As Katie Lorenson moves into the top leadership role at Alerus Financial Corporation, she brings with her a belief in the value of relationships.
The 2002 MSUM graduate was named president and CEO of Alerus, effective Jan. 1, 2022. She has served as the institution’s executive vice president and chief financial officer since 2017.
“As I’ve worked through my career, what’s important to me is that it’s all about relationships,” Lorenson said. “It’s about building trust and bringing value to those relationships. I learned that early on at MSUM and it’s what we’re building at Alerus today.”
Lorenson’s passion for financial institutions began early.
In high school, she worked for a bank near her hometown of Oaklee, Minn. There, she observed how community banking was the lifeblood of small businesses and how these financial institutions supported the things needed in a community.
When Lorenson started searching for a college, she knew MSUM’s business program was well-regarded. She also appreciated the community feel on campus.
Her professors made an impression on her. They pushed her in areas where she excelled and supported her in areas where she struggled. Along the way, they established trust and encouraged Lorenson to study accounting.
“The path to public accounting gives you an opportunity to learn about a lot of different types of businesses in a fast way,” she said. “My professors were good at career coaching and experience sharing. They told me I could be good at this and why. That rallying behind students is special.”
After graduating from MSUM, Lorenson joined McGladrey & Pullen, managing the financial institution’s team. She later served as chief financial officer for both a large, privately held financial institution and a publicly traded regional financial institution.
As CFO at Alerus, Lorenson led the business segments, including banking, retirement and benefits services, wealth management, and mortgage. She also spearheaded Alerus’ initial public offering in 2019.
Alerus, headquartered in Grand Forks, N.D., has 852 employees and $32.6 billion in assets. Its banking and wealth management offices are located in Grand Forks and Fargo, N.D., the Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minn., metropolitan area, and Scottsdale and Mesa, Ariz.
After being named CEO-elect, Lorenson was also named one of the 100 People to Know in 2022 by Twin Cities Business magazine.
“Katie is a proven leader and seasoned executive with a deep understanding and passion for our business,” said longtime CEO and president Randy Newman in a written statement. He is transitioning to the role of executive chairman of the board. “She brings relentless focus to executing our strategic plan and building our business, by attracting, retaining, and developing employees and growing the company.”
Alerus is a purpose-driven organization, Lorenson said. Whereas many banks have become transactional, her goal is to bring advice and value to every relationship the financial institution builds.
“We ask people and companies what their goals are and how we can help them get there,” she said. “We want to help people feel comfortable talking about their finances. That’s why I’m fortunate to lead this organization.”
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