The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Business

January 6, 2014

Half a century: From Valley National to Frandsen: A bank on Belgrade

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The Coughlan family retained controlling interest in the bank for 15 years, until Twin Cities’ investor and entrepreneur Irwin Jacobs bought them out. Just two-and-a-half years later, in January, 1981, Jacobs would sell the bank to the man who, 15 years earlier, had been brought in as an investor/director, and whose own business empire was mushrooming, Glen Taylor. Taylor would eventually buy out Jerry Michaletz’ share, after he had served as a director for nearly a quarter of a century.

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Keith Boleen had been working at Mankato’s Bank of Commerce when Glen Taylor decided to bring him over as President of Valley National. Boleen notes that today, the bank has expanded to fill most of the stone building it had moved into in 1964. In contrast to the original four employees in the trailer, now there are 34. Boleen remained president when Dennis Frandsen bought the bank from Taylor in 1998, changing the name to Frandsen Bank and Trust. The bank underwent major remodeling in 2002, and then again in 2013 prior to celebrating its 50th anniversary. It remains the only bank in lower North Mankato.

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Boleen notes, there have been lots of changes in banking in the nearly quarter-century that he’s been bank president. For one, “There’s three times more banks now.” But even more, “Technology has changed banking considerably. You can even bank with your smart phone now, from anywhere. And regulations! More and more complex all the time.”

Is it harder for normal folks to get a loan?

“Yes and no. All the new regulations make consumer real estate tougher. In the ‘70’s, we needed three pieces of paper. Today, a mortgage might require you to sign 30 pieces of paper. Still, he adds, “a good credit history and reliable income will get you a loan. It’s just more complicated.”

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