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Alerus Financial (OTCQB: ALRS), headquartered in Grand Forks, North Dakota, is a chain of financial institutions located throughout North Dakota, Minnesota and Arizona. Alerus offers personal banking, business banking, and agribusiness banking.
Alerus Financial's history dates back to August 29, 1879 with the formation of the Bank of Grand Forks by Mr. S. S. Titus. The bank was the second bank chartered in Dakota Territory. At the time, the bank was located in the back of a smokehouse on South Third Street in downtown Grand Forks. The bank quickly outgrew its building and moved into a new brick structure at the corner of South Third Street and Kittson Avenue.
In 1881, the bank took out a federal charter and became known as Citizens National Bank. On July 1, 1890, the bank purchased another Grand Forks bank and took on the name of the other bank: First National Bank. In 1896, the newly merged First National Bank moved into the St. John's Block building at the corner of DeMers Avenue and Third Street. This corner was viewed by most as the commercial center of Grand Forks and the bank's five-story building dominated the intersection. The bank later relocated to another five-story building which was located at 322 DeMers Avenue, one block west of the St. John's Block.
The bank's headquarters would remain in this building until the devastating Red River Flood of 1997. During the disaster, the bank's downtown building was both flooded and almost destroyed in a fire which burned out of control. After the flood, the bank moved their corporate headquarters to a location in south Grand Forks and moved their downtown location into a new city-owned office complex known as the Corporate Center. The vacated 322 DeMers Avenue building was totally remodeled by another party and is now an office building.
In 2000, First National Bank changed their name to Alerus Financial. The new name comes from the Latin word aleria which means "to take flight". In 2001, the city of Grand Forks opened a huge indoor stadium and convention center known as the Alerus Center. Alerus Financial had purchased the naming rights for this facility.
Today, Alerus Financial operates banks throughout the Greater Grand Forks and Fargo-Moorhead metropolitan areas of North Dakota and has recently entered Minnesota's Minneapolis-Saint Paul metropolitan area and Phoenix, AZ.