Pat DuBois, chairman of the First State Bank in Sauk Centre, Minn., died Jan. 7 at age 97. Formally, his name was Benjamin F. DuBois, but everyone called him Pat; he was one of the pillars of independent banking in Minnesota.
I remember August of 1992 when DuBois led the effort to retain the word “independent” in the new name for the “Independent Bankers of Minnesota.” It was the 30th anniversary of the organization and the proposal was to change the name to “Community Bankers of Minnesota.” DuBois argued that the association’s name should include “independent” because the word speaks to the ownership of the bank, rather than solely to the location of the bank as the word “community” does. With some 400 people attending that meeting at Breezy Point in central Minnesota, DuBois carried the day and the name Independent Community Bankers of Minnesota was formally adopted.
DuBois is the son of Ben DuBois, one of the founders of the Independent Community Bankers of America. Ben DuBois was executive director of the Independent Bankers Association, as it was called then, for 30 years until his retirement in 1963.
Pat DuBois began his banking career in 1933 as a bookkeeper and teller at the First State Bank, and two years later he worked as an assistant state bank examiner. In 1938, he became a field representative of the IBA, and in 1941-47 he was Sauk Centre Postmaster, with time out for World War II service in the Navy.
He was elected executive vice president of First State Bank in 1956, and president, succeeding his father, in 1964.
DuBois served as a legislator in the Minnesota House of Representatives from 1963 to 1968.
DuBois was elected president of the Independent Bankers Association in 1966 at the association’s 32nd annual convention in Las Vegas. Pat DuBois made numerous appearances before Congressional committees and served as an envoy of the association with frequent visits to Washington. He was chairman of the IBA’s Agriculture-Rural America committee.
At the Independent Bankers Association convention in New Orleans in 1967, where DuBois presided as president, he gave a rousing speech, arguing against branch banking. Here is a portion of that speech:
The backers of bigness in banking, those who want to extend the operation of banking giants to every corner of every state, are fond of using an argument about which I wish to caution you. This argument is applied as a clincher when there is another move for more branching, merging or expanding holding company activity in banking. It goes like this: ‘Why fight it? It’s going to happen no matter what you do. It’s inevitable.” Expressed more candidly, the argument would be phrased thus: ‘Be comfortable—surrender now.’
By organization, diligence and hard work for what we believe in, you and I can demonstrate that ‘it’ is not ‘inevitable.’ It is just a matter of working hard for our convictions.
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