Brainerd Lakes Area, MN Region Team

Joel Staehling


Joel has over 20 years of banking experience, including senior bank management and commercial lending. As both the President of BlackRidgeBANK and branch president, Joel oversees a dedicated team that prides itself on providing outstanding financial products and high-quality service. He also uses his experience to serve as the senior executive of BlackRidgeMORTGAGE. A native of St. Cloud, Joel holds an undergraduate degree in finance from Augsburg College and an MBA from St. Cloud State. He lives in Baxter with his wife and three children, and currently serves on the Brainerd Basketball Association board and coaches multiple teams in local youth athletics.

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Darren Larson

Vice President/Branch Manager

Darren joined BlackRidgeBANK in 2007 and has more than 15 years of commercial lending experience. Originally from Alexandria, Darren has lived in the Brainerd Lakes area since 2003. He earned a master’s degree from St. Cloud State University as well as degrees in economics and financial management from the University of North Dakota. Married with two children, Darren is active in the Brainerd Area Sertoma Club and Lord of Life Church. He also coaches youth athletics and is a certified high school basketball official.

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Jim VonHoltum

Senior Lender

A native of Worthington, Jim has a wealth of banking, lending and other experience from previous banking positions, including an agricultural background. Working out of the Baxter office, Jim serves small business and individual bank clients and chairs the bank’s loan committee. Jim lives in Baxter and has a passion for golf and family.

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Russ Hale

Assistant Vice President/Branch Manager

Russ has more than 20 years of experience in lending, including 15 in a bank environment. He joined BlackRidgeBANK in 2002 and heads our consumer lending staff. Originally from Brainerd, Russ lived in Seattle, Wash., for nearly a decade before returning home to the Brainerd Lakes area. Russ has served on multiple boards of directors including the Nisswa Chamber of Commerce, United Way of Crow Wing and Southern Cass County, and the local animal shelter HART.  Russ lives in Baxter with his wife and has one grown daughter.

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Craig Henningson

Assistant Vice President/Branch Manager

A native of Brainerd, Craig has been with BlackRidgeBANK bank since 2002 as a true community banker to the Crosslake market. He has vast expertise in both personal and business loans and lake home financing. Craig has been a member of the Deerwood Fire Department for 20 years, and also serves as its Treasurer. In his spare time, he enjoys spending time doing outdoor activities with his family and friends.

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Darlene Hardy

Mortgage Banker

Originally from Hill City, Darlene has called the Brainerd lakes area home for nearly 15 years. She is a licensed CPA who graduated from Bemidji State and has been in the mortgage business for over 17 years. The former owner of Budget Mortgage, Darlene joined the BlackRidge Mortgage team in 2009 and strives to provide education to her clients in addition to the right home financing package. Darlene also finds time to be an Ambassador for the Brainerd Lakes Chamber and is a member of Business Networking International. Darlene enjoys spending time with her husband and children.

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Sandy Bebler

Mortgage Lender

Sandy has been in the banking and finance industry for over 18 years and has recently moved to the Brainerd Lakes area from Willmar. Sandy possesses a strong work ethic and is dedicated to finding the best solution to her clients’ needs. She takes great pride in providing friendly customer service throughout the mortgage process from the initial consultation to the closing. Sandy strongly believes in community involvement: she has served as President of the Humane Society of Kandiyohi County, served on the Willmar City Planning commission, and also served as a Board Member of the YMCA and as an Ambassador for the Chamber of Commerce.

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