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North Dakota bank purchases electronic payments processor

Peter Stenehjem

First International Bank & Trust, a $2.5 billion bank based in Watford City, N.D., has acquired InterceptEFT.

InterceptEFT offers electronic transaction services including direct deposit, direct payment, credit card processing and ACH management/origination software for financial institutions. InterceptEFT was formed in 2010 when the Barrington Corporation, founded in 1989, merged with the Intercept Corporation, which was founded in 1993. Former owners Craig Dresser and Bryan Smith intend to stay with the Fargo, N.D.-based electronic payments processor, which serves some 74,000 companies across the country.

First International Bank & Trust will rebrand the acquired company as Kotapay. “We chose a name that connects with our region as two successful companies based in North Dakota and serves us well for future growth and development within the payments industry,” said Peter Stenehjem, president of First International Bank & Trust.

Bank CEO/Chairman Stephen Stenehjem said the acquisition begins a “new era for our company.” A press release dated April 3 states: “Today, we become a critical behind-the-scenes partner for over 74,000 companies nationwide as we ensure payments reach their intended destinations. I’m looking forward to the synergies that will be formed to create a wider array of offerings for customers of InterceptEFT and First International Bank & Trust.”

“Being a part of First International Bank & Trust means we are backed by the security and soundness of a regulated high-performance bank giving our customers more peace of mind,” said Dresser, InterceptEFT CEO. “It allows us to expand our product and service offerings, increase our fraud detection and prevention measures, and create a more streamlined and efficient operation.”

Smith, who is InterceptEFT president, explained: “It was important for us to find a partner that would also be a good match culturally for our employees and our customers. We have built a strong reputation for high service levels, expertise and reliability for handling over 50 million electronic transactions annually.”

Earlier this year, First International Bank & Trust received certification from the Third Party Payment Processor’s Association for its compliance management system, making it the first TPPA member bank in the nation to hold such designation.

First International Bank & Trust has 16 offices in North Dakota, in addition to two offices in Arizona and two in Minnesota.