Acquisition Update

Note: On Oct. 28, 2019, First Western Bank & Trust’s holding company, Westbrand, Inc., acquired BlackRidge Financial, Inc., the holding company of BlackRidgeBANK. At closing, Westbrand Inc. now has two charters: First Western Bank & Trust and BlackRidgeBANK. Each bank will continue to operate under its respective name for now. Combined, the two charters will have more than 300 employees, in 16 locations from Minot, ND to Minneapolis, MN. 

BlackRidgeBANK Company History


In 2004, five former executives from Community First Bankshares set out to create a new kind of community banking organization. One that was strong, financially stable and thrived on providing outstanding banking products backed by exceptional customer service.

They created BlackRidge Financial, a privately owned bank holding company, and began looking to acquire banks that shared their passion for banking with a hometown flavor. Their search led them to the Brainerd Lakes Area of Minnesota where, in March 2006, they acquired Lakewood Bank, N.A., which traces its roots back to 1963 and has offices in Baxter, Nisswa and Crosslake, Minn.

Later that year, BlackRidge Financial expanded further into Minnesota by acquiring First State Bank of Alexandria, with offices in Alexandria, Carlos and Miltona, Minn.

Eager to take this unique brand of community banking to larger metropolitan areas, the company opened a new location in Fargo, N.D., in April 2007, followed by another in Bismarck, N.D., in January 2008.

BlackRidgeBANK History

In October 2011, BlackRidge Financial merged its three bank charters into one, and the Lakewood Bank and First State Bank of Alexandria locations officially adopted the BlackRidgeBANK name.

In July 2013, BlackRidge Financial opened a new location in West Fargo, N.D.

In 2019, BlackRidgeBANK had 10 branches in Minnesota and North Dakota and total assets of more than $350 million. 

Photo courtesy of Scott Amundson and Chris Hawley Architects.