Board Member Q&A with Julie Fritz, American Bank Center

Lewis & Clark Development Group is fortunate to benefit from the expertise of so many state and community leaders who serve on our three boards of directors. Their service and support allows LCD Group’s three entities – Lewis & Clark Regional Development Council (RDC), Lewis & Clark Certified Development Company (CDC), and CommunityWorks North Dakota (CWND) – to fulfill our mission and positively impact businesses, communities, families, and individuals throughout North Dakota.

This month, we visited with Julie Fritz, Credit Officer with American Bank Center and a member of the board for the Lewis & Clark Certified Development Company (CDC).

Fritz joined the Lewis & Clark CDC board of directors seven years ago. She is a credit officer with American Bank Center in Dickinson. 

Originally raised on a dairy farm in southwestern North Dakota, Fritz earned her bachelor’s degree in business administration from Dickinson State University (DSU). She started working at American Bank Center while attending DSU. Since beginning her financial career in 2002, Fritz has held several positions. For the last 10 years she has been a member of the loan department as a loan officer and most recently as credit officer specializing in commercial and ag lending.

Outside of the office and away from her service on various boards, Fritz can be found with her family. With her husband of 15 years, they are raising their five-year-old son and have two dogs, all whom Fritz happily admits “fill up every spare minute of our lives.” Yard work, board games, card games, rounds of Mario Cart fill up a lot of time at the Fritz household. She admits that every now and then she sometimes beats her boys at Mario Cart. Back in her he 20s and early 30s, Fritz and her husband enjoyed traveling. They look forward to traveling again in the near future and experiencing new places and activities with their son.

What makes serving on the Lewis & Clark CDC board of directors meaningful to you?

The SBA 504 program is a great tool to help business owner’s grow or establish their businesses. Often banks cannot put together the necessary financing without the program. The SBA 504 program reduces some of the barriers toward growing or starting a business, such as less money down for the borrower, and spreading the risk for financial institutions. This is especially a big deal after a year of COVID and all of the obstacles and unknowns that have accompanied the pandemic.  It is great to be a part of an organization that is providing this important program to businesses across North Dakota.
 
Also, I like working with the team at Lewis and Clark CDC. Based in Mandan, they have a local feel and they seek to understand the economies of central and western North Dakota. The Lewis and Clark CDC staff are a great resource to answer questions and assist with solutions to financing problems as they arise. Take a look at what they’ve done with the new programs they brought forward to assist businesses during COVID. They are committed to helping small businesses and are innovative. Matt (Lewis & Clark CDC Commercial Lending Director Matt Burthold) is a wealth of knowledge. I have found connecting with him and the CDC staff, along with working with North Dakota Opportunity Fund, provides clients with great financing options that otherwise would not be around if not for Lewis and Clark CDC.

When people think of western North Dakota, they think of oil and gas. Growth has defined the last decade in western North Dakota. How is the economy of Dickinson and western North Dakota doing today? And, as a banker, where do you see things heading in the coming years?
 

All of North Dakota, including the west, has deep roots in agriculture. I think those roots lend well to a strong entrepreneurial spirit, a willingness to work hard, and call your own shots. Though we have certainly encountered a slowdown in the oil and gas sector, I believe people will continue to seek out options to capitalize on opportunities as they arise, whether it supports our agricultural economy, the oil and gas sector, manufacturing, or retail.  There may not be a boom in business such as that associated with oil and gas, but I anticipate a slow and steady growth over the next couple of years.
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