First Financial acquiring fellow North Dakota bank

Arthur, N.D,-based First Financial Corp. is acquiring fellow eastern North Dakota bank HSB Financial Corp. 

First Financial Corp. is the holding company of BankNorth. Headquartered 10 miles from Fargo, N.D., HSB Financial is the holding company of the single-branch Harwood State Bank. A $515 million institution, BankNorth has nine branches in southeastern North Dakota and northeastern South Dakota. 

The acquisition is expected to close this summer. A price wasn’t disclosed. 

“This purchase will be a great fit for both banks and our customers,” said BankNorth CEO James Williams III. “Both banks are family-owned and have a long history in the heart of prosperous agricultural and commercial areas. We also both employ a dedicated, energetic staff driven by a philosophy of taking great care of our customers and supporting rural communities.”

Tom Stennes, president of the $47 million Harwood State Bank, said the deal has been discussed for months. “The shared values of commitment to customers and communities made the decision to enter into the agreement rather easy,” he added. “The transaction will allow us to offer more products and services to our friends and neighbors while staying true to the values that have served us and our communities so well.” 

Oak Ridge Financial, Minneapolis, served as exclusive financial adviser to HSB Financial.