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Becoming FIRST

Becoming FIRST

In 1976, a construction crew stood, hands on hips and squinting into the sun, wondering how on earth they were going to lower the 10,000-pound limestone eagle to the ground.

A construction crew moving First National Bank's eagle, which overlooks downtown Sioux Falls.The regal statue had been perched above Phillips Avenue in downtown Sioux Falls since before the street was paved.

With a little strategy and a big crane, the eagle would eventually land just a few feet away, on the corner of 9th and Phillips, where it still sits today.

Now, when you walk by, it’s as if it was always there. For us at The First National Bank in Sioux Falls, we feel the same way each time we walk through our office doors.

We have been here for more than 135 years, and, much like the eagle watching people pass by, we have watched the city grow up around us.

This is our story, more than 135 years in the making.

First National Bank's eagle statue at the corner of 9th and Phillips in downtown Sioux Falls.

It’s also the story of Sioux Falls. The first homesteaders staked their claims here in 1856, just ahead of the Civil War. It stayed a pioneer town for decades.

When we opened our doors in 1885 as Minnehaha National Bank, the city was just a few thousand people living on the frontier. Today, Sioux Falls proper is home to over 200,000 people.

The original building of Minnehaha National Bank in downtown Sioux Falls in 1885.

The Bank’s original location in 1885 was a small, rented room in a building on the southwest corner of 9th Street and Main Avenue.

We feel a special kinship to this city because in many ways, we’ve grown up together.

Just as families have family trees, a select few businesses have these, too, with generations of leaders guiding organizations for a century or more.

After more than 135 years as a financial institution, we are still family-owned and independently operated.

An anniversary cake in the lobby of Minnehaha National Bank.

And we are honored to be part of a family business that has endured into our fifth generation.

Today, less than 3 percent of family businesses survive into the fourth generation, making surviving to the fifth so rare it is a true statistical anomaly. Even more than statistics, though: our team acts as a family itself.

It’s easy to pay lip service to the idea of a business as a family.

We’ve worked diligently to keep family dynamics alive. Make no mistake, performance pays the bills — but culture sustains the legacy.

We hold ourselves to a high standard of performance, but before everything else, our culture puts family first.

In our upcoming blog series, Becoming FIRST, we will share the surprising history of a bank older than the state it’s in.

Of people who’ve lived and led through the most harrowing times in our nation’s history. Of how we got Dolly Parton to play an amazing show and share books with hundreds of thousands of kids across South Dakota.

You’ll experience first-hand why we are a bank that donates substantially to local causes each year.

Fundamentally, we answer these questions one by one:

F What does it mean to be a family?

I How does independence drive innovation?

R Why are relationships fundamental to success?

S How does our stewardship make the world a better place?

T What does a world-class team look like?

We build successful relationships. Every single day, it’s what we do at First National Bank.

The First National Bank building in downtown Sioux Falls.

They are our greatest competitive advantage. They are also the key to meaning — to the reason this place has transcended being “just a job” for thousands of people.

Follow along with us each month as we dig into the archives to reveal another piece of our history. Or, feel free to use the links below to explore the archives yourself.

And, welcome to the remarkable story of The First National Bank in Sioux Falls:

Becoming FIRST: The surprising history of The First National Bank in Sioux Falls

In 1976, a construction crew stood, hands on hips and squinting into the sun, wondering how on earth they were going to lower the 10,000-pound

Becoming FIRST: The Reputation Chapter

Imagine it’s 1885 in Sioux Falls and you’re about to board a train for Chicago.

Becoming FIRST: The Dolly Chapter

We give back to our communities in three primary ways: time, talent, and treasure.

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