- Associated Press - Thursday, April 21, 2016

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - The Bank of North Dakota, the nation’s only state-owned bank, set an earnings record for the 12th straight year in 2015, the bank’s president said Thursday.

Bank President Eric Hardmeyer told the state Industrial Commission that the bank’s net income last year was $130.7 million, up from $111 million in profits in 2014.

Hardmeyer told the commission that 2016 already is off to a strong start, the Bismarck Tribune reported (https://bit.ly/1r1GLb3 ), with net income for the first quarter of 2016 at $37.5 million, up from $34.5 million for the first quarter of 2015. The bank’s assets increased to a record $7.4 billion and have more than tripled since 2006.

The streak of record profits began in 2004, when profits for that entire year were $34.2 million.

Hardmeyer has said the increased profits are due to state’s strong economy, growing tax collections and loan growth.

The bank, which is based in Bismarck, acts as an economic development agency, offering low-interest loans to businesses, farmers and students. It also helps private banks finance larger projects.

Loans set a record in 2015 at $4.34 billion, up from nearly $3.9 billion the previous year. The biggest part of the increase came from student and business loans, Hardmeyer said.

The bank was established in 1919 and historically funneled the bulk of its profits to North Dakota’s general treasury for the lawmakers to spend. But the Legislature curbed the practice in recent years to allow the bank to build up its capital reserves.

The commission, which oversees the bank, is made up of Gov. Jack Dalrymple, Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem and state Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring.

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Information from: Bismarck Tribune, https://www.bismarcktribune.com


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