About Us

Our History

We got our start as a small business, a small bank in a small town, in 1927. Our founder, A. C. Brown had a simple formula for success, “Take care of the customer!”  It’s a promise we’ve kept for over 85 years and one we intend to stick to. 


The Early Years

In 1927, A. C. Brown founds Security State Bank of Hannaford with $25,000 in assets.  He purchases a stone building and furnishings for $4,000.  

W. O. “Bill” Brown joined A. C. and two other employees in 1948.  Sons John and Mark join Bill in 1974 and 1975, respectively.

On its 50th anniversary in 1977, the bank held $9.5 million in assets.

Together We’re Strong

Banks in Wimbledon (1979) and New Rockford (1991) are acquired.  In 1991, the three banks merge to become Security State Bank of North Dakota and Mark Brown becomes President.

A bank in Carrington is purchased and a charter to open a branch in Cooperstown is obtained on the same day in 1993.  A branch in Jamestown is opened in 1995.  A bank branch opens in Valley City in 1998.


On its 75th anniversary in 2000, Security State Bank of North Dakota celebrates with 100 employees and $160 million in assets.  

The Brown family expanded ownership to employees through an Employee Stock Ownership Plan in 2002. In 2003, Mark becomes CEO and Tom Watson becomes President.

In 2006, a bank with branches in Walker and Hackensack is acquired.

Bank Forward’s Big Year

In 2007, Security State Bank of North Dakota changes its name to Bank Forward.

Bank branches in Grand Forks and Bemidji are opened.  

Three insurance agencies are acquired:  IPS Incorporated in Bemidji, FPM Insurance Agency, Inc. with offices in Fargo and Grand Forks, and Insure Forward with offices in Hannaford, New Rockford, Cooperstown, Carrington, Jamestown and Valley City.  They consolidate as Insure Forward in 2008.

Moving Forward

In 2008, Tax Forward is established with the acquisition of Rene and Associates in Jamestown.  In 2009, a Tax Forward office opens in Fargo.

In October 2012, a loan production office and Invest Forward open in Crookston. In 2013, Harildstad Tax and Bookkeeping, Carrington, a tax firm, and an investment firm, Sundquist and Associates, Bagley, were acquired.

Today, with over 230 employees and almost $500 million in assets, Bank Forward still operates with the same basic principles we learned from A. C. Brown:  

  • Take good care of the customer.
  • Our success comes from the prosperity of our customers and our communities.  
  • Demonstrate smart banking decisions based on sound banking principles.
  • Hire and be thankful for a good staff.