with online banking, and she is the go-to person for people who want to access their safe deposit boxes.

20 Jun

Changes have been announced to the membership of the Grand Rapids State Bank Board of Directors, according to Noah Wilcox, President and CEO of Grand Rapids State Bank. Effective June 21, 2018 Nicholas S. Wilcox will join the Grand Rapids State Bank board of directors. 

17 Apr

“I really can’t say enough good things about our employees.”  With one sentence, Bob Schwartz explained what he believes is the primary reason his second-generation family business has been successful.

05 Apr

Community banks make your community better, stronger

23 Mar

March 2018: BauerFinancial, Coral Gables, Florida, the Nation’s Premier Bank Rating Firm, is proud to announce that Grand Rapids State Bank, Grand Rapids, Minnesota has once again secured its highest, 5-Star rating. (A five-star rating indicates the bank excels in areas of capital adequacy, profitability, asset quality and much more.) Earning and maintaining this top 5-Star rating for 50 consecutive quarters, Grand Rapids State Bank has also procured an “Exceptional Performance Bank” status.

16 Mar

Wilcox of Grand Rapids to serve the nation’s community banks

Las Vegas (March 16, 2018)—Noah W. Wilcox, president, chairman and CEO of Grand Rapids State Bank and its holding company, Wilcox Bancshares Inc., in Grand Rapids, Minn., was elected vice chairman of the Independent Community Bankers of America® (ICBA) for 2018-19 during the 2017 ICBA national convention, ICBA Community Banking LIVE®, in Las Vegas. His term begins at the conclusion of the convention on March 17.

06 Mar

Jared Pink, Vice President-Business Banking at Grand Rapids State Bank, has been with the bank since 2005. At the beginning of his 13-year tenure with the bank, Jared served as the manager of GRSB’s Pokegama branch office. Over time Jared developed a real love for commercial lending, and worked to position himself to take on more responsibility for that aspect of his job. He enjoys being able to make a difference in the lives of his customers and helping them grow their businesses. 

25 Jan

Changes have been announced to the membership of the Grand Rapids State Bank Board of Directors, according to Noah Wilcox, president and CEO of Grand Rapids State Bank.

18 Jan

Washington, D.C. (Jan. 18, 2018)—The Independent Community Bankers of America® (ICBA) today announced the nominees for its 2018-19 board of directors. ICBA’s board of directors will vote on the nominations during the 2018 ICBA national convention, ICBA Community Banking LIVE®, which will be held March 13-17 in Las Vegas.

Nominations for the 2018-19 ICBA board of directors and their respective positions include:

03 Jan

By Noah W. Wilcox
Partisanship has taken hold of our political lives from Washington to right here in Minnesota, contributing to gridlock in the nation’s capital and more than a few awkward holiday meals with family and friends. Despite all the political ill will, there appears to be one issue that Republicans and Democrats can agree on in the new year—promoting local economic growth through our nation’s community banks.

03 Jan

Passwords represent a critical vulnerability for most organizations today, as employees remain the number 1 cause of company data breaches. However, that hasn't stopped many people from continuing to use default or easy-to-guess passwords for work and personal accounts, leading to increased risk of security incidents.

Andy Dehon, information technology manager for Grand Rapids State Bank and Minnesota Lakes Bank, noted that online security and password protection are key issues for community banks.

28 Nov

Passwords are the house keys to your online accounts, and when they’re hacked, intruders can break in and wreak havoc.

To create strong passwords, you have to strike a balance between making them difficult for others to guess and making them easy enough for you to remember. Many people favor simple ones at their own risk: “123456” and “password” have remained the two most common passwords for six years, according to password security company SplashData.

23 Oct

The impact of the Equifax data breach that compromised the personal data of over 145 million individuals has left many confused, frustrated and downright angry. And while massive attacks on large corporations make headlines, small businesses have just as much, if not more, at stake.

19 Oct

Nate Lloyd, Vice President of Business Banking, has been employed at Grand Rapids State Bank since February of 2015. He enjoys working with customers to help them reach their goals. “I really appreciate that each loan I come across is new and different. The challenges that are unique to each customer are what keep me interested and invested,” Nate explains.

10 Oct

Grand Rapids State Bank proudly announces they were just named among the top 1-percent most extraordinary banks in the United States by The Institute for Extraordinary Banking™. Grand Rapids State Bank, a local Grand Rapids icon, was recognized with the Institute’s Banky™ Award for their commitment to excellence in banking and to their community. This recognition is given exclusively to the top 1-percent of community banks.

20 Sep

Recently, Equifax, one of the three national consumer credit reporting agencies, announced a major data breach. This breach affects approximately 143 million Americans. This is what we know according to Equifax: the data breach occurred May – July 2017, and the information stolen includes consumers’ personally identifiable information, including names, Social Security numbers, dates of birth, addresses and, in some cases, driver’s license numbers.

15 Sep

“We like to bank where we do business,” said Dave Hernesman, “and we like doing business with local vendors.” That simple statement summarizes the approach that led Ray’s Sport and Marine, a fourth-generation Grand Rapids business, to work with Grand Rapids State Bank, another fourth-generation family business.

31 Aug

Wire transfer and cyber fraud are on the rise. That’s partly because criminals have limitless options for perpetrating wire fraud.

06 Jul

As entrepreneurs, many small-business owners are comfortable taking risks. But their business is often their biggest asset, as well as the largest source of their household’s income, which means it’s especially important for them to follow basic personal finance and investing guidelines. Not doing so can cause business owners to take on too much risk and endanger their business and income.

05 May

Noah Wilcox, President and CEO, Grand Rapids State Bank, Grand Rapids, MN joined more than 100 community bankers and the Independent Community Bankers of America® (ICBA) this week for a meeting with President Donald Trump and other top administration officials at the White House as part of the 2017 ICBA Capital Summit.

28 Apr

Grand Rapids State Bank proudly announces they were chosen as the recipient of the first annual Mayor’s Arts Award.  The Grand Rapids Arts and Culture Commission recently called for nominations for the first Mayor’s Arts Award to be presented to a business or organization that has made a significant impact on the arts in the Grand Rapids area through support of local arts, organizations, programs and individual artists.  Examples of significant impact included advocacy, community outreach, workplace based gallery exhibitions, volunteerism and other activities that promote the value of arts

06 Apr

Although she is one of the newer members of Grand Rapids State Bank’s teller team, Angi Decker has hit the ground running.  While the teller department in community banks is where many employees learn the basics of banking, Angi brings some real-life customer service experience to her new job.

06 Apr

Washington, D.C. (April 5, 2017)—The Independent Community Bankers of America® (ICBA) today is meeting at the Treasury Department to discuss how federal policymakers can address the impact of overregulation on community banks and the customers they serve. The meeting is being held under President Donald Trump’s executive order directing the Treasury Department to review existing laws, treaties, regulations, guidance, reporting and recordkeeping to determine if they promote or inhibit federal regulation of the U.S.

21 Mar

Jim and Suzanne Ducharme decided to advance the timing of their career plans when they moved to Grand Rapids 15 years ago. Rather than wait to move to Itasca County when they retired, they chose to work where they wanted to live. Buying MEDS-1 last year confirmed that they made the right call.

07 Mar

In the March edition of Northwestern Financial Review, the publication announced that Steve Burggraf was named an “Amazing Outside Director." The publication created the award to honor bank directors who are known for going above and beyond.

06 Mar

Grand Rapids State Bank, Grand Rapids, Minnesota proudly announces it is once again a top performer, earning a coveted 5-Star rating from BAUERFINANCIAL, the Nation's Premier Bank Rating Firm. (A five-star rating indicates that this bank excels in areas of capital adequacy, profitability, asset quality and much more.) Grand Rapids State Bank has earned this top honor for 46 consecutive quarters earning it even higher accolades. Grand Rapids State Bank is an "Exceptional Performance Bank" for securing a 5-Star rating for 40 consecutive quarters or longer.

16 Feb

Once you start receiving your first paychecks after graduation, knowing how to spend or save your money wisely can be tough. While you may be able to do your banking with just a few taps on your phone, managing money well is much more complicated. Here are a few tips to help you get started.

06 Feb

Even as a former bank employee, Ed Zabinski still has a very active schedule. He is a husband, father, uncle, grandfather, entrepreneur, consultant, community volunteer, outdoor enthusiast and artist.

06 Feb

Kathy and John Schroeder, the owners and managers of Schroeder Log Home Supply, are very modest about their company that supplies “everything but the wood itself” for log home owners and builders. 

06 Feb

Even if you're staying on track with your New Year's resolutions, every small-business owner has to prepare for tax season. The major deadline may be a month or two away, but it will approach faster than you think. Here are a few tips to think about as you begin.

27 Jan

Even if saving has never been your thing and money is tight, the coming of a new year is an opportunity to change old financial habits. Here are some ways to become a more efficient saver.

25 Nov

“Christmas in July” is the name of a movie in which a man called Jimmy is tricked into believing he's won $25,000 in a national radio contest. (It's from 1940, but the point remains.) He promptly goes out and blows his winnings on a shopping spree. When the truth comes out that Jimmy didn't win, the department store owner tries to repossess all the presents Jimmy bought for his girlfriend, his mother and everyone on the block.

22 Nov

In the first six months of 2016, police in Europe cataloged 492 explosive attacks on ATMs (automatic teller machines), up from 273 attacks for the same period in 2015. The European ATM Security Team reports that 110 involved solid explosives, while the rest utilized explosive gas.

U.S. ATM operators faced an October 21 deadline from MasterCard to make their machines EMV-compliant—Visa's deadline follows one year later—and the attack report is a reminder that fraud isn't the only challenge when it comes to trying to secure ATMs.

22 Nov

Grand Rapids State Bank’s two-person item processing department has had a 100% turnover in the past six months.  At the beginning of 2016, the Item Processing department was staffed with two veterans, Brenda Hendrickson and Cathy Benham.  Jessi Rolle is the newest of the two item processors the bank now employs.  The item processing team—Jessi and her coworker, Brittany Adams—is responsible for processing and balancing the thousands of checks that flow through Grand Rapids State Bank and its sister bank, Minnesota Lakes Bank. 

22 Nov

Dean Dickson hates sitting around, and it shows.  Dean is the kind of entrepreneur who uses skill and perseverance to take a kernel of a business idea and grow it into something real. 

22 Nov

After the numerous challenges faced by northeastern Minnesota’s iron mining industry in 2016, Jeff Lee believes 2017 will offer better news for most communities in our region.

21 Nov

Thanksgiving is a time to gather with loved ones for a satisfying meal and kick off the holiday season. If you pay current prices for your menu items, though, you could blow a chunk of your holiday budget before you even get to the pumpkin pie.

Use these tips to keep your Thanksgiving festive and thrifty.

15 Sep

The three partners huddled around a picnic table on a crisp morning in early September to talk about their start-up business, biC (for “Brothers in Christ”).  These three “brothers”, all with different backgrounds, had taken different arcs to land in the same place at the same time to form a company that just four months earlier was just a dream.  It’s not difficult to understand why they attribute their early success—and their very existence as a business—to divine intervention. 

15 Sep

Eddie Bauer, an outdoor apparel retailer based in Bellevue, Washington, has warned customers in mid-August that point-of-sale (POS) malware infected its retail store systems for "various dates" over a six-month period before the malware was discovered and eradicated.

Eddie Bauer is owned by San Francisco-based private equity firm Golden Gate Capital and counts about 360 stores in the United States and Canada that were affected by the breach, and about 40 stores in Germany, Japan, and Southeast Asia that were not.

15 Sep

Brittany Bourassa began her second employment stint at Grand Rapids State Bank on Tuesday, September 13.  Her new role is item processor, a job that entails proofing and processing all the checks issued on Grand Rapids State Bank and Minnesota Lakes Bank accounts.  This involves brand new duties and a steep learning curve.

“I’m excited to return to Grand Rapids State Bank and looking forward to the new challenges,” Brittany explained.  “I understand this job will involve lots of math, working with numbers, and that I have a lot to learn.”

09 Sep

For a community bank, there are few other better ways to promote the concept of local business and local food than collaborating with a local farmers market.  Six years ago the concept was hatched in conversations between the Farmers Market president, a senior bank officer, and the bank’s card services manager. Considering the Grand Rapids Farmers Market members had been a bank customer throughout its now 30 years of existence, the ‘sell’ was easy.

08 Sep

The City of Grand Rapids dedicates its 23rd and newest park, the Wilcox Memorial Park, in the Remer-DeScheppers neighborhood of northwest Grand Rapids Tuesday afternoon. Dale Anderson, Director of the City’s Parks and Recreation Department, thanked Grand Rapids State Bank for its donation of land two years ago.

22 Jul

Ed Zabinski will resign his position as Senior Vice President effective December 31, 2016. Ed began providing consulting services to the bank in July 2007; he was hired as a full-time employee on January 1, 2008. Beginning in October, Ed will transition to a 75%-time schedule, allowing him time to ramp up his consulting engagements. Ed will continue to serve as a director of Grand Rapids State Bank, a position he’s held since 1996.

20 Jun

Nearly three-quarters of non-homeowners who are repaying student loans believe that their school-related debt is preventing them from buying a house, according to a new survey by the National Association of Realtors (NAR).

20 Jun

It’s an understatement to note that technology has changed the way people bank, especially compared with how banking was done only a short 20 years ago.  The advent of smart phones and mobile device technology has created expectations that banking follows suit.  With that technology comes new challenges to protect customers’ data, the key to their financial wealth. 

20 Jun

In today’s world, it’s important for small business owners to be vigilant in protecting their computer systems and data. Among the reasons: Federal consumer protections generally do not cover businesses for losses they incur from unauthorized electronic fund transfers. Your bank may not be responsible for reimbursing losses associated with an electronic theft from your bank account — for instance, if there was negligence on the part of your business, such as unsecured computers or falling for common scams.

20 Jun

“We love the Grand Rapids community.”  With those words, Keith Still offered a simple explanation about why he’s devoted 28 years to working and then owning Jack’s Auto Service Center.

Keith’s business at the corner of US Highway 2 and Minnesota Highway 38 is in a prime location, and he understands that perfectly.

06 May

Creating jobs and generating economic development have been on the minds of many public officials in northeastern Minnesota, and a recent look at a Minnesota demography database reveals that economic conditions in this region remain challenging, despite efforts to create more jobs. 

06 May

Keith Polister isn’t an old dog, but he is learning some new tricks.  After a career in the film and printing businesses, in 2006 Keith purchased two businesses—Arrow Embroidery and Photo Express—that aligned with those professional interests.  In the past 10 years, a lot has changed.

“The technology changes in the photo industry and garment industry have really been game changers for me,” said Polister.  “I bought these two businesses housed in the same building on a contract for deed, which made it real easy for me to get started.  

06 May

For anyone concerned with maintaining information technology network security, a recent report from Verizon on data breaches is not good news.  In a story published by the Information Security Media Group, the new Verizon 2016 Data Breach Investigations report notes that phishing attacks have become more successful. Malware continued to be the dominant way that organizations got hacked. The number of ransomware infections increased. And organizations continued to get exploited via vulnerabilities in their IT infrastructure that were months or sometimes even years old.

06 Apr

It began with an early morning phone call and instant fear for the technology director of Horry County, South Carolina's school district.  Computer servers were acting unusual, and Charles Hucks listened as his administrators described frozen computers and a cryptic message spreading across computer screens. 

Hucks raced to shut down the system before the unidentified virus could spread, but in minutes, up to 60% of the school district's computers were frozen. Hackers had encrypted the school's data, and that cryptic message was a ransom note.

06 Apr

The UMD Center for Economic Development (CED) announces that 52 businesses have been nominated to receive honors during the 24th Annual Joel Labovitz Entrepreneurial Success Awards program, which recognizes entrepreneurs and business owners from throughout the Twin Ports and Northeastern Minnesota.  Award categories include Micro Entrepreneur, Emerging Entrepreneur, Established Entrepreneur, Mature Entrepreneur and Environmentally Engaged Entrepreneur. 

06 Apr

Rick Harding has an interesting office vantage point.  Looking through the south-facing window in his office on the second floor of the Northbank Professional Building, he can see the Mississippi River flowing serenely (at this time of year, anyway) past his building, the library and the KAXE studio.

23 Feb

By the end of February, many northern Minnesota residents are infected.  Although bouts of flu come and go, the infection in late February is often related to “cabin fever,” an “unhappy and impatient feeling” that comes from being indoors for too long.  For some people, dreaming and planning home or cabin construction projects for the coming season is a relief for that pent-up feeling.

23 Feb

As attentively as any doctor listens to a patient describe their ailments, Mike McLynn carefully nods and takes notes as a woman reads from her notes about the issues with her vehicle.

“Now I’m talking about the fan under the hood, not the fan blowing heat in the car,” the customer says. 

“Yes, I understand,” replies Mike calmly.  “It sounds like it might be a thermostat that needs replacing,” he adds after hearing a few other symptoms the customer has noted on her carefully-prepared list. 

12 Feb

Jessica Tunbridge was hired at Grand Rapids State Bank on January 19, 2016, as a part-time teller. She follows in her mom’s footsteps, Tracy Tunbridge, who also worked at GRSB in the Item Processing Department a few years back. Jessica stated, “It was my mom, in fact, who urged me to apply for the teller position.” Jessica is happy she followed that advice.

11 Feb

Phishing campaigns, which are the gateway to many data breaches, are becoming far more sophisticated as fraudsters use information available on social media to target their schemes, says Jim Hansen, chief operating officer at online security firm PhishMe.

As a result, organizations in all sectors need to educate staff about how to recognize these increasingly deceptive schemes and take steps to ensure they have simple processes in place for immediately reporting suspicious emails, he says.

08 Dec

Despite headline-grabbing data breaches that have proven costly to organizations in many sectors, the purchase of cyber-insurance to cover potential costs remains relatively rare.

Cyber-insurance policies vary widely, but they often cover notification expenses, credit-monitoring services, and, in many cases, legal defense costs and even government penalties.

08 Dec

Hackers use phishing and other social engineering tactics to target organizations with legitimate-looking e-mails and social media messages that trick users into providing confidential data, such as credit card numbers, Social Security numbers, account numbers or passwords.  These attacks are at the heart of many of today’s most serious cyberhacks and can put your business and your customers at risk.  With a few basics and ongoing vigilance, businesses can be aware and defend against these attacks. 

08 Dec

There is no sure-fire, foolproof path to starting a new business.  Eric Wourms knows that.  He started up Rides, LLC in June 2013, a one-stop shop for auto accessories.  This is his second foray into the auto accessories business after working at Car Tunes and Alarms, another former Grand Rapids-based car accessories company for 14 years. 

“I don’t like to sit still,” explained Eric.  “We strive to create happy customers since they seem to be the best advertising we can buy.”

06 Nov

Cierra Moehling smiles readily.  Her smiling demeanor is an asset in her new job as a teller at Grand Rapids State Bank.  And if you believe that you get what you give in life, then she’s receiving that friendliness back from coworkers and customers.

“What I really like about Grand Rapids State Bank is how friendly everyone is,” said Cierra.  “I started working here on September 28, and I haven’t changed my opinion about that.  My boss is also very understanding of my family situation, which makes working here a lot easier.”

28 Oct

Stephanie Gambill was hired at Grand Rapids State Bank on October 19 as a credit analyst.  Stephanie graduated from North Dakota State University in May 2015 with a major in accounting and a minor in fraud investigation.  During her college years she found employment with Cornerstone Bank in Fargo.  She was hired to work as a teller and then was hired as a summer accounting intern.  After graduation she accepted a temporary job in their mortgage department.

28 Oct

Cyberattacks aren’t limited to just data breaches these days—there are a litany of prevalent cyber risks threatening banks.  To help illustrate the extent to which community banks go to be sure customer data is secure, reprinted below with permission is a checklist for financial institutions provided by the company Grand Rapids State Bank uses for “managed security.”  Data breaches like those affecting Visa cards used at Target stores around the country are getting the most attention, but banks face many kinds of cyber risk.

28 Oct

“I am the complaint department!”  That phrase summarizes a big portion of Andy MacDonell’s job as president and owner of Itasca Utilities.  “Actually, I have several titles depending on what day it is.”

Andy is a second generation business owner.  His father, Randy, formed the business in 1976 with partner Irv Biersdorf.  Randy Mac, as he is known, became the sole owner in 1986.  Andy began working in the business part-time during the summer after his junior year in high school.  He attended Itasca Community College and UMD before returning to the business sooner than expected.

29 Sep

Grand Rapids State Bank occasionally participates with other community banks to help fund loans that one bank on its own cannot or chooses not to finance alone.  Earlier this year GRSB agreed to work with the North Shore Bank of Commerce (Duluth) to finance a new ski lift at Lutsen Mountain, a popular winter skiing operation 90 miles northeast of Duluth and 20 miles south of Grand Marais. 

29 Sep

All small-business owners need a little financial help to run and grow their enterprises at some point, whether it's to hire more employees, buy new equipment or market a recently launched product.

But how to meet these ongoing capital requirements — with a business credit card, term loan or line of credit — can be confusing.

Credit cards: easier approval, perks and flexibility at a cost

29 Sep

Home is a place where one lives with total freedom and independence.  For the frail elderly, aging takes away much of this independence, especially when one is no longer able to live alone.   

27 Aug

When managing your network, developing an app, or even organizing paper files, sound security is no accident. Companies that consider security from the start assess their options and make reasonable choices based on the nature of their business and the sensitivity of the information involved. Threats to data may transform over time, but the fundamentals of sound security remain constant.

27 Aug

The Grand Rapids Entrepreneurism Task Force was convened in the summer of 2014 around the belief that for a sustainable future, Grand Rapids needs to establish a culture that fosters entrepreneurs of all ages.  The group participated in a training activity in November 2014 sponsored by the Blandin Foundation.  In March 2015, the Task Force organized an open “World Café” meeting to solicit public input about three questions:

27 Aug

The Fraboni name on the Iron Range is synonymous with flavorful meat.  Of course, the Fraboni business name conjures up other things for other people.  As you listen to Mark Thune, president of Fraboni’s Wholesale Distributing, you understand there is a lot more to this Hibbing-based business than tasty sausages, hams and other delicacies.

14 Aug

Sammy (Samantha) Swanson was hired on June 1 as a marketing intern.  Julie Birkey, her manager, explained that her primary role for the summer would be staffing the GRSB payments booth at the Farmers Market.  As it turns out, however, Sammy contributed far more than expected during what turned out to be a very busy summer. 

26 Jun

Forest Jam, Grand Rapids State Bank’s outdoor summer music festival at the Minnesota Forest History Center, is back.  What turned out to be the centerpiece of the bank’s year-long celebration of its 100th birthday during 2014 will feature an encore performance on Friday, July 3.
“We were overwhelmed with the turn-out for last year’s Forest Jam,” Julie Birkey, marketing director, said, “and the feedback that followed convinced us there was enough interest in the event to offer an encore.

26 Jun

Heidi and Gene Pehrson love fixing things for people, especially buildings damaged by one of several disasters: windstorms, fire, floods and just about anything else you can think of.

“Seven years ago Gene and I began looking for a business we could operate together,” said Heidi Pehrson, co-owner of the Grand Rapids-based SERVPRO franchise. 

26 Jun

The belief that small businesses face less risk from hackers is not only false but dangerous, according to Kaspersky Lab, the world’s largest privately-held vendor of endpoint protection solutions. Cyber-criminals often target small businesses expressly because small businesses generally pay insufficient attention to data protection.

24 Apr

Tammy Johnson was hired as a GRSB teller on January 28, and interestingly she was referred by another new employee, Senior Vice President-Lending Jeff Lee. 

“This is small world stuff, I know,” said Tammy, “but my cousin from Hibbing sits on the Blue Line Booster Club Board with Jeff.  Jeff mentioned that Grand Rapids State Bank was looking to hire a teller, so I applied.  And here I am.”

10 Apr

Recent surveys of GRSB’s business customers show that some owners and managers are unaware of the breadth of insurance coverage available through the bank’s affiliate, the Grand Rapids State Agency (GRSA). 

“Insurance is not always the first thing a business owner wants to invest in when they start up the business, but prudent managers know they need to manage risk,” said Mike Olson, Agency manager.  “In today’s business climate, a few key insurance policies may be essential prevention against substantial liability issues down the road.”

10 Apr

In the past few weeks northeastern Minnesota has received several announcements about layoffs among employees of three taconite plants on the Iron Range: Mesabi Nugget, Magnetation, US Steel-Keetac and US Steel-Minntac.  Roughly 1,200 people will be affected directly by these layoffs which will begin as mid-May, and no one has yet calculated the indirect impact on jobs among companies that supply the taconite industry across the region.

10 Apr

“It’s amazing how this business has grown and changed, when you take time to think about it.”  Todd Gabrielson added that comment while answering questions for this interview about his business, Pokegama Lawn & Sport.

24 Feb

Grand Rapids State Bank has rolled out an update of its online banking service effective Monday, February 23.   Business and individual customers alike will benefit from the new platform. 

“We’ve been working on this for months,” explained Lynn Acheson, vice president-operations.  “We worked hard to make sure the transition from the former system to this one would be as seamless as possible, and I think we’ve accomplished that for the most part.  We selected a vendor who offered a consistent user experience from a customer’s desktop to their mobile device. 

24 Feb

In the universe of family businesses, some struggle to keep the family dynamics in check and others function seemingly effortlessly. The Benders seem to have things figured out pretty well.

Craig and Brian Bender downplay the success their family business has sustained over the years, but their story is remarkable. Let’s turn the clock back to 1973.

24 Feb

 Jeff Lee hit the ground running when he joined Grand Rapids State Bank on December 9 as senior vice president-lending.  Considering that he has 28 years’ experience making loans and running banks, hitting the ground running really should have been no surprise.

13 Feb

Amanda Gray was hired at Grand Rapids State Bank in early January this year as a teller.  Prior to joining GRSB, Amanda worked at the front desk at Super 8.  “I always wanted to work at a bank,” said Amanda.  “All I’ve ever done is customer service and I really enjoy interacting with people.  I get that same opportunity here at Grand Rapids State Bank.” 

28 Jan

Rachel Selmser joined Grand Rapids State Bank in October 2014 as a teller.  Prior to joining GRSB, Rachel had been a stay-at-home mom for seven years.  She and her husband, Brian, have four children: two girls, ages six and 11, and two boys (ages 14 & 17).   Brian is an electrician at Keetac/U.S. Steel in Keewatin, MN. 

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