Bank of North Dakota reports $111.1M profit, sets earnings record for 11th straight year

The Bank of North Dakota, the nation's only state-owned bank, set an earnings record for the 11th straight year in 2014, bringing in more than $111 million in profits, the bank's president reported Friday.

The numbers were presented to the North Dakota Industrial Commission, which serves at the bank's board of directors. Bank President Eric Hardmeyer also noted that the bank's loan portfolio increased by $350 million last year, to a record $3.8 billion, thanks in part to the thriving oil industry in western North Dakota.

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The bank had projected profits of $99.5 million in 2014, so it beat that estimate by almost 12 percent.

"We're doing great," Hardmeyer told The Associated Press.

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.

The results haven't been audited and won't be official until the bank's 2014 annual report is published in April, though Hardmeyer said he expects only minor adjustments.

Profits have increased almost $77 million since 2004, when the bank's assets were just more than $2 billion, records show.

Bank profits were $94.2 million in 2013, and $81.5 million in 2012. The bank's assets have grown to $7.2 billion, up from $6.8 billion in 2013 and $6.1 billion in 2012, according to the bank's report.

Hardmeyer said the increased profits are due to state's strong economy, growing tax collections, loan growth "and good work by our employees."

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, which are now pegged at $650 million.

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

"The Bank of North Dakota is performing as intended for the people of North Dakota," Dalrymple said in a statement. "The bank is a great tool for the state as we continue to develop our industries and finance our growth."