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Bell State Bank & Trust to acquire The Business Bank

State Bankshares, Inc., the parent company of Bell State Bank & Trust, has agreed to acquire The Business Bank and its Prime Mortgage division, both based in Minneapolis. The agreement has also been approved by the board of directors of Business Bancorporation, Inc., parent company of The Business Bank. The transaction is subject to regulatory and shareholder approval.

The acquisition will bring together the largest independently owned bank and mortgage company in Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota with another of the region's largest privately held banking and mortgage companies.

"We are excited about this new partnership," said The Business Bank CEO Brad Krohn. "The cultures and philosophies of Bell State Bank & Trust and The Business Bank and Prime Mortgage are remarkably similar, and we look forward to a smooth transition for our teams. We plan to continue to deliver the highest standard of customer service and value, now combined with the size and strength of Bell State Bank & Trust."

Bringing former long-time competitors Prime Mortgage and Bell Mortgage under the Bell State Bank & Trust umbrella creates a company that, combined, originated nearly $3 billion in mortgages in 2012.

Bell State Bank & Trust president Michael Solberg said the proposed acquisition has been a win-win situation from the start. "We look forward to many great years ahead as we continue to grow," Solberg said. "We believe the acquisition of the Business Bank and its mortgage lending division, Prime Mortgage, combined with our current Twin Cities operations, will create an even more powerful banking and mortgage presence in the Twin Cities and greater Minnesota. Our combined capabilities will increase our ability to serve the needs of Minnesota consumers, businesses, realtors and builders with a wide array of banking and mortgage options."

Bell State Bank & Trust, The Business Bank and Prime Mortgage have been recognized as top companies and workplaces by local and regional publications. "Combining the companies creates new professional opportunities for our great employee teams as well," said Solberg.

The Business Bank, with total assets of $200 million, was organized in Minnetonka, Minn., in 2000 with a focus on small business lending. Prime Mortgage was founded in 1986 and joined The Business Bank in 2007. The company employs more than 200 people at 15 offices in Minnesota and a satellite location in Naples, Fla.