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CEO Jeanne Crain on banking, racism and the path ahead

Jeanne Crain

It is true that the last several days have been heart-wrenching for the communities we serve, as the grief, anger, frustration and pain of generations of entrenched racism have become visible in our communities and impossible to turn away from.

As this moment in our history has begun to take shape, Bremer has largely opted to cease our social media and communications activity. This is not because Bremer is waiting for this all to “blow over” – we deeply care about what is going on. It is because we do not want to be a brand that makes sweeping value statements, posts a trending hashtag, and then goes back to business as usual. When we say something, we want it to truly mean something. Our purpose is to cultivate thriving communities. And right now, that means actively listening, learning, and understanding where we can make the most impact.

We are committed to making that impact. We believe this is a turning point. And we want to play a meaningful role in paving the path forward. We are aggressively working to define what that role can be.

Racism is endemic in America’s history and our culture. The uncomfortable truth is that for centuries, organizations, including banks, have been a part of furthering these racist structures, and that means that we have a crucial responsibility to engage in long-term work to ensure that communities that have been disproportionally disadvantaged have the chance to thrive. Bremer is committed to that work. 

Bremer’s purpose is to cultivate thriving communities. We know our communities cannot thrive unless all of our neighbors have a chance to succeed, regardless of background.

In the short-term, Bremer is working to identify and support organizations that are rebuilding the corridors of local business that have been destroyed in the havoc and grief of the last several days. We are also working to identify avenues of support for social causes.

In the long-term, Bremer is engaged with nonprofit organizations, social service agencies, and in business partnerships with a goal to make real impact in this area. Our strong support for communities with the most need, including our Home Loan Impact Fund partnership with Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity which more than doubles the number of local families who can attain affordable homeownership, our investments in local conversations, and our focus on diversity, equity and inclusion inside of our own organization are all ways we are working to move forward. I am personally committed to continuing and furthering this work in new and more impactful ways.

Jeanne Crain

About Jeanne Crain

Jeanne Crain is president and chief executive officer of Bremer Financial Corporation, a $13 billion financial services organization with locations in Minnesota, Wisconsin and North Dakota. As CEO since November 2016, Jeanne has combined her extensive industry knowledge with decades of leadership experience to advance the company’s strategy and performance, champion Bremer’s mission and values, and deliver on its commitment to help communities thrive. Before being promoted to her current role, Jeanne served as region CEO of Bremer Bank - Twin Cities and group president for Bremer Financial Corporation’s financial services business for four years. Prior to joining Bremer, Jeanne enjoyed a 34-year career in commercial and retail banking, honing her collaborative leadership style, passion for relationship-based client service and ability to navigate a highly dynamic business environment through roles at BMO Harris Bank, M&I Bank, Marquette Capital Bank, Bank One Milwaukee and First Bank Grand Forks. As an active volunteer and community leader, Jeanne serves on the board of the Greater Twin Cities United Way and the YMCA Twin Cities and begins a three-year term on the board of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis in January 2019. She also recently co-chaired the Minnesota Task Force on Housing. Jeanne earned a master’s in business administration from Marquette University and has a bachelor’s degree from the University of North Dakota, where she was a 2018 recipient of the Sioux Award, the highest honor given by the Alumni Association & Foundation for achievement, service, and loyalty. Jeanne is married with three sons and enjoys traveling with her family.)

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