Gate City Bank Supervisor Megan Bistodeau’s Fun Themes, Giving Heart Turning Heads in Central Minnesota
It’s Halloween 2021, and Megan Bistodeau opens up Gate City Bank’s Coborn’s grocery store location in Sauk Rapids, MN. The first customers of the day begin to trickle in, and one by one they each crack a smile upon noticing the piggy bank costume she’s wearing. The grins quickly break into chuckles as her fellow team members cascade in behind her – dressed as hundred-dollar bills.
Obviously, the customers are in for a treat. These are among the lighthearted antics they’ve come to know and love about Gate City Bank’s central Minnesota team, which includes nearby St. Cloud and Waite Park. Since Bistodeau and her colleagues began pleasantly disrupting the region’s banking scene in 2020, her notorious creative side has rubbed off on those she works with. Not only that, her unmistakable passion for giving has inspired them to make a difference in the community.
Thanks to Bistodeau and her team, signs of Gate City Bank’s impact can be found everywhere. Shoppers tote around the bank’s reusable blue bags after team members initially donated them full of food pantry items. Excited kids clutch new swim gear and hitch a free shuttle to the YMCA after the bank pledged $50,000 to support a water safety program. Elderly residents share a warm hug after receiving Meals on Wheels. Faces of families in need light up upon finding Christmas gifts at their door, left by local “elves.”
Without a doubt, Bistodeau and her fellow team members have had an incredible impact on the area. Whether it’s decking out the lobby to look like the set of The Price Is Right or raising money for a local charity by drawing a random idea from a hat, their mission for central Minnesota has been clear: to create a better way of life for customers, communities and one another – one unique theme at a time.
“At Gate City Bank, we just like to make the most fun out of any situation,” says Bistodeau, Assistant Vice President, Retail Manager. “I think it’s about finding joy in providing innovative services for our customers, and then having that joy be multiplied ten-fold whenever we’re able to give back to the community in a creative way. We’re so proud to call this place home.”
Bistodeau was born and raised in Elk River, MN, and her college studies drew her to Minnesota State University Moorhead on the western end of the state. Minnesota nice is in her blood, and it’s something Gate City Bank customers immediately noticed about her when she started working in nearby Fargo, ND, just across the Red River.
She worked as a teller in south Fargo through part of college, and upon graduating returned in a full-time capacity as customer service representative. Gate City Bank quickly noticed Bistodeau’s talents, and she was promoted to work in the Debit Card Services department at the company’s headquarters in downtown Fargo. It was a great fit, and she loved every moment of it.
Then, the unexpected happened. One of Bistodeau’s parents fell seriously ill, and she made the difficult decision to move back home to central Minnesota to help care for them. As it turns out, banking is in her blood, too, but at the time Gate City Bank had no locations in her home area. For the duration, she decided to work for a different bank. But it wasn’t long before fate knocked at her door.
“When I heard that Gate City Bank was coming to the St. Cloud area, I immediately picked up the phone and called some of my previous coworkers to learn what they knew,” Bistodeau says. “Not only was the news true, but the bank asked if I would return as a supervisor. I was absolutely elated.”
Bistodeau was coming home to a mutual bank, one that isn’t subject to now-common hostile takeovers – rather, a bank that thrives on giving back to the community. Her passion in a nutshell.
Before Gate City Bank’s three central Minnesota locations were even open, Bistodeau and her team members went to work, embracing the community as soon as possible. They introduced themselves to people on the street. They rang the bell for the Salvation Army. They started working with the chamber of commerce. They thought up plans for a local, multi-million-dollar home improvement program.
And they were just getting warmed up.
Queue the fun themes: The bank’s popular giveaway pens became witches’ brooms on Halloween. Each location incorporated on-site games year-round. Team members attached candy to otherwise routine paperwork. The idea was to always add a personal touch – and an unforgettable experience. All hats were off, and a better way of banking was on.
It goes without saying that Bistodeau has a tight-knit team. It’s a culture of fellowship.
“I always tell people, ‘You’re not going to find a better place to work,’” she says. “It’s nice to know you’re working for a company that cares about you.”
For one, the bank recognizes the not-so-little things. Whether it’s birthdays, career milestones, military homecomings or anything in between – nothing’s off the table. If it’s important to you and yours, it’s worth celebrating.
Plus, Gate City Bank fosters a culture of growth where nearly everything is considered a learning opportunity. Didn’t get it right the first time? No worries, we’ll build on that. Missed an opportunity? We’ll help you seize it the next time!
It may come as no surprise that Bistodeau has an adventurous spirit. At the start of her renewed tenure at Gate City Bank, she felt called to visit Africa to visit a child her family sponsors through World Vision, a Christian organization that helps children in poverty around the globe thrive.
Initially, she was slightly worried the bank wouldn’t approve of her making the trip right as she was starting a new job. On the contrary, the company gave her its full backing. Little did she know, Gate City Bank has a sabbatical program that encourages team members to go out and help the world.
“My trip to Africa was a lifechanging experience,” she says. “Also, my manager has always supported my decisions. My bank colleagues have believed in me, so I believe in them.”
Perhaps that’s why one-third of referrals for new team members come from existing team members. It’s an open culture with easy access to leaders, and everyone is empowered to act.
And thanks to Gate City Bank, Bistodeau doesn’t have to worry about many medical costs, such as those associated with going to the dentist. In fact, she gets her teeth looked at four times a year, simply because it’s covered. And when she’s not opening wide for the hygienist, she’s enjoying free eye care and volunteering on company time. (The bank matches her donated dollars and time 100%.)
“If I want to give to an organization that’s near and dear to my heart, it’s great to know that the bank will support me,” she says. “They put their complete trust in what their team members believe in.”
Not to mention, the bank offers a low-deductible health plan, free vision insurance, a free telemedicine program, fully paid maternity and paternity leave and a generous PTO package.
When Bistodeau looks back on her Gate City Bank journey, she can’t help but smile. It’s the perfect fit – a better way of life.
“It feels nice to be able to go all in on something,” she says. “If you feel called to do it, Gate City Bank has your back. I’ve never felt more appreciated than I do now.”
Moments have always meant a great deal to David Hadden. His job is to capture them, telling our story through beautiful photos, video and graphic design.
Meet team member Scott Gartner! His tenacious spirit and knack for efficiency have been key to bringing some of our largest initiatives to life.
Meet Leona Hurlbut! Her hobby of crocheting stuffed animals and blankets for expecting mothers creates warmth in more ways than one. Each creation is unique – like her approach to helping Gate City Bank customers.
Meet Darryl Jorgenson! If there’s anyone who fully appreciates what it means to take a leap of faith, it’s him. From leaving a successful former life for something better to helping customers with PPP loans during the pandemic, he’s discovered a knack for adventure – and found an amazing work family along the way.