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First National Bank of Ft. Pierre v. South Dakota State Banking Commission

July 15, 2009

FIRST NATIONAL BANK OF FT. PIERRE, INTERVENOR AND APPELLANT,
v.
SOUTH DAKOTA STATE BANKING COMMISSION, DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE AND REGULATION, DIVISION OF BANKING, AND DAKOTA PRAIRIE BANK, APPELLEES.



APPEAL FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF THE SIXTH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT HUGHES COUNTY, SOUTH DAKOTA HONORABLE JAMES W. ANDERSON Judge.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Tucker, Circuit Judge

ARGUED: JANUARY 13, 2009

[¶1.] The South Dakota State Banking Commission, Department of Revenue and Regulation, Division of Banking (Commission) approved an application by Dakota Prairie Bank (Dakota Prairie) to relocate its main office to Ft. Pierre, South Dakota. The circuit court affirmed the Commission's decision. First National Bank of Ft. Pierre (First National) appeals. We affirm.

FACTS AND PROCEDURE

[¶2.] Dakota Prairie is a South Dakota state chartered bank with its current place of business located in Presho, South Dakota and a branch bank in Draper, South Dakota. First National is a national bank with its current place of business in Ft. Pierre, South Dakota and has numerous branch banks in South Dakota.

[¶3.] Dakota Prairie applied to relocate its main office from Presho, South Dakota to Ft. Pierre, South Dakota to better serve its current customers in the Ft. Pierre area and to attract new business. Notice of a public hearing on the application was published. First National intervened and objected to Dakota Prairie's application.

[¶4.] The Commission is an administrative agency, under the direction and supervision of the Department of Revenue and Regulation, whose duties include reviewing, investigating and approving or disapproving applications to establish banks. See SDCL 51A-2-2 and SDCL 51A-3-9 through SDCL 51A-3-10. The Commission conducted a contested hearing in accordance with SDCL ch 1-26, heard lay and expert testimony, and received other evidence from both Dakota Prairie and First National.

[¶5.] The Director's investigation report to the Commission was introduced. The report concluded, among other things, that the proposed relocation would expand the banking services available to other area residents and would provide the opportunity for additional economic development in the Ft. Pierre community.

[¶6.] The Commission found that Dakota Prairie established a genuine intent to relocate its main office to Ft. Pierre and to convert its existing Presho office to a branch bank. Since Dakota Prairie had approximately $1.2 million in 114 deposit accounts and $1.6 million in loans to 36 customers in the Ft. Pierre/Pierre area, the relocation of the main office to Ft. Pierre would allow Dakota Prairie to better satisfy the needs of its existing customers in that area by providing a more convenient location. The primary service area for Dakota Prairie would be Ft. Pierre and Stanley County, and the secondary service area would be Pierre and Hughes County.

[¶7.] The Commission also found that there had been substantial economic development in the Ft. Pierre area since 1999. The City of Ft. Pierre has invested approximately $2 million per year on infrastructure improvements including expansion of the sewage lagoons, flood-proofing lift stations, implementing a backup generation station, and rehabilitating the wells and distribution system. Additionally, the property in the north area of Ft. Pierre is currently a more favorable location for residential development and construction than property in Pierre, which is evidenced by several new residential real estate developments in the north area of Ft. Pierre.

[¶8.] The Commission also found that there was a need in the community in and around Ft. Pierre for Dakota Prairie's proposed main office bank. The Commission relied on testimony from Dakota Prairie's expert, Dean Coddington, who found that the communities of Ft. Pierre and Pierre had the ability to support the proposed relocation. The banking environment in the primary and secondary service areas has grown steadily. The deposits in the primary and secondary service areas have increased from $298 million in 1999 to $495 million in 2006, which is an average gain of $28.1 million per year. Coddington projected that Dakota Prairie would reach a deposit level of $11 million in the primary and secondary service areas by the third year of operation.

[¶9.] The Commission concluded that Dakota Prairie had met the criteria established by SDCL 51A-3-9 by a preponderance of the evidence and voted 4-0 to approve Dakota Prairie's application. The circuit court affirmed that decision. First National appeals, raising three issues:

Whether substantial rights of First National have been prejudiced because of the administrative findings, inferences, conclusions, or decisions.

Whether the Commission's actions were arbitrary, capricious, and an abuse of discretion.

Whether the Commission abused its discretion by approving the application of Dakota Prairie.

STANDARD OF REVIEW

[¶10.] The standard of review of an administrative decision is governed by SDCL 1-26-36:

The court shall give great weight to the findings made and inferences drawn by an agency on questions of fact.

The court may affirm the decision of the agency or remand the case for further proceedings. The court may reverse or modify the decision if substantial rights of the appellant have been prejudiced because the administrative findings, inferences, conclusions, or decisions are:

(1) In violation of constitutional or statutory provisions;

(2) In excess of the statutory authority ...


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