Cornerstone Bank Remains Strong, FDIC Insured

Gary and Nancy

You’ve probably seen the signs that say: “Each depositor insured to at least $250,000.” Have you ever thought about what that sign really means?

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) was formed to protect the money deposited into accounts at banks covered by FDIC insurance. That means your money is protected up to $250,000 per depositor, per insured bank, for each account category.

FDIC coverage separates insured accounts into different categories, such as single accounts, joint accounts, certain retirement accounts and others. These categories cover checking and savings accounts, money market deposit accounts and certificates of deposit.
As an FDIC Member, the coverage is automatic – so you don’t need to apply for FDIC insurance.

“Cornerstone Bank has a long history of offering financial services in the Dakotas. During that time there have been numerous financial crises including most recently the Great Recession in 2008 and economic uncertainty during the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Gary Petersen, Chairman. “Cornerstone Bank has shown resiliency because of strong leadership and adhering to conservative banking principles. Because Cornerstone Bank is FDIC insured we are strongly regulated and the bank fully subscribes to the regulatory framework that has kept the banking industry, particularly community banks, safe and sound for decades.”

What about other financial products?

Other financial products like stocks, bonds, mutual funds and securities are not covered even if they are invested through the bank.

Stop in to talk with one of our bankers to explore ways to set up your accounts for maximum FDIC coverage. We’re here to help keep your money secure and protected.

How does FDIC Insurance protect bank customers?

  • The FDIC insures up to $250,000 in eight separate account categories per depositor per bank.
  • In the 88-year history of the FDIC, no one has ever lost a penny of an insured deposit.
  • The FDIC is completely funded by the banking industry, not taxpayer dollars.
  • The banking industry knows that a strong FDIC and deposit insurance fund are essential to the banking system. Banks stand ready to do whatever it takes to ensure the health of the fund and strength of the FDIC.

To learn more check out this video from the FDIC. Have more questions or want to calculate your FDIC coverage? Click here. 

Staller Named Chief Banking Officer

Dan Staller Chief Banking Officer

Staller Named Chief Banking Officer

Dan Staller has been named as the SVP/Chief Banking Officer in Fargo with over 28 years of banking experience. In addition to his experience as Chief Banking Officer, Staller has also previously held the roles of Market President, Business Banker, and Business Banking Manager.

A graduate Minnesota State University Moorhead, Staller also holds a degree from the Graduate School of Banking. He has served on numerous non-profit and community boards.

Cornerstone Bank CEO/President Jeff Thomas said, “We are excited to have Dan onboard. His wealth of experience makes him a great fit to work with our team across the Cornerstone footprint, contribute to strategic planning, and drive business development.”

Click here to see our full leadership team.

Weiler Named Chief Risk Officer

Jeff Weiler named Chief Risk Officer

Jeff Weiler has joined Cornerstone Bank as the Chief Risk Officer in Fargo.

With over 26 years of banking experience, including previous roles as Chief Innovation Officer, Chief Risk Officer, Executive Vice President and an Enterprise Risk Manager, Jeff Weiler has been named as Cornerstone Bank’s Chief Risk Officer.

“We are excited to have Jeff join our team,” says COO Deneen Axtman. “He brings a depth of experience in managing risk, leading people, and thinking strategically all of which make him one of the best in the industry.“

Originally, from Dickinson, North Dakota, Weiler is a graduate of the Graduate School of Banking and Northern State University. He currently resides in Fargo with his wife Beth. He has two grown daughters, a son-in-law and granddaughter, who are also in Fargo.

To see all of our leadership team visit the leadership page. 


50 Best Places to Work 7 Years Running

50 Best Places to Work
For the SEVENTH year in a row, we are proud to be named to Prairie Business Magazine’s 50 Best Places to Work!
The September issue of Prairie Business names and honors the 50 Best Places to Work in the northern Plains. Earlier this year, employees nominated the organizations by submitting anonymous employee-satisfaction surveys, and Prairie Business used the survey results in selecting the 50 Best.
The survey sought input on each employer’s benefits, workplace culture and employee morale, among other factors. And employees responded. Prairie Business this year received more than 1,700 nominations from employees from around the region.
“We are excited to see so many participants in this year’s contest,” said Prairie Business Editor Andrew Weeks. “It is good to see the many companies who have been here before, but also to see some new names on the list. This goes to show that there definitely are some great companies in our region.”

Should I Use A Debit Card or A Credit Card?

Using a credit card to make an online purchase

Should I use a Debit Card or a Credit Card?

Most of us carry at least two pieces of plastic to pay for things – a debit card and a credit card. But what’s the difference between the two?

To begin with, think of it this way: With a credit card, you’re borrowing someone else’s money to make a purchase, but you’ll have to pay it back. With a debit card you’re pulling money directly from your own bank account. It’s the difference between taking out a short-term loan or spending only what you have.

So which one is better?

Let’s just say, ‘it depends.’

Debit Cards

Using a debit card is like writing a check. You’re spending money from your account for goods or services. If you don’t have enough money in your account, the debit will be turned down. If you do, money is deducted from your account almost in real time. Debit cards can also be used at ATMs or to get cash back at places like grocery stores. These cards can be great to help keep you from spending more money than you actually have and they can be great for in-store purchases.

Learn more about your Cornerstone Bank debit card and it’s features by visiting the Debit Card Page.

Debit Card Tip: Carrying a debit card is safer than carrying cash. If you need cash you can always use your debit card at an ATM to make a withdrawal.

Credit Cards

Credit cards can be perfect for large purchases because you’re borrowing someone else’s money for a short period of time. They also come with some liability protections and benefits that most debit cards don’t have. These benefits might range from cash back, to points for airline miles or lodging. Benefits can also include extended warranties or rental car insurance. Because of these protections, using a credit card for rentals or online purchases can be safer than using a debit card.

While both card types offer ways to dispute a purchase, your credit card issuer is trying to get its money back from a merchant. With a debit card dispute the money that came from your account is gone and unavailable for use until the dispute is resolved.

That doesn’t mean credit cards don’t come with drawbacks. If you have trouble controlling your spending or paying your account bill on time, it can be costly. That’s because interest is charged on bills that aren’t paid in full by the end of each billing period. You could also face a late fee. The longer you take to pay off the bill, the more you’ll pay in interest charges.

It’s also quite possible that credit cards that offer rewards will charge you an annual fee, whereas debit cards often come free with an account at your financial institution.

Learn more about our Cornerstone Bank Credit Cards and find the right fit for you by visiting our Credit Cards Page. Or to apply click here. 

Credit Card Tip: When used responsibly, credit cards are a great tool to help you build your credit score.

So which one should you use?

While credit cards generally come with more protections, you’ll want to make sure you pay them off as fast a possible to avoid paying interest charges. Responsible use of a credit card can also help build your credit score.

Debit cards, on the other hand, can be great for in-store purchases and are good for people who want to limit spending to only what is in their account.

Either way, experts recommend that you always monitor your accounts online and to report any discrepancies immediately. You should report a lost or stolen card immediately.

No matter what card you use, be sure to take the time to read about your protections and rights as a cardholder.

To find the right product and learn more about the different types of cards visit with a banker today! 

Bollingberg Joins Board

Bollingberg joins board

Bollingberg joins Cornerstone Bank Board

Karl Bollingberg has joined the Cornerstone Bank Corporate Board of Directors bringing extensive knowledge from 36 years in banking.

“I am pleased to welcome Karl Bollingberg to our Corporate Board of Directors,” says Chairman Gary Petersen. “Karl is a great addition to our organization with his broad experience and immense value.”

Bollingberg’s Background

Recently retired from Alerus Financial, Bollingberg has worked in a variety of roles including Loan Participation Advisor, Director of Lending, Director of Banking Services, Market Manager, and Director of New Business Development. He is an elected member and Vice Chairman of the Federal Home Loan Bank of Des Moines representing stockholders in the state on North Dakota. Bollingberg also serves as Chairman for the Bank of North Dakota Advisory Board and is the past Chairman for the Grand Forks Regional Economic Development Corporation. He has been active in numerous other civic organizations and has taken part in church mission trips to Honduras.

“I am very excited to join the Cornerstone Bank Corporate Board,” says Bollingberg. “Cornerstone has a long history of being a strong community bank and has so much potential going forward.”

A native of North Dakota, Bollingberg graduated from North Dakota State University with a degree in agricultural economics and subsequently completed the graduate school of banking. Bollingberg currently lives in Grand Forks with his wife, Twila. They have three grown children.

Learn more about us!

Grave Named CFO of Cornerstone Bank

Brian Grave

Brian Grave named Chief Financial Officer of Cornerstone Bank

Brian Grave has joined Cornerstone Bank as the Senior Vice President/Chief Financial Officer in Fargo. He brings over 25 years of accounting experience and 23 of those years are in the financial services industry.

Originally, from Pequot Lakes, Minnesota, Grave graduated from the University of Minnesota, Duluth with a degree in Accounting. He currently resides in West Fargo with his wife, two kids and their three pets. In his spare time, Grave enjoys spending time with family, traveling, reading, and riding his motorcycle.

Grave gives back his time to many community organizations including the Fargo Lions Club and Lions Club International, The Village Family Service Center, United Way and Prairie Public Radio.

“I am pleased to welcome Brian to the Cornerstone Bank Team,” says President/CEO Jeff Thomas. “His broad experience in various aspects of financial services is a great fit with our growing organization.”

See the full list of Cornerstone Bank’s leadership by visiting the Leadership Page.

Wentz to Lead Cornerstone Bank Minot Location

Minot Team

Cornerstone Bank has opened a loan and deposit production office in Minot with an experienced team of community bankers.

Grant Wentz is leading the team as SVP Market President. A graduate of North Dakota State University, he brings over 30 years of banking experience.

Wentz has extensive knowledge in providing financial services to business, personal, and agriculture banking clients. A great fit with Cornerstone Bank’s mission of giving straight answers and the best possible financial options. Wentz enjoys working with clients to understand their financial situation and recommending options to meet those needs.

Joining Wentz

Joining Wentz at Cornerstone’s Minot office are VP Ag/Business Banker Mike Vendsel, VP Business Banker Jason Bentley, and AVP Business Banking Associate Tracy Brown.

Vendsel has over 30 years of banking experience. He brings a wealth of knowledge from working alongside business owners and agriculture producers through the ups and downs of their operations.

Bentley brings over 20 years of banking experience specializing in business and agriculture. He values his role as a neighbor and contributor to his community as an active member with the Boy Scouts, Lions Club, Y’s Men, Downtown Business and Professional Association, and Renaissance Zone Board.

With over 20 years of experience, Brown knows the ins and outs of business and agriculture loans. She will provide support to both clients and the banking team to help meet the needs of our customers.

“It’s very exciting to join the Cornerstone team and even more so to have Cornerstone Bank entering the Minot market,” Said Wentz. “The team and I feel a strong connection with Cornerstone’s company values and history. Collectively, we bring over 100 years of experience and are thrilled to put that to work helping Cornerstone Bank customers.”

With roots back to 1936, Cornerstone Bank continues to grow.

Now with locations in 10 communities across North and South Dakota, this growth is consistent with Cornerstone Bank’s vision of helping people make important decisions about their money.

Cornerstone Bank Chairman Gary Petersen said, “Minot fits perfectly into our footprint. It’s adjacent to some of our existing markets with long histories. This expansion into Minot allows us to welcome more clients to the Cornerstone Family and to welcome more experts to the Cornerstone Team.”

Celebrating 15 Years and a New Building in Bismarck

N 12th St Bismarck

Cornerstone Bank celebrates 15 years and a new building in Bismarck.

Cornerstone Bank has a new bank building in Bismarck, but that doesn’t mean we are new to town. We have been proudly serving the Bismarck/Mandan community for 15 years.

“Our new bank is a demonstration of our continued commitment to the Bismarck and Mandan communities, our customers, and our team members,” said Gary Petersen, Cornerstone Bank Chairman.

In the fall of 2020, we broke ground on a new home in Bismarck. We are excited to be settled in and serving customers in our new bank located at 1806 North 12th Street. “We’re proud to reinvest in this great community,” said Kristin Melby, Bismarck Market President.  “Our new bank allows us to better serve our customers and team members well into the future.”

Let’s Celebrate!

Join us all week May 23rd – 27th as we celebrate our 15 year anniversary and new home.

An official ribbon cutting will take place on Monday, May 23rd at 4:00pm in the lobby of the new bank to kick off the week of celebration. And each day we will have have a special celebration.

Monday: Kaity Kakes Cupcakes will be served in the Lobby

Tuesday: Grilled Hot dog/Brat Grab-n-Go Lunch Served by your favorite Cornerstone Team Members

Wednesday: It’s wild how much we’ve grown! Start your garden, by stopping by to pick up a variety of flower and herb seeds

Thursday: Popcorn Bar

Friday: A sweet ending to a great week, with an Assorted Candy Buffet and Grilled Hot dog/Brat Grab-n-Go Lunch!

To stay up to date with the week’s happening keep an eye on our Facebook Page. 

Click here to see our Bismarck Team! 


Paying Debts and Learning to Save

Couple opening Savings Account

Paying Debits and Learning to Save Money Can Reduce Your Financial Worries.

‘Don’t worry, be happy’ is great advice, but it isn’t easy to follow when it comes to experiencing financial issues. Many of us worry about money – how much we owe, why we can’t save enough – and that doesn’t make us happy. High on the list of financial concerns for many people are bills that need to be paid – especially credit card debt, loans and health-care costs. By paying debts and learning how to save many people can find relief from financial stress.

“If you have a lot of debt, it makes it harder to save money for emergencies, long-terms goals, and vacations,” says Morgan Anderson, Personal Banker.

Paying Debts

The more money you owe the deeper the hole feels, and interest costs can add up quickly if you are only making minimum payments. To make it worse, missing payments can hurt your credit rating, making it more difficult to get a loan in the future.

Morgan says the key is to pay off those bills as soon as you can. She also suggests making more than the minimum payments whenever possible and paying off loans or credit card balances with the highest interest rates first.

“By only making the minimum payment each month, you will end up paying more in interest charges over time,” explains Morgan. “And the higher the interest rate is, the more it will inevitably cost you.”

Learning to Save Money

The wise move here is to work on paying off your debts first, then start saving. Building an emergency fund is important because that money can be used instead of having to borrow money for unexpected expenses such as replacing a broken refrigerator or medical expenses. When it comes to your health, Morgan also recommends having health insurance to help offset the high costs of care.

Take the time to figure out how to balance your income and your expenses. As well as prioritizing your needs and wants. Many people find it’s easier to automate monthly fixed expenses and savings deposits. That’s because you can set up automatic payments at your financial institution to pay those expenses. After that if you have leftover money, you can automatically direct it into savings accounts. Be sure to also take advantage of employer matches for retirement funds; it’s essentially free money and can make a big difference over time.

Then, once you find the balance between paying debts and saving for the future, you’ll worry less and smile more.

Visit with one of our expert bankers today!