Sanford Joins Corporate Board of Directors

Brent Sanford

Sanford joins Cornerstone Bank Corporate Board of Directors

Former Lieutenant Governor of North Dakota Brent Sanford has joined the Cornerstone Bank Corporate Board of Directors. Sanford brings a wealth of experience in business, finance, and community service.

“I am pleased to welcome Brent to our Corporate Board of Directors,” says Cornerstone Bank Chairman Gary Petersen. “Brent is a great addition to our organization with his broad experience and tremendous business knowledge of the Dakotas and beyond.”

Sanford’s Background

Growing up in Watford City and returning there in adulthood as a third-generation business owner. Sanford understands the importance of strong communities including the value of a strong community bank. Prior to serving as North Dakota’s 38th Lieutenant Governor, Sanford served as Watford City’s Mayor leading the community through immense growth and development during the oil boom. He has also served as City Councilman and on various other community boards. In addition, Sanford has experience as an accountant and Chief Financial Officer.

“I look forward to working with the Board in furthering the economic activity and opportunities for the bank’s service areas,” says Sanford. “Cornerstone Bank has always been an outstanding corporate citizen and I am excited to be a part of continuing that tradition.”

Sanford graduated from the University of North Dakota with a degree in accounting and is a certified public accountant. He and his wife Sandi have three children, Sydney, Nicolas and Erin.

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FDIC Insurance Explained

Couple meeting with a banker explaining FDIC Insurance.

FDIC Insurance Explained

In this article we’ll cover:

  1. What is FDIC Insurance?
  2. Other financial products. Are they covered?
  3. How does FDIC Insurance protect bank customers?

What is FDIC Insurance?

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.

“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. As an FDIC insured bank, we fully subscribe to the regulatory framework that has kept the banking industry, particularly community banks, safe and sound for decades.”

What about other financial products?

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

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 banking industry completely funds the FDIC, 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

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.

Should I Use A Debit Card or A Credit Card?

Debit cards vs. Credit Cards. Young woman online shopping

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?

In this article we talk about:

  1. What is the difference between a credit and debit card
  2. Which one is better?
    1. Debit cards
    2. Credit cards
  3. Which one you should use.

So what’s the difference?

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 one of our bankers today! 

Paying Debts and Learning to Save

Couple paying off debt and learning to save.

Paying Debits and Learning to Save Money

‘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.

In this article we will cover:

  1. Paying Debts
  2. Learning to Save Money

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. And the higher the interest rate is, the more it will inevitably cost you.

Evaluate your debt payoff strategy with this calculator.  (NOTE: This is only an estimate. Actual payoff amounts and timelines can vary.)

Learning to Save

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!

Common Financial Mistakes

man frustrated with his finances.

Are you making some common financial mistakes?

What you do with your money can get you into a financial mess, but it can also get you out.

Face it, we buy things – and that can mean trouble if we spend too much and don’t leave enough to save or pay bills each month.

In this article we will cover:

  1. How your spending can make a difference
  2. The secret to avoiding common financial mistakes

Your spending makes a difference.

Taking out a loan for a new SUV or a bigger house can mean bigger payments and higher interest costs each month.

Think about it: The difference between a top-model vehicle and the entry-price model can cost you hundreds of dollars more in payments each month. The same goes for the amount of interest you’ll pay over the life of the loan. That’s money you could be using to pay off credit card debt or add to your savings.

Even the seemingly ‘little things’ can add up. Expenses like a gym membership, a new smartphone, or dinner out on a regular basis can add up.

Expert Tip: Cutting your spending by only $50 a week will save you $2,600 year – enough to pay down loans or even sink into an emergency savings account to help you cover unexpected expenses down the road.

What’s The Secret to Avoiding Common Financial Mistakes?

The key to staying ahead of spending problems, follow a budget. Knowing how much you owe and what your income is will give you a good picture of your monthly finances.

Expert Tip: Assess your needs and cut back wherever possible.

The concept is simple, spend less than you make. Then with the extra money, you can come up with a plan to put the rest into savings or invest for the future.

It can feel overwhelming. Maybe you aren’t sure where to start. Getting help from a financial professional is a great place to start. They will be able to take a fresh look at things for you.

Beware and don’t let your savings or having a little extra money in your checking account at the end of the month tempt you.

Expert tip: Set up an automatic transfer from every paycheck to go into a savings or separate account. If it’s automatic you won’t see it! Start small with $5 and grow from there.

Ready to get started on the right path with your finances? Meet with a banker today!