Board Member Q&A with TJ Rooney, Security First Bank

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 TJ Rooney, Bismarck President of Security First Bank of North Dakota. Rooney is a member of the board of directors for the Lewis & Clark Certified Development Company (CDC).

Rooney knows the Bismarck-Mandan region well. He grew up in Mandan and graduated from Mandan High School. Rooney first attended Bismarck State College where he earned his certificate in power and process plant technology. Shortly after and along the way, he decided to pursue a business career. Rooney earned a bachelor’s in business administration from NDSU and, as his banking career progressed, graduated from the Graduate School of Banking in Colorado.

Rooney has been in banking for almost 20 years, 15 of  those years have been spent in commercial lending. He has been with Security First Bank since May 2011. 

When Rooney is not managing the bank’s Bismarck operations or assisting its commercial clients, he can be found spending time with his family. Rooney and his wife have three children: two daughters, ages 14 and 12, a son who is 10 years old. Active in his children’s activities, Rooney has frequently coached many of their sports over the years. Together as a family, the Rooneys enjoy camping. For his part, Rooney loves to fish, hunt, and golf.

How many years have you served on the Lewis & Clark CDC Board of Directors? What do you most enjoy about serving on the Board?

I have been on the Lewis & Clark CDC board for almost six years. I am coming up on the end of my second term.  What I enjoy most about being on the board is learning about the different projects around the state that are benefiting from the help of Lewis & Clark CDC and the SBA 504 program. 

As a banker and board member, how are Lewis & Clark CDC’s programs helping lenders and impacting North Dakota’s small businesses?

Lewis & Clark CDC’s programs help banks reduce their risk on projects by providing a strong collateral position for the bank. This helps banks finance projects that may otherwise not fit their risk profile. These programs help small business grow and expand by providing business owners with lower equity requirements and low-long-term fixed rate options on a portion of their debt. 

From my perspective, Lewis & Clark CDC has done a great job partnering with banks and businesses throughout the state to spur economic growth. The Lewis & Clark Development Group staff has relationships across North Dakota. As a board member, I enjoy working with them. As a banker, I greatly appreciate all that they do.
From your professional perspective, what is the current state of small businesses right now? How have they weathered the storm from the pandemic? What do you see on the horizon as the biggest economic challenges for small businesses over the next two years?
I believe the current state of small business is dependent upon the industry. There are some areas that are doing very well, and there are others that are struggling. It seems the opportunity for sales is there at this point in the pandemic based on the majority of our state being open with limited restrictions. However, we are seeing supply chain issues, difficulty finding employees, and inflation. These issues are limiting some small businesses from maintaining or growing their revenue. I believe these same issues will be the biggest economic challenges over the next couple years. 

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