Tracy Peterson’s Banking Career Filled with Adventure

While he may not have been scaling mountains or deep-sea diving, Tracy Peterson’s career has been full of new adventures. In the 20 years he has been with Bell Bank, Tracy has launched a major department, set up bank branches in new communities, and helped establish Bell Bank’s presence in new and growing markets.

Starting out, Tracy studied business administration at the University of North Dakota and was recruited out of college by the FDIC, where he spent 4 years working as a bank examiner.

In 1995, he started working in Bell’s credit department, where he stayed for 4 years before working for Western State Bank. After 4 years with Western, Richard Solberg, Bell’s board chairman, called Tracy to come back and launch our correspondent banking department.

After a couple of years in correspondent banking, Tracy was tasked with setting up our bank branches in Detroit Lakes, Audubon and Pelican Rapids, Minn. – our first bank locations outside of the Fargo-Moorhead area – while Tom Ishaug took over leading the correspondent team.

Six years later, Tracy moved on to help launch our Minneapolis market, initially working in recruiting, and later focusing on commercial loan development.

“I have enjoyed working with Bell’s ownership group,” Tracy comments. “And I wanted to keep learning and growing. It keeps life interesting.”

But his favorite job throughout his career has been working in correspondent banking.

“I like to travel and meet new people, and working in correspondent banking allows me to do both of those things,” Tracy says.

A few years ago, he returned to the correspondent banking team, focusing mainly on Minnesota. And last year, Tracy moved to Arizona to help grow our correspondent efforts in the Southwest, where Bell has a growing mortgage and banking presence.

“This might be the final move,” Tracy notes, adding that he and his wife, Lori, haven’t minded their venturesome lifestyle. “We have always looked at it as a new adventure.”

Tracy and Lori had a second home in Arizona, and they fell in love with vacationing and taking long weekends there.

“We like hiking, golfing and all kinds of outdoor activities,” Tracy remarks.

In a market so far from Fargo, the biggest challenge is the people he’s calling on may not yet have heard about Bell. It’s both a challenge and an opportunity, because Tracy gets to tell them Bell’s story.

“It’s a fun story to tell, and it’s an easy story to tell,” Tracy affirms. “Richard Solberg and I started working together when the bank’s assets were $250 million; now we’re close to $5.5 billion. Everyone can see our desire for growth. Also, bankers are transitory people – so many have worked at 10 banks in their careers. When they hear I’ve been at one bank for so long, they believe it’s a great company.”

▶ Having worked in so many areas of banking, Tracy understands community banks’ obstacles. Give him a call or email to find out how he can help your bank succeed and grow.

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