Steve Carlson

Detroit Lakes, Minn., and Chandler, Ariz.

Starting with Bell Bank in 1997, Steve Carlson and his wife, Joyce, have moved several times throughout the years and taken their bank with them. From West Fargo, N.D., to Alexandria and Detroit Lakes, Minn., the couple was excited to hear about Bell’s decision to expand in January 2019 and offer a full-service bank in Chandler, Ariz., where they winter.

“I worked it out to be there about 8:01 a.m. on the Monday they opened, and I think I surprised a few people,” Steve recalls. “I think we ended up having about a 45-minute conversation – just getting acquainted – and it was fun.”

How we chose Bell:

When we relocated to West Fargo, N.D., in 1997, we moved in across the street from a current bank president of yours named Todd Zabel. We got to talking, and pretty soon Todd said, “You have to come down and check this operation out.” We did, and it started the ground work for a 20-year relationship with Bell.

How long we’ve been customers:

Since 1997

Our favorite bankers:

Todd Zabel

Todd Zabel (then West Fargo president, now a community banking leader for Bell) introduced us to some of Bell’s other services. We ended up opening an account with the wealth management group and started working with Joe Gotta (senior wealth & fiduciary advisor)). We’ve been working with Joe ever since.

Joe Gotta

The wealth management division has been superb to work with. We’re so happy with our trust people there.

photo of alexandria location

In terms of relationship longevity, our closest relationships were probably with the Alexandria, Minn., team. They did so much for us over a period of time – car loans, loans for homes, bridge loans, you name it.

Why we’ve stayed with Bell over the years:

You build friends working with them. It’s not just going to a banker. There’s always somebody greeting you right off the bat. You’re not just a number. We had first-name relationships with virtually every bank location we’ve been in. It’s a really close feeling right away.

Our Bell products and services:

Checking, savings account, online banking (plus bill pay services), vehicle loans, mortgage, Bell Investments account*

We did online banking a lot while we were in Arizona for six months out of our year, every year. It was the easiest way for us to transact something, whether it’s depositing a check or moving some funds around.

Any time Bell has helped us:

Eight years ago, we had the opportunity to buy our Chandler home, and we needed a bridge loan. We hadn’t sold the property we were in at the time, but we didn’t want to let this house get away.

We asked Bell about it, but they weren’t licensed in Arizona and didn’t think they could help us. It wasn’t more than 2 or 3 hours later that they called us back and told us that through their recent acquisition of Bell Mortgage, they would be able to help us.

We had the unique opportunity to be the first Bell Mortgage customer to use Bell Bank financing in Arizona. That was in 2012, and we’ve been here since.

*Products and services provided by Bell Bank Wealth Management are: Not FDIC Insured | No Bank Guarantee | May Lose Value | Not A Deposit | Not Insured by Any Federal Government Agency

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