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The BankWest Difference

Photo courtesy of the South Dakota Department of Tourism
Agriculture in South Dakota

What is the BankWest difference?

For starters, we grew up here in South Dakota. For more than 130 years, we have earned long-term customer relationships by helping our customers and communities succeed. We pride ourselves in adapting to meet our customers’ changing banking needs — while retaining our hometown values and roots. Whether you prefer banking with your smartphone or you enjoy stopping in for a face-to-face chat, we’re here to help.


Saving you time and money


A financial partner for every season


Helping you and your community prosper

Our Performance Guarantee.

Another BankWest difference is that we do more than any other financial institution to provide friendly, error-free service. It’s called our Performance Guarantee.

If a BankWest associate or vendor fails to meet our commitment to error-free service, we will apologize and correct the problem immediately. We also will give you a $5 Performance Guarantee payment for bringing it to our attention.

Rest assured that if you ever have a problem, we will make it right.

Let Us Know


Our Guarantee

Our Story

1957 Grand Opening

Pierre National Bank (now BankWest) opened its doors on September 2, 1889. The bank’s first customer was Charles H. Burke of the real estate firm Baird, Burke and Brown. The Burke name would become synonymous with Pierre National Bank and BankWest all the way to the present day.

The bank’s first home was at the Locke Hotel. A brand new bank building was constructed at 358 S. Pierre Street (now Song’s Gift Shop) at a cost of $7,880. This served as the bank’s permanent home until 1957.


From Charles H. Burke’s initial association with the bank in 1889, a longtime bond between the Burke family and the bank was forged. Charles H. Burke became a bank director in 1915 and served as a vice president from 1930-1944.

Charles’ son, Walter, began working at the bank in 1920. He was elected president in 1949, and became Chairman of the Board in 1968.

Walter’s son, Charles II, became a vice president at the bank in 1957. He went on to serve a 15-year term as bank president before becoming Chairman of the Board, a post he held until his death in 2009.

Today, BankWest is a thriving community bank under the management of Charles II’s son, Charles H. Burke III. “C3,” as he’s known to friends and coworkers, returned to the bank full time in 1982. He served as president of BankWest’s Pierre offices from 1987 to 1991. In 1992, he became President and CEO of the entire company and assumed the role of Chairman of the Board in 2009.

A fifth generation of the Burke family is actively involved in carrying the bank forward. BankWest’s Chief Operations Officer Bob Burke and VP Learning and Strategic Development Becky Burke look forward to continuing the Burke family’s longstanding commitment to excellence in community banking.


Few areas suffered to the extent South Dakota did during the Great Depression. Following World War I, prices on farm products declined and land values followed suit. Then came the infamous Dirty 30s and the Great Depression when many banks across the nation failed. Thanks to the conservative practices of Pierre National Bank’s leaders, the bank survived through the tough times and even continued to grow. BankWest continues to stand the test of time through a combination of conservative management and forward thinking.


The bank’s first computer, an IBM 360-30, took up most of an entire room. Its purpose was to automate the process of monitoring and managing checking accounts. Customers were issued new checking account numbers and checks encoded with magnetic ink, and gone were the days when bank employees had to hand post every item on customers’ accounts.


Through the late 70s and early 80s, Pierre National Bank acquired a number of banks in communities throughout central South Dakota. These acquisitions led to a milestone in the bank’s history — the adoption of a new name, BankWest.


Always with an eye to providing the best service possible to customers, BankWest management got on board the World Wide Web in 1997. Before long, the bank was offering online banking services, soon to be followed by mobile banking, remote deposit and more!


BankWest continues to grow its physical footprint and expand both its menu of services as well as how those services are delivered. With its latest addition of offices in Madison and Spearfish, BankWest locations now span the state from east to west and north to south. Much more than a bank, the company offers full-service insurance, brokerage and trust services, along with abstract, title and appraisal services.

Experience the BankWest Difference
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