Features

Lorrie Litzinger – Bell Bank

Using the law, new tech to move bank forward

Lorrie Litzinger, the vice president and senior legal counsel at Bell Bank, is an important figure on a unique legal team that plays a crucial role in the expansive growth of the bank.  

Originating in the Midwest, Bell Bank has not only witnessed regional expansion but has also achieved unprecedented success on a national scale. Litzinger’s professional journey, wealth of expertise and unwavering dedication all mirror a steadfast commitment to steering the bank toward innovation, compliance and a customer-centric approach. 

Lorrie Litzinger | Vice President & Senior Legal Counsel | Bell Bank

Lorrie Litzinger | Vice President & Senior Legal Counsel | Bell Bank

Litzinger’s role at Bell Bank goes beyond the confines of a traditional legal framework. She is a leader on a legal team that has grown organically to become indispensable to the bank’s operations. In emphasizing the strategic nature of her team’s expertise, Litzinger brings forth a unique blend of legal acumen and strategic vision that fosters successful enterprise-wide initiatives. 

Innovation for an efficient customer experience 

In the pursuit of an efficient customer experience while operating in the bank’s risk framework, Litzinger has been instrumental in spearheading initiatives to enhance Bell Bank’s accessibility and improve the overall customer journey. One standout project involves legal support for implementing new software designed to facilitate the online opening of business accounts. This forward-thinking initiative aligns with evolving customer preferences, especially among younger generations who seek the convenience of online transactions. Litzinger’s team ensures these innovations comply with applicable statutes and regulations and creatively enhance customer efficiency and ease. 

Litzinger and her team are currently immersed in a comprehensive overhaul of documentation forms for opening new deposit accounts for commercial customers. This strategic move aims to foster flexibility, efficiency and a seamless customer experience. Bell Bank aims to provide a more efficient and error-resistant customer journey by reducing paperwork and streamlining processes. 

“Whether introducing cutting-edge software for online business accounts or streamlining documentation, we lead change. Beyond compliance, we create personalized, accessible solutions. Serving as ambassadors, we foster collaboration and redefine the small bank feel in the digital age. Our goal is to build a forward-looking environment reflecting the values of a growing financial institution,” Litzinger says. 

Working toward one goal 

Legal innovation and cross-departmental collaboration form the cornerstone of Litzinger’s leadership.   

“Our team operates as a crossroad for multiple internal groups, spanning approximately 18 departments and over 700 employees,” she says.  

This unique positioning grants them visibility into areas that siloed teams might not possess, enabling them to act as enterprise ambassadors between functions. The collaboration extends beyond internal efforts, with Litzinger’s team working closely with external counsel for research and regulatory work. 

Lorrie Litzinger | Vice President & Senior Legal Counsel | Bell Bank

In the dynamic banking landscape, Bell’s Banking Legal team is reactive and proactive. They exhibit openness to exploring new technologies, especially where efficiencies and enhanced customer experience can be achieved. Litzinger acknowledges her team’s and managers’ innovative and forward-looking nature, highlighting their commitment to adopting new capabilities and technologies. 

At the core of Litzinger’s approach is the emphasis on building relationships within the legal team and across departments. Her team is admired for being personable, collaborative, and solution-oriented. Litzinger places significant importance on in-person interactions, aiming to create trust and mutual respect. In a profession where misconceptions about legal departments can prevail, Litzinger ensures her team remains open, accessible, and responsive. 

“Building relationships across our Bell family is an invaluable tool for success in daily workflow and enterprise-level projects and innovation. It’s second to none!” she exclaims.  

Passion for deal-making 

A diverse background characterizes Litzinger’s journey to becoming a key figure at Bell Bank. She earned a degree in criminal justice from the University of North Dakota and later pursued a J.D. from the University of North Dakota School of Law. After spending time in private practice, Litzinger joined Bell Bank in February 2016—she quickly demonstrated her commitment to the organization’s values and goals. 

Her extensive experience encompasses roles in private practice and in-house positions, including with Commercial Partners Title. Litzinger’s expertise primarily lies in commercial lending, banking and real estate, which she finds both challenging and rewarding. Her decision to focus on deal-making and finding solutions rather than pursuing a traditional courtroom path showcases her adaptability and commitment to collaborative problem-solving. 

Lorrie Litzinger | Vice President & Senior Legal Counsel | Bell Bank

Litzinger’s role at Bell Bank exemplifies the evolving nature of legal functions within the banking sector. Her leadership in innovative projects, commitment to cross-departmental collaboration, and dedication to creating a positive customer experience position Litzinger as a key player in Bell Bank’s continued success. As the banking industry progresses, leaders like Litzinger showcase the significance of legal teams in shaping the future of financial institutions. 

Finding joy while striving toward innovative solutions is a big reason why Litzinger enjoys her role. Being part of a forward-looking environment where she and her team play a role in actively shaping the trajectory of a growing financial institution is not just a job for her—it is a passion.  

“Collaborating with my team, I witness the transformative power of legal expertise in fostering innovation and compliance. As we navigate the dynamic landscape of the banking sector, our commitment to embracing new technologies defines our proactive approach,” she says. “Every day, I am grateful for the opportunity to contribute to the bank’s success, ensuring a customer-centric focus and maintaining the highest legal compliance standards.” 

View this feature in the Vanguard Winter III 2024 Edition here.

 

Published on: January 29, 2024

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