Our History

More Than 100 Years of Living First

Our history begins with Farmer’s State Bank in Arnegard, North Dakota. The bank was issued a charter and opened for business on May 1, 1910.

In 1911, Odin Stenehjem became the first Farmer’s State Bank cashier. In 1917 Gerhard Stenehjem became its first President.

In 1934, the bank moved to Watford City when it was named the County Seat of McKenzie County. At that time, the name was changed to First International Bank. Two years, later, O. Vincent Stenehjem began his 50-year career as vice president and cashier. First International Bank was the only bank in McKenzie County to survive the Great Depression of the 1930s.

In 1949, Odin Stenehjem began as president, serving until 1965 when his son, Leland, stepped in. Leland also served as president of the North Dakota Banker’s Association, on the State Banking Board and as president of the IBAA during this time.

In 1984, the Stenehjem family acquired First National Bank of Fessenden which was founded in 1900. In 1990, First National Bank of Fessenden acquired Midwest Federal Savings & Loan offices located in Harvey and Fargo. The name of these two offices and the Fessenden office were changed to First International Bank, NA, and operated as a separate institution.

On September 21, 1990, First International Bank acquired Midwest Federal Savings & Loan offices located in Williston, Killdeer and two offices in Minot, North Dakota.

On February 1, 1992, Trust powers were added and we became First International Bank & Trust. Trust powers were added to First International Bank, NA in October of 1992.

On December 1, 1993, First International Bank & Trust, NA, Fessenden, merged with First International Bank & Trust. This merger combined the offices in Watford City, Alexander, Williston, Killdeer, and Minot with the offices in Fessenden, Harvey, Fargo North, Fargo South, and Bowdon, creating one institution.

First International Bank & Trust opened the Economart office in Williston, North Dakota, in February of 1995. Two offices located in Scottsdale and Mesa, Arizona, were acquired in September of the same year.

Construction was completed for a second location in Minot in August of 1997.

In May of 2000, a location was completed in West Fargo, ND, making it the third in the Fargo area. In November, a merger was completed that combined the two offices in Arizona with the offices located in North Dakota.

In January of 2004, the Airpark office was opened in Scottsdale. The Farmer’s State Bank in Elgin, ND, was acquired in March of 2006. A Fargo Southwest location opened in June of 2006. In October 2007, a new office was opened in Gilbert, AZ.

In May 2008, First International Bank and Trust increased its market area by acquiring offices in Staples and Motley, Minnesota.

First International Bank & Trust celebrated 100 years of banking in 2010. Our expansion continued in 2013 with new locations in Minot, Williston, Moorhead and Phoenix.

In 2016, we opened the doors to our second branch in Watford City, ND, at Fox Hills. We also broke ground and started construction on two new locations in Bismarck and Rugby, ND.

In 2017, we entered the Grand Forks, ND market with a new location and celebrated the opening of our Rugby branch.

In April of 2018, we acquired leading electronic payments processor, InterceptEFT, based on Fargo, ND. For over 25 years, they have provided fast, accurate electronic transaction services to more than 74,000 companies nationwide. Upon the acquisition, the company was re-introduced under a new name – Kotapay.

Today, we remain focused on making dreams happen for our clients and customers.

First International Bank & Trust (North Dakota, Minnesota and Arizona) is owned by Watford City Bancshares, Inc., which is owned by the Stenehjem family. First International Bank & Trust is a full-service, independent community bank, a member of FDIC, and an equal housing lender.