Security First Bank of North Dakota is Putting People First

6 mins read

The roots of a tree run deep. Strong roots store the resources needed to sustain and grow, holding the tree firmly to the planted ground. The solid foundation of Security First Bank of North Dakota is the same in many ways. Founded in New Salem, ND in 1925 and purchased by Tony Goetz in 1964, the bank has experienced years of steady growth while providing dedicated service to the communities of Bismarck, Mandan, New Salem, Center, and Almont. Security First Bank is a third-generation family-owned community bank. Now in the hands of CEO Sarah Getzlaff, the mission remains the same deliver personalized and thoughtful service to every customer.

Sarah reflects fondly on her first memories of working in the bank. Her first official job was crawling under an accidentally locked vault door when she was three years old to retrieve the vault keys. Growing up, she helped build floats, shred documents, clean the bank, mow the grass, and whatever else needed doing. Much like her father, Jim Goetz, who started in the teller line in 1968 at age 17, Sarah received her first official paycheck working as a teller in 1995, when she was 14 years old.

The 90s were a busy time at Security First Bank. Jim was leading the bank as he merged their Center and New Salem offices into one bank and then expanded into Mandan. The Mandan office opened for business in 2000 with the Bismarck office following in 2004. “I loved working in the teller line, as well as in backroom operations. When I left North Dakota for college, I knew I would return to the family business”, Getzlaff shares. After a few years in public accounting, Sarah came back to the bank full-time in the operations area in 2007, eventually becoming the Chief Operations Officer in 2013, and taking the reins from her dad as CEO in 2018.

As a family-owned business, the Goetz family has always taken pride in treating their customers and their team members like family. “Every business says they go above and beyond, but I believe we truly do. I remember customers swinging by Lake Sakakawea State Park on weekends to ask my dad about car loans—he was always happy to help someone whenever and wherever. I also remember him leaving our house late one night to borrow a customer cash out of his own wallet for a medical emergency, and offering to send more than one employee to Mayo Clinic for health issues,” Getzlaff said.

Your One-Step Shop

Did you know Security First Bank is also home to Security First Agency and Security First Wealth Management? Whether you are looking for commercial, farm, or personal insurance coverage or for investment advisory services, they’ve got you covered!

"Security First Bank is small enough to have a family atmosphere, but large enough to offer the banking tools and services you need. We have the best crew here to help with every stage of life. I trust every team member at Security First Bank to do the right thing and refer my closest friends and family members. The family atmosphere extends to coworkers as well. The support I received while working through the challenges of a traumatic brain injury went above and beyond for me and my family. Jim, Sarah, and the entire team had my best interest at heart-we really care about each other."

"Working here, the customer really does come first. Yes, we have a lot of great products and services, and of course, we do our best to make customers aware of these things, but I'm never under any pressure to force a product or service on a customer when it wouldn't be a good fit for them."

Did You Know?
Three of the four team members leading operations are female—their Chief Executive Officer, Chief Operations Officer, and Vice President of Credit Administration & Marketing. Their center office is also led by President Deb Clarys (not pictured).

Stories like this were a constant part of Sarah’s childhood and have become a tradition she’s honored to continue and encourages her team to do the same. Getzlaff shared, “There’s no better feeling than helping someone. Whether you’re helping them achieve their dream of starting a new business, customizing a loan package, or simply helping them out of a bind, we take the time to do the right thing.” Led by the enduring mission of the Goetz Family to provide the most responsive customer service in the area, the Security First team is unified in their goal to deliver personal and thoughtful service while sharing the expertise and resources needed to be financially healthy and successful.

Although the team at Security First Bank is always looking for the opportunity to help out in extraordinary situations, they also go above and beyond for everyday banking needs with a suite of innovative online and mobile banking products and services. Security First Bank embraces the latest technology on the market, pairing it with the hometown service people deserve.

“We take pride in having a very experienced and customer-focused team. When you call Security First Bank, you talk to a person rather than a recording. If the person who answers the phone doesn’t have the answer, our customer needs, they know how to get them to the person who can help,”

TJ Rooney, Bismarck President said. “Having direct access to people with knowledge, expertise, and decision-making authority is fairly unique in our industry. Our decisions are made by those who live and work in the markets we serve. Our team truly wants the best for our customers and communities because when they succeed, we succeed.”

Although workforce shortages are affecting industries across the spectrum, Security First Bank experiences minimal turnover—due largely to a leadership team that instills a culture of respect, teamwork, and, most importantly, family first. With a team of long-tenured and experienced banking, insurance, and wealth management professionals, retirement is the main reason an opening might pop up on the roster.

“One quality that attracted me to Security First Bank is the willingness to invest in Security First Bank team members in a variety of ways that help them grow in both their careers and personal lives. Our leadership wants the best for each and every team member. When reflecting on my time here, I recognize that I’ve had endless opportunities for growth,” Rooney said.

"We've been working with Security First Bank for over 15 years, dating back to our old business. Everyone at SFB is so personable and responsive to any questions we may have. They care about how our business is running and if something is strange on any of our accounts, they'll reach out to us and make sure that everything is running smoothly. They're more than "just a bank" to us because of the personable experience we get from working with them."

Behind The Curtain at Security First Bank of ND

  • Sarah Getzlaf, CEO
    27 Years of Service
  • Jim Goetz, Chairman
    55 Years of Service
  • Jenna Fleck, Chief Operating Officer
    11 Years of Service
  • Todd Neurohr, Mandan President
    3 Years of Service
  • Laura Sandberg, VP, Credit Administration & Marketing
    10 Years of Service
  • TJ Rooney, Bismark President
    12 Years of Service

“Security First Bank’s ownership and management are the biggest reasons I joined this team. We’re led by truly genuine, caring people. Jim and Sarah are very involved with all of the bank’s employees and are always there when an employee or family member is in need. They provide a family-friendly work environment, which is rare in an industry that is typically very profit-goal-oriented. At Security First Bank, employees aren’t just statistical numbers on a spreadsheet,” Todd Neurohr, Mandan President said.

Security First Bank has always embraced a model that values people first, knowing it leads to the team putting customers first. At the beginning of every weekly team meeting, the crew takes their shot at random trivia questions. Sharing laughs over wrong answers or someone’s surprisingly high level of knowledge on an obscure topic (side note: invite Commercial & Ag Lender Dallon Bitz to your next trivial pursuit game night), the team always makes time for shoutouts to those who went above and beyond. Whether it was a creative solution to help a customer or time spent volunteering, it’s evident this team is invested in their goals and each other, and work together to create an outstanding experience for every customer.

“I truly believe our customer service is incomparable, especially if we are up against a larger bank. We have the latest technology on the market, paired with a hometown scale of customer service,” Getzlaff said. “Many people believe smaller community banks don’t have the same level of technology or products that a larger bank does, so they settle for a big bank with a level of customer service that’s just okay. Don’t settle—at Security First Bank, we have the technology, products, and customer service you truly deserve. Let us be your partner. Let us be your community bank.”

While Security First Bank will soon celebrate a century’s worth of years in business, not everything goes out of style. This organization is sticking to their roots and what they do best—putting people first

Security First Bank of North Dakota

Bismarck Phone: (701) 222-4444
Mandan Phone: (701) 667-7000
Email: [email protected]
Facebook: Security First Bank of North Dakota
Linkedin: /company/security-first-bank-of-north-dakota
Bismarck Address: 3000 N 14th St Bismarck, ND 58503
Mandan Address: 614 W Main St Mandan, ND 58554