Citizens Alliance Bank

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Our History

Citizens Alliance Bank, formally known as Citizens State Bank of Clara City (CSBCC) until October of 2010, was originally chartered as the German American Bank on November 15, 1902.

The bank operated as a Company Bank under the name of German American Bank until the year 1909 when it was incorporated and given a Minnesota state charter under the name of German American State Bank. The bank continued to operate with this name until 1918 when, due to adverse feelings toward the German people as a result of World War I; the name was changed to Citizens State Bank of Clara City.

On October 2, 2010, CSBCC changed its name and logo to Citizens Alliance Bank to better reflect the institution's continued growth and expansion into other communities.

The bank has experienced numerous challenging economic events and substantial regulatory and competitive changes.  Most notably, the bank survived the Great Depression of 1929 and the Great Recession of 2008, which saw numerous bank failures.  Despite these two formidable trials, Citizens Alliance Bank remained open, without interruption to service its customers.

In 1955, at age 26, C. R. (Kelly) Forstrom, originally from Willmar, Minnesota moved to Clara City with his wife Norma because he purchased a minority interest in the bank. Over the years, C. R. eventually acquired all of the shares of the bank and Citizens State Insurance Agency.  In 1982, Forstrom Bancorporation, Inc. (FBC) was formed as a parent or holding corporation to be used as a conduit for future bank acquisitions.  At that time, all the stock of Citizens Alliance Bank was transferred from C. R. Forstrom to FBC.  Controlling interest in FBC was sold to C. R’s four sons (Philip, Paul {8-8-59~1-26-2001}, Perry and John) on December 31, 1990.  This was the same day that C. R. retired as President of Citizens Alliance Bank and its various affiliates.

A significant event in the history of the bank would include the merger of Americana State Bank’s (of Clara City) assets and liabilities into the assets and liabilities of Citizens Alliance Bank in October 1986.  Over the past 110 years, our primary location has changed a number of times within Clara City.  After completion of a renovation and expansion of the Americana State Bank facility, all banking operations were moved to 126 North Main Street, Clara City. The bank remained at that location until June 2004 when the charter moved into a new building located at 55 1st Street NW in Clara City.  Upon completion of the current facility, the old Americana State Bank facility was donated to the City of Clara City and is now the public library.

Citizens Alliance Bank acquired nearby Security State Bank of Maynard by means of a merger in 1991 and a branch of U. S. Bank in Granite Falls in 1995.  Citizens Alliance Bank then acquired via merger First State Bank of Lake Lillian in 2005.  In May 2006, FBC purchased the parent company of Yellow Medicine County Bank in Granite Falls and Echo.  As a result of this purchase, the Yellow Medicine County Bank and its branch office in neighboring Echo, Minnesota was merged into Citizens Alliance Bank.

On October 14, 2011 Citizens Alliance Bank merged with its affiliated bank, Security State Bank of Howard Lake (SSBHL) and thereby acquired its branch office in Watertown, Minnesota (opened July 5, 2005). SSBHL was originally chartered on September 15, 1915 and until the merger with Citizens Alliance Bank, operated as a wholly owned subsidiary of FBC. On May 17, 2013 Citizens Alliance Bank acquired affiliated First State Bank of Murdock by means of merger. On April 25, 2014 Citizens Alliance Bank acquired affiliated First Valley Bank of Seeley Lake, Montana also by means of merger.

Over the past 113+ years, Citizens Alliance Bank has grown substantially. This can be evidenced by asset growth that started at $10,000 in 1902 and now exceeds $634 million.  We have nine offices in eight communities in Minnesota and one community in Montana.  

On November 18, 2013 Forstrom Bancorporation Inc acquired all the stock of First Bank of Lincoln, Lincoln Montana. It is anticipated that First Bank of Lincoln will be merged into Citizens Alliance Bank in the future.

Between Citizens Alliance Bank, Forstrom Bancorporation Inc, and its wholly owned subsidiary of First Bank of Lincoln, we employ about 130+ people and our consolidated assets are greater than $650 million. 



Member FDIC

Clara City
Phone: (320)847-3702
Phone: (320)367-2183
Granite Falls
Phone: (320)564-4522
Lake Lillian
Phone: (320)664-4111
Seeley Lake
Phone: (406)677-2464

Eqal Housing Lender

Phone: (507)925-4133
Howard Lake
Phone: (320)543-2151
Phone: (952)955-2992
Phone: (320)875-2431

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