Jordahl Retires as CFO at Bell Bank; Nelson & Bjorge Named CFO and Controller



Rodney Jordahl retired as CFO of Bell Bank on Dec. 31. With Jordahl’s retirement, Blake Nelson was named CFO and Carrie Bjorge was named SVP/controller for Bell Bank.

Jordahl, who became CFO in 1999, 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 an independently owned bank with more than $8.5 billion in total assets.

During Jordahl’s tenure, he helped steer Bell Bank through post-9/11 financial challenges (and later the Great Recession); the acquisition of Northern Capital Trust (and its merger with the three banks into State Bank & Trust); the bank’s expansion into the Minnesota lakes area; other 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 new and existing markets.

Richard Solberg, Bell Bank chairman, said Jordahl provided 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,” Richard Solberg said. “But his role has been critically important to our company.”

Michael Solberg, Bell’s president and CEO, said the company benefited from Jordahl’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 Solberg said. “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.”

Nelson, a native of Pelican Rapids, MN, and a graduate of Concordia College in Moorhead, MN, joined the bank in 1998 and was named controller in 2003.

Originally from Alexandria, MN, Bjorge also graduated from Concordia College. She joined Bell Bank in 2015 as assistant controller and has been in the banking field for 20 years.

“Blake and Carrie have already moved into their new roles over the past year and have had the benefit of consulting with Rod throughout 2020 with its unique challenges,” Michael Solberg said. “Our company’s financial side continues to be in good hands as we look to the future.”

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