The Bank's Story

Our Story

Following his four years of military service in the Army Air Corps during World War II, Captain Wayne Stroup was riding the train from the east coast back to his parents’ home in Hazen, North Dakota. He was wearing his uniform and happened to be seated next to Hans Fischer, the owner of the Farmer’s Security Bank in Washburn, who had lost his son in the war. The conversation and the connection they made on that train over the next day and a half would have far-reaching effects.

Wayne had been a schoolteacher in Montana and western North Dakota before the war, but afterwards he moved back to Hazen and went to work in the Union State Bank where his father and brother worked. This situation continued until 1956, when Mr. Fischer walked into the Hazen bank one day and shocked Wayne by saying, “I’m going to sell you my bank in Garrison!” After much time and work to set up the financing plan for this surprising acquisition, Wayne packed up his family and moved to Garrison, North Dakota. The year was 1957.

Wayne Stroup 
Hans Fischer

As time passed, Garrison State Bank grew, and in 1961, when he retired, Mr. Fischer sold Wayne his Farmers Security Bank in Washburn. In 1965 Wayne transformed the Turtle Lake receiving station into the Bank of Turtle Lake. Wayne retired from the day to day banking activities in 1989, however, he continued to take an active role in this system and was attending board meetings until shortly before his passing at age 98 in September of 2015. The three banks have remained strong through the decades by remaining focused on serving their customers and building community. Today these banks are leaders in their communities, and it all began with a chance meeting on a train!

Wayne in the office

Wayne welcomes customers in 1961
Wayne and wife, Bernice, in the 60’s
Wayne with his son Jan, in 2014

Our Story Continued...

After Jan inherited Wayne's position as majority stockholder, he soon realized that he was in the same boat as Hans Fischer had been...he had no heirs that wanted to own and run the banks. So after spending a few years trying to formulate a plan for the future of the holding company and the banks, Jan Stroup decided to take the Hans Fischer approach.
So in March of 2018, Jan walked unannounced into the office of Farmers Security Bank President Jamie Nelson and repeated Mr. Fischer's surprising declaration, "I'm going to sell you my bank in Garrison." After Jamie took some time to decide with her husband Mike Nelson if they wanted to take on this responsibility, Jamie said, "Yes!" And Jan and Jamie began their planning of how to make this happen.
After two years of enlisting the help of several experts including Brady Martz Accounting of Minot and The Bank of North Dakota, Jamie and Jan met on March 5, 2020 at the Bank of North Dakota in Bismarck to transfer the majority stock from Jan Stroup to Jamie Nelson. Jan and his wife, Mary Jean Korsmo, kept a minority share of the McLean Bank Holding Company stock, a legacy from Wayne and Bernice....and Hans Fischer.
It was a smooth transition, and unlike many banks which change ownership, there were no changes in policies or personnel. There were no name changes. Everything continued exactly as it had before with local bankers working together to serve their communities. Just the way Wayne would have wanted it. Just the way Hans Fischer would have wanted it.
For the first one hundred years, Farmers Security Bank, Garrison State Bank & Trust, and Bank of Turtle Lake were owned by two families. There will be a new family as we begin our second one hundred years - Jamie and Mike Nelson!

Jan Stroup
 Jamie Nelson

Jan Stroup & Jamie Nelson
March 5, 2020
Jamie Nelson accepts the majority stock certificate from Jan Stroup as the ownership changes hands.
From L to R - McLean Bank Holding Company Executive Vice-President, Glenda Korgel, Jan Stroup, Bank of North Dakota Consultants Jim Leier & Craig Hanson, new owner Jamie Nelson & her husband Mike Nelson

Historical Dates and Timeline

  • Feb. 10, 1919 Farmers State Bank of Gladstone, in Gladstone, ND was founded by Adam Lefor, Thomas Lefor, and J. W. Brinton. (later to become Garrison State Bank)
  • October 1919 Farmers Security Bank of Washburn, ND was founded with officers being Ole Holtan, President, Oscar S. Ober, Vice President, and Hans A. Fischer, Cashier.
  • February 1, 1931 Farmers Security Bank assumed the deposit liability and took over the assets of Washburn State Bank.
  • June 22, 1935 The Charter of Farmers State Bank of Gladstone was moved to Garrison, North Dakota, and it became Garrison State Bank.
  • Nov. 24, 1956 Wayne purchased his first shares of Garrison State Bank stock from owner Hans Fischer and became President of GSB.
  • May 4, 1962 Wayne began the acquisition of Farmers Security Bank by making his initial purchase of FSB stock from Hans Fischer.
  • Aug. 31, 1965 The Bank of Turtle Lake was founded, created from Mr. Fischer’s receiving station. Some capital and accounts were moved from FSB to Turtle Lake.
  • Nov. 1972 The Garrison State Bank opened their new building on Main Street.
  • May 7, 1979 The Bank of Turtle Lake opened their new building on Main Street.
  • Dec. 11, 1981 The McLean Bank Holding Company was founded to become the proprietary owner of the three banks and purchased as much of their outstanding bank stock as possible. This made the three banks more efficient by combining and sharing their resources in one system, while still remaining independent entities. Wayne was the majority shareholder of the new holding company.
  • Dec. 1983 A trust department is added to GSB, and it becomes Garrison State Bank & Trust.
  • Sept. 3, 1984 Farmers Security Bank opened their new building on Main Street. 
  • 2017 Jan Stroup becomes majority shareholder of McLean Bank Holding Company
  • March 2020 Jamie Nelson acquires majority stock from Jan Stroup.