The First National Bank of Deerwood, commonly known as Deerwood Bank, was incorporated in 1910 in Deerwood, Minnesota (pop. 590). Deerwood was then a newly incorporated village along the Northern Pacific Railway that was growing rapidly since its beginning in 1872. Located in Northern Minnesota with a plentiful supply of building materials and fuel from surrounding forests along with abundant game and lakes, attracted many to settle permanently or visit the developing resort industry.
After 68 years of serving Deerwood and its surrounding communities, the Bank branched out to serve a broader area. In 1978 a new office was constructed approximately fifteen miles south in Garrison, Minnesota. In 1995, Deerwood Bank expanded its reach entering into the City of Brainerd located twenty miles to the west. The Brainerd Lakes Area is viewed to be the premier resort destination in Northern Minnesota in addition to being a regional hub for medical, retail and educational resources. Due to the abundance of lakes, resorts and summer cottages, the Brainerd Lakes population increases substantially in the summer. Today more than 85,000 people have chosen to live in the Brainerd Lakes Area year round, and the population doubles during the summer with the return of seasonal residents and vacationers. With the three locations in Crow Wing County, Deerwood has strategic locations throughout the county.
Since inception, Deerwood Bank has been a privately owned bank for over 100 years. After local ownership by the Skone family for approximately forty years, the Bank was sold to another local family, the Spalj's, in 1997.
Concurrently, the Bank began to aggressively pursue expansion and acquisition opportunities that would fit into our business model. This model is to focus our efforts on building relationships with our local constituents specializing in meeting the needs of small businesses and home loan financing through investment in personnel and by the offering of unique products to our markets including free business checking and in-house servicing of mortgage loans.
Our first foray into expansion was an acquisition of a small branch in Bemidji, Minnesota approximately 90 miles north of Brainerd. Bemidji is a county seat with a state university. Similar to Brainerd, Bemidji is a regional medical, retail and educational hub. Bemidji is the second fastest growing micropolitan community in the State of Minnesota and 92nd in the country.
Deerwood Bank acquired the Grand Rapids office of MidCountry Bank in June 2008. Grand Rapids is similar to our Brainerd and Bemidji markets as it is also a regional recreational, medical, retail and educational hub which is located approximately 75 miles northeast of Brainerd.
In September 2008, Deerwood Bank acquired the Baxter office of Midwest Bank and in December 2008 relocated our Brainerd office to East Brainerd. With locations on both sides of the Brainerd/Baxter area, we are fully prepared to meet the needs of our customers.
To this day, Deerwood Bank continues to be a community based bank. Our expansions and growth represents our desire to broaden our services and convenience to our customers throughout Northern Minnesota. Our business philosophies are based on the belief that, "to be a successful community bank, we must be committed to our communities and have a unique ability to know and serve our markets".