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Be careful when choosing a bank



At one time or another most of us will have to do business with a bank. Perhaps we got tired of going to the Post Office and having to buy Money Orders so we decided to open up a checking account.

Maybe we needed to buy a car and so we had to go to the bank to get the car financed or to take out a loan to buy it. And then there are always the big ticket items like buying our first house. All of these purchases require a financial background check.

There are those individuals that are wanting to open a business. Whether it is a garage to repair cars, a grocery store, or even a newspaper, the main source of funds to start that business usually comes from a bank.

Banks have gone through upheavals over the past decade also. The mortgage disaster of the 2008 rattled the industry. Some of the more unstable lending institutions failed and others had to be bailed out by the United States Government. Others were caught with their hands in the cookie jar and made many of us wonder how banks could cheat their own customers, the very life’s blood of their business.

As a business that has survived and grown over the past 9 years, we as a newspaper business have had to deal with banks in order to carry on our day to day business. In the early days we dealt with the First National Bank of Gordon and then the Blackpipe Bank in Martin. Both banks worked easily and favorably with us. It was not unusual for our publisher back then to go into the First National Bank of Gordon and have a cup of coffee with President Bob Connealy and discuss ways in means to advance the growth of the newspaper. A loan was usually concluded with a handshake and the signing of a few papers.

Stockmen’s Bank in Rushville was also a good bank to do business with and Mr. Greg Hunter, a loan officer, was always friendly and easy to approach. But since the bank problems have compounded over the past few years getting adequate financing for a business has grown more and more difficult.

Organizations like the Small Business Administration can only guarantee loans up to about 80 percent and even then you have to go through a bank to get the actual loan since the SBA doesn’t loan money. And even that avenue is starting to close.

Over the past couple of years we have found that the US Bank, a large national bank, with branches in Rapid City has been the most approachable bank to secure loans. The staff and management we have dealt with has been courteous and extremely eager to help. We would place this bank as the number one (Indian friendly) bank.

The bank that we would advise all Native Americans to avoid is Wells Fargo. This bank has staff in some of their branches that do not know their business. They are prone to make mistakes that will come back to haunt you as the borrower. The fact that they charged insurance rates on car loans that were totally out of control is frightening. And this just happened.

Black Hills Federal Credit Union has a good policy and is actively seeking Native American business. They have a well-trained staff that is easy to approach. We ran into problems with Great Western Bank and so we pulled our account from them and moved it to US Bank.

So be careful when choosing a bank. Make sure they have your best interests at heart.

(Contact Native Sun News Today Editorial Board at

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