Category: Under $3B in Assets
Fargo, N.D.
Assets at June 30: $2.58 billion
No. of employees: 763
Chairman and CEO: Richard Solberg

Employees may like to get, but they also like to give, and Bell State Bank & Trust has made giving easier. Each year, the bank hands out cash to employees—$1,000 to full-time employees and $500 to part-timers-along with a request: Pass along the money to an individual, family or organization in need. Since launching the program in late 2007, the bank and its employees have donated more than $3 million. Dubbed "Pay It Forward," and modeled on an effort popularized by TV host Oprah Winfrey, the program is among the bank's most popular. So is a similar perk aimed at encouraging people to play hooky. Every year, employees receive $200 and a day off. All that's required is that they spend the extra time and money with friends and family.

Bell State, founded in 1966, operates 19 branches in North Dakota and Minnesota. Its company motto is, "Happy Employees! Happy Customers!"

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