North Dakotan Sees Danger In Bush Banking Package

Terry Jorde, who heads the trade association of North Dakota community banks, is no fan of the administration's plans for overhauling the nation's bank laws.

"Increased consolidation of the industry will increase risk in the system," said Mrs. Jorde, 33, new president of the Independent Community Banks of North Dakota, Bismarck.

The Bush package would "harm rural communities, agriculture, and small business," she said. "Community banks are vital to their survival."

First Woman in the Post

Mrs. Jorde, president of Towner County State Bank in Cando, is the first woman to head the 25-year-old trade group, which has 96 member banks. She succeeded James Goetz, president of the State Bank of Oliver County in Center.

"I am honored to have been given the opportunity to serve," Mrs. Jorde said. "I don't think the fact that I am a woman was considered."

A graduate of the University of Illinois in Champaign with a degree in finance, she started at Towner County Bank in 1979 as a teller. She joined the trade group's board in 1985 and has headed its its legislative committee and the group's annual convention.

"Terry was brought into the fold very quickly, because it was clear that she knew what she was doing," said Arlene Melarvie, the group's executive director.

Mrs. Jorde, who also is on the bank operations committee of the Independent Bankers Association of America, said community banks have a bright future if given a fair chance to compete. But government must not ask them to pay the price when others abuse the financial system, she said.

Because interstate banking is "a reality in North Dakota," she said, her association must provide "programs and services for independent banks to help them compete nationally" while continuing to focus on serving local needs.

The Let It Rain CD

"Independent community banks depend on the success of their communities," Mrs. Jorde said. "Reinvestment in the community is the independent bank's first priority."

Last year her bank, which has $24 million in assets, gained national attention by demonstrating that connection with what was dubbed the Let It Rain CD.

All the town's talk was about a severe drought. Mrs. Jorde suggested a CD whose interest rate would rise when rain came. The idea was that depositors, borrowers, and the bank would all win when the drought broke.

Mrs. Jorde is married to the manager of a seed-potato farm. They have three children.

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