BND plays an important role in helping North Dakota residents get back on their feet after weather-related disasters impact their livelihood. More than $200 million has assisted residents since 1997.
Governor John Hoeven, the only ND governor who also served as president of the Bank, and his Bank president Eric Hardmeyer, developed a new model for service to the state in 1997. Under their inspired leadership, the Bank began to assist communities in crisis: a total of seven times over the next 20 years.
Hardmeyer explained, “Using our funds and our programs to help with an ag disaster and with a significant flood disaster in Grand Forks, we really saw what the Bank can do in an extraordinary way. We began to ask, what are those opportunities where we can make a difference?”
In several of these cases the Bank was able to get money to the afflicted communities immediately, well in advance of federal disaster aid. When the national government got disaster funding through the pipeline, the afflicted communities reimbursed the Bank for its interim support.
An extremely harsh winter coupled with 1997 flooding in North Dakota’s Red River Valley was the first time since the Great Depression that the Bank provided disaster relief support. Ranchers repopulated their cattle herds, businesses re-opened and homes were rebuilt with the Bank’s assistance.
The Bank answered the call again in 2005, 2007, 2009, 2011 and 2018 when weather-related events including a tornado and more flooding had significant impacts on the lives of North Dakotans. These loan programs are always done in partnership with local lenders.
The Bank was also able to support state and local law enforcement units during the Standing Rock oil pipeline crisis in 2017. Overwhelmed by thousands of protestors, a significant percentage from out of North Dakota, local law enforcement entities were unable to meet the expense of maintaining order at the protest sites. The Bank provided the money to fund the policing agencies-–on the promise that public and private moneys would be gathered to reimburse the bank. The pipeline company alone provided $10 million for reimbursement of crisis management that cost more than $30 million before the protest finally petered out.