Friends in Finance

Currie State Bank owners Don (left) and Doug Hansen have plenty to be proud of these days, as the bank is celebrating a 90-year legacy in downtown Currie. Photo / Per Peterson

Few businesses have been as important to a small town as much as currie state bank has been to residents there and in the area for 90 years. That longevity and commitment to the community will be celebrated by all next week.

The building has changed, and employees have come and gone, but one thing has stayed constant at Currie State Bank for 90 years: its commitment, dedication and loyalty to the people who live in southwest Minnesota. And neither a farm crisis, nor a global pandemic has changed that.

By Per Peterson

At 5 p.m. on Aug. 26, Currie State Bank will host a very special picnic, honoring its past and its present with a picnic in the park for the public.

“We always have wanted to give back to the community what we’ve gotten from the community, since we grew up here and everything,” said Currie State Bank President Doug Hansen.

The driving force behind the bank are brothers Don and Doug — Don the loan officer and Doug the “numbers guy.” Doug currently serves as the bank’s sixth president. He succeeded Romane Dold, who served as president from 1984-2001. Other presidents were Henry G. Elselein (1931-44), Frank H. Fritz (1944-58), Robert W. Roemer (1958-73) and J.P. Hansen (1973-84).

“I was living in Alaska, and Dad said, ‘I’m retiring, and if you want to come back, now’s the time — otherwise, we’ll hire somebody else,’” Don said. “I said, ‘OK’ and came back to learn the business.”

Doug, a certified public accountant who is now CEO at Currie State Bank, started at the bank in 2000 after spending 17 years at a financial institution in Idaho and five more years at a bank in Oregon.

“Both of them got sold and I lost my job; I talked to Don — ‘Do you want to team up together and do something here?’” recalls Doug. “At that time, I had been working back-and-forth out of Portland and Boise, and I knew I could tele-commute.”

Doug’s plan was to be part of an expansion out West, but since that didn’t happen, he returned to Minnesota to help grow Currie State Bank.

“And we did that pretty dramatically over the last 20 years working together,” said Doug, CSB president. “Our aspirations have been to work together and grow a family bank together. We’re looking to keep it going. We want to keep giving back to the community, our employees, our customers and continue to grow.”

The family aspect of the bank indeed begins with the Hansen brothers. Their father owned the bank for 11 years, and Don’s two sons work there, one is on the Board of Directors. The Hansen brothers plan on having the family tradition continue long after they’re gone, meaning their efforts to give back and integrate themselves in the community will continue as well.

“We just try to give back and be involved in things in this area,” Doug said. “Working with old classmates who are now customers … it’s pretty cool. We try to help the different businesses in the area as much as we can — promote them, donating to the local fire department. And we want to keep the bank in the family, keep it independent. That’s very important to us both. A lot of roots around here.”

See this week’s Headlight Herald for more on this article.