The Bank of North Dakota: The NPL and the Bank

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

The frustration of farmers at the stranglehold Twin Cities and corporate business had on transportation, finance, and milling led to the rise of the Non-Partisan League.  The NPL-controlled legislature passed several bills providing support to farmers, including creation of the only state-owned bank in the country.

A. C. Townley’s Non-Partisan League’s membership rose quickly and soon endorsed candidates for their state ownership platform. After surmounting enduring political hurdles to get the NPL’s legislation passed in 1919, North Dakotans turned on the organization, but the state-owned enterprises the NPL created remained and flourished.


Kim Stenehjem (Producer); Lee Westad (Editor); R. Cadwell, D. Geck, T. Jensen, L. Westad (Videographers); Bob Dambach (Executive Director).


The Bank of North Dakota [Documentary]. USA: Prairie Public Broadcasting (2005).

Grade Level

4 - 12

Subject Matter

Social Studies

Related Media

  1. The Bank of North Dakota: Economic Independence

    The desire for independence led North Dakota farmers to organize support for the Bank of North Dakota.

  2. The Bank of North Dakota: The Bank Today
    Video: An overview of the Bank of North Dakota's function in modern-day North Dakota.
  3. Dakota Datebook: Bank of North Dakota
    Audio: The Bank of North Dakota is the only state-owned bank in the United States.