Dakota Midday: When Citibank Came to South Dakota

Mar 31, 2015

When Citibank moved its credit card operations to Sioux Falls in 1981, the company promised to bring some 400 jobs to the area. Today Citibank employs around 2,300 workers. 35 years ago, Sioux Falls’ population was around 80,000 with an economy built on agriculture and meat packing. Today the city’s population has more than doubled at nearly 170,000 and the economy has grown and diversified.

Governor Bill Janklow helped push the usury limit bill through the state legislature that led to Citibank moving its credit card operations to Sioux Falls.

In 1980 Doug Hajek was managing Western Bank's mortgage operation and had a front-row seat to the events leading to Citibank's decision to move its credit card business to South Dakota. Today Hajek is a banking lawyer and partner at Davenport Evans in Sioux Falls. He says it's untrue that the state changed its usury laws to lure Citibank to South Dakota. Efforts to eliminate the state's usury limits were already in the works when the bank came calling.

Hajek presents the talk "When Citibank Came to South Dakota" this evening at 7 pm at Augustana College’s Gilbert Science Center. He joined Dakota Midday and discussed the unlikely series of events that brought the banking giant to Sioux Falls.