Bell Mortgage to Be Acquired by State Bank & Trust

Bell Mortgage will operate as a division of State Bank & Trust of Fargo, North Dakota, and it will retain its staff of about 180 employees.

Bell Mortgage-a 130-year-old Minneapolis-based mortgage company-announced Tuesday that it will be acquired by State Bank & Trust of Fargo, North Dakota.

The companies expect the transaction-the financial terms of which were not disclosed-to close by the end of the year.

“State Bank & Trust was the perfect match for us,” Gary Kirt, Bell Mortgage chairman and CEO, said in a statement. “In tough times, both our companies have done well while others in the mortgage and banking industry have struggled. Our philosophy of taking care of our employees and customers, and giving back to the communities we serve, matches well with State Bank's culture.”

Bell Mortgage currently employs 180 at 28 mortgage offices-including locations in the Twin Cities; Bozeman, Montana; and Phoenix, Arizona. About 150 of the employees are based in Minnesota.

Kirt, who will serve as president of State Bank & Trust's new Bell Mortgage division, said in a Tuesday phone interview that the company will maintain its existing offices and employees following the acquisition. “If anything, we'll be adding,” he said. “No one will be losing their jobs. State Bank has great respect for what Bell Mortgage has done.”

Bell Mortgage, which was founded in 1880, said that it has funded more than half a million home mortgages-including $10 billion in mortgages during the past 10 years.

State Bank & Trust has more than 500 employees at 14 full-service banking locations in the Fargo-Moorhead area; Bismarck, North Dakota; Boise, Idaho; and in Minnesota, including branches in Detroit Lakes and Alexandria. The bank currently has assets in excess of $1.9 billion.

Michael Solberg, president and chief operating officer of State Bank & Trust, said in a statement that the bank will now offer home equity loans, construction loans, and other home mortgage services to Bell Mortgage's existing customer base.

“We're very impressed with the growth of Bell Mortgage and how they do business,” Solberg said. “We hope to bring additional resources to help them continue to grow with the high level of service they're already providing. In turn, Bell Mortgage gives us new opportunities in the Twin Cities market, and we look forward to a great partnership with them.”