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Business Briefs for 03/22/2014

TheBlaze added


BEMIDJI — TheBlaze has been added to the Paul Bunyan Television Extra package available through Paul Bunyan Television. TheBlaze is a news, opinion, and entertainment network and is the exclusive provider of Glenn Beck’s daily television broadcast. TheBlaze can be found on PBTV channel 307. For more information, visit

Bus line receives highest rating

BEMIDJI — Bemidji Bus Line recently received the highest rating and maintains its certification as a Military Approved Carrier. Bemidji Bus Line recently was selected for a facility, terminal, and equipment inspection to maintain the certification. The inspection primarily measures performance in maintaining compliance with the Military Bus Agreement and its addendum and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations. The Department of Defense rates carriers on a scale from 1 to 5, with 1 being satisfactory and 5 being unsatisfactory. Bemidji Bus Line received a rating of 1. Only 10 percent of motorcoach companies nationwide are approved for military transportation, according to a company release.

Trend of fewer small banks continues

GRAND FORKS, N.D. — A mix of increased competition and regulations are contributing to a decades-long trend of fewer small banks across the country.

That trend was exemplified by Choice Financial Group’s recent acquisition of Great Plains National Bank, based in Belfield. That was followed by Alerus Financial’s announcement that it was acquiring Twin Cities-based Private Bank Minnesota.

Leaders of those banks said the moves will benefit customers and the communities they enter. But they also cited regulatory and economic factors that are driving a larger trend toward fewer small banks.

Choice CEO Brian Johnson said the acquisition allows Choice to extend itself into the lucrative western North Dakota market as well as southeastern North Dakota, where it can continue to work in the agriculture sector. It will also increase Choice’s assets from about $660 million to $850 million, Johnson said, and increase its presence from 10 to 15 locations, all but one of which are in North Dakota.