South Dakota bank expands in Minnesota

First Bank & Trust, Brookings, S.D., is buying two Minnesota banks operating under one holding company: Peoples Bank of Commerce, and State Bank of New Prague, both owned by the Duke Financial Group, Minneapolis. The $296 million Peoples Bank of Commerce is based in Cambridge and has branches in Princeton, East Bethel, Edina and Roseville. State Bank of New Prague has one location and assets of $112 million. The name of both banks will change to First Bank & Trust. [Continue]

Faster payments: Industry seeks modernization

Why can’t consumers and business managers send and receive payments as easily as they can send and receive email messages?

That’s a question Kevin Christensen has been pondering for some time. Christensen is vice president, risk and financial services, for SHAZAM, the Johnston, Iowa-based electronic funds transfer company. Along with Bob Steen, CEO of Bridge Community Bank, Mechanicsville, Iowa, and Tina Giorgio, president/CEO of ICBA Bancard & TCM Bank, Christensen participated in a panel discussion on payments at the annual convention of the Community Bankers of Iowa in Okoboji on July 21, one day prior to the long awaited release of the final report from the Federal Reserve’s Faster Payments Task Force.

Christensen highlighted the interoperability of the email system. Regardless of the company behind the email – Gmail, AOL, Yahoo and others – users can send and receive messages to and from each other without delay. Christensen said that level of “functional interoperability” is what he is seeking in payments. He said the technology already exists; the hurdles are mainly political. “Transferring payments from one organization to the next can occur easily if we just agree to do it,” he said. [Continue]