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Welle honored for 50 years in banking

The Minnesota Bankers Association has inducted E. Joseph Welle of First National Bank Bemidji into its Pioneer Club. From left are Brad Bakken, past chair of the Minnesota Bankers Association; Welle; and Joe Witt, president/CEO of the Minnesota Bankers Association. Submitted Photo

The Minnesota Bankers Association inducted E. Joseph Welle of First National Bank Bemidji into its Pioneer Club during its 120th Annual Meeting.

The Pioneer Club honors bankers who have been in the banking industry for 50 or more years.

Welle joined First National Bank Bemidji on June 14, 1956, after serving in the U.S. Navy. After working in all departments of the bank, Welle was elected to the board of directors in 1967 and was elected chairman in 1988. Although he retired in 1999, Welle has remained active with the bank's holding company and foundation.

Welle has been heavily involved in several community organizations, including serving as president of the Joint Economic Development Corporation and the Bemidji Area Chamber of Commerce. He has also been involved with industry organizations, including serving on several committees of the ABA.

In addition to Welle, 11 other bankers from around the state were inducted into the MBA's Pioneer Club.

"We are proud to honor these bankers for their tremendous and lifelong commitment to the industry," said Joe Witt, president and CEO of the MBA. "It is because of their hard work and dedication that banks remain a solid foundation in their communities."

The Minnesota Bankers Association is the state's largest trade association devoted exclusively to the representation of commercial banks. The MBA was founded in 1889 and represents 95 percent of Minnesota's chartered banks. For details, visit