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100-Year-Old Wisdom: The Lake Region Bank Story

Lake Region Bank is proud to have served the Willmar, New London, and Sunburg area for more than 100 years. We’re so grateful for the generations of customers who have trusted us with their savings, business finances, insurance, and retirement accounts.

Today, we wanted to share a bit of our history with you so you can see why we’re your community’s trusted local bank.

Before We Were Lake Region Bank, We Were Farmers State Bank

On January 12, 1915, forty shareholders got together on a cold Minnesota day to found Farmers State Bank in New London. The bank opened with $12,000 in assets. You may recognize a few of the last names on the original board of directors, including MO Oppegaard, AT Thorne, LE Covell, PO Johnson, FH Smithson, JA Johnson, and Ole Ringness.

In 1923, Alvin Ness joined the bank. Thirteen years later, Mr. Ness took over as managing director. He would lead the bank until 1970, when our current executive chairman Paul Vollan bought the bank with his business partner Harvey Hanson. Mr. Vollan became president when Mr. Ness retired later that year. At the time, the bank had six employees.

In 1977, Mr. Vollan and Mr. Hanson opened the Sunburg branch, and then opened the Willmar branch four years later. Soon, Mr. Vollan’s son, Clark, joined the Farmers State Bank team.

Becoming Lake Region Bank

In 2003, Farmers State Bank became Lake Region Bank. The Sunburg branch still bears the original stone sign for Farmers State Bank, a nod back to our roots. When Paul Vollan retired as president, his son Clark stepped into the role. He continues to serve as the president of Lake Region Bank today, while Paul enjoys semi-retirement as the bank’s executive chairman. 

Today, Lake Region Bank employs more than 30 of your neighbors at its three locations, including a third generation of Vollans. When asked about what being your community bank means to him, Paul Vollan explained, “There’s a lot more to banking than just lending. You serve your community in many different ways, and that’s why I still come into the bank. For more than 50 years, I couldn’t wait to go to work at Lake Region Bank, and that’s a gift.”

Looking for a local bank with big-city digital banking solutions? We’re looking forward to serving you! Get in touch today.

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