Citizens Independent Bank celebrates 65 years in Minnesota

Personal service and strong leadership contributed to bank’s longevity

By Erica Rivera

It’s rare that an independent bank stays independent. Citizens Independent Bank (CIB) has been the exception — and a longstanding staple in the western suburbs of Minnesota for 65 years.

“There are a lot of banks that merge and get sold,” says Laura Tillotson, COO, “but we’re that family-owned, community bank that’s committed to our customers.”

CIB (originally known as Citizens State Bank), St. Louis Park's first bank, opened in January of 1950 with six employees and a first-day deposit total of $20,000. The bank set itself apart in 1954 when it installed a drive-up window that allowed customers to make deposits in a drop-off slot at any time of day without leaving their vehicles.

CIB grew steadily; in 1963 it boasted deposits of $11.5 million and had 43 employees; by the early ‘70s, the bank was ready to relocate to a larger facility across the street from its original Excelsior Boulevard location. A new branch in Hopkins followed in 2000 and another in Plymouth opened the following year. In 2004, the CIB headquarters settled into its current location at 5000 West 36th Street in St. Louis Park.

Today, CIB has four branches and 80 employees, many of whom have been with the bank for decades. “When you have that longevity, you really get to know those customers and that community,” says Tillotson, who attributes the bank’s success to the personal service as well as leadership of board chair emeritus Connie Bakken and president and CEO Brad Bakken.

In addition to serving the community through volunteerism and ad sponsorship, CIB is dedicated to serving small and midsized businesses. “We have business customers that have been with us for many, many years and we continue to reach out to new businesses that come to the area as well,” Tillotson says.

CIB is celebrating its legacy in the community at its St. Louis Park, Hopkins, Robbinsdale, and Plymouth locations on Friday, June 5. Bundt cake and coffee will be served, and a raffle will be held for four gift baskets worth $150 each.