Nelson, Bjorge Named Bell CFO and Controller
Rodney Jordahl, who had served as Bell Bank’s chief financial officer since 1999, retired Dec. 31 after guiding the company’s finances through more than 2 decades of growth and change.
A Fargo, N.D., native and a graduate of Minnesota State University – Moorhead, Rod joined what was then State Bank of Fargo, Moorhead and West Fargo after previous roles with Metropolitan Federal, Dakota and Gate City banks. State Bank had $502 million in assets at the time. Today, Bell Bank is one of the nation’s largest independently owned banks, with more than $8.5 billion in total assets.
During his tenure, Rod helped steer Bell Bank through significant events including post-9/11 financial challenges (and later the Great Recession), the acquisition of Northern Capital Trust (and its merger with the 3 banks into State Bank & Trust), the bank’s expansion into the Minnesota lakes area; strategic acquisitions, particularly Bell Mortgage in 2011 (after which the company adopted the Bell Bank name) and Warner & Company Insurance (now Bell Insurance) in 2019; the 2016 launch of Bell’s employee stock ownership plan (ESOP); and Bell’s ongoing growth in the Twin Cities metro, Arizona and other markets.
Bell Bank chairman Richard Solberg describes Rod as providing behind-the-scenes advice and guidance over decades of working together.
“Rod was so good at all the details, he would just quietly get it done without fanfare,” says Richard. “But his role has been critically important to our company.”
Michael Solberg, Bell’s president and CEO, notes how the company has benefited from Rod’s patient and steady leadership through the past several decades of tremendous expansion and growth.
“When you look at all the changes he’s seen, Rod has had simply an amazing run at Bell,” Michael comments. “Not only does Rod have accounting and financial skills second to none, but for many years, he also had all of the bank’s operations and technology under his wing. Today, all the roles Rod had previously are split among at least five leaders in finance, operations, IT and on our bank and holding company boards. Bell’s ownership and staff have been privileged to have Rod’s wise guidance all these years.”
With Rod’s retirement, Blake Nelson has been named chief financial officer (CFO) and Carrie Bjorge SVP/controller for Bell Bank.
“Blake and Carrie have already moved into their new roles over the past year,” says Michael, “and have had the benefit of consulting with Rod throughout 2020 with its unique challenges. Our company’s financial side continues to be in good hands as we look to the future.”
Blake, a native of Pelican Rapids, Minn., and a graduate of Concordia College in Moorhead, Minn., joined the bank in 1998 and was named controller in 2003. Originally from Alexandria, Minn., Carrie also graduated from Concordia College. She joined Bell Bank in 2015 as assistant controller and has been in the banking field for 20 years.
Congratulations to Blake and Carrie! Thank you, Rod, from the Bell family – and best wishes for your retirement!