Not every state could, or would, have done what South Dakota did to court Citibank. The deal was breathtakingly quid pro quo, with then-Gov. Bill Janklow's chief-of-staff leaving to become president and CEO of Citibank South Dakota. But it set up some unanticipated indirect consequences that have benefited the state, and especially Sioux Falls, in the decades since.
Most important, Citibank committed to expanding its workforce in Sioux Falls and recruiting locals for its financial-management training programs. That has allowed several generations of workers the opportunity to gain experience in the financial sector that simply isn't available in any other town of that size, and it provided an experienced, educated workforce for the other financial institutions that began bringing their credit- and bankcard operations to town. Without Citibank, a local college graduate who wanted to work in high-level banking would probably end up moving to Chicago or New York City to gain the necessary training and exposure. Instead, Sioux Falls has an entire managerial class that trained locally — and stayed local.
When Sioux Falls Mayor Mike Huether graduated from college in 1984, he says, "the opportunities were limited, except for this new business in town. I went into Citi and told them I wanted to be a management associate — I want to learn about corporate America in corporate America." Huether spent 15 years working for Citibank, first in Sioux Falls, and then in New York and San Antonio, before moving back home to locally owned First Premier. Huether's predecessor, Dave Munson, also built his career at Citibank, spending 20 years as a government-affairs executive before running for public office.
Indeed, the ranks of local business leaders are filled with Citibank alums. Carl Rapp learned the ins and outs of cybersecurity at Citi's credit-card operation and is now a nationally recognized manager of key data centers, several of which are located in Sioux Falls. Another Citi veteran, Jim Meyer, runs Target's credit-card processing division, based in Sioux Falls. Randy Derheim, who spent decades in Citibank's marketing department, is now a partner with Pinnacle Hospitality, which owns several of the city's popular restaurants.
"Things have spun out of Citi and provided talent for other banks in the financial-services sector," says Slater Barr, president of the Sioux Falls Development Foundation. "It's very unusual to get that kind of churn and talent pool to draw on." When other companies look into the possibility of relocating parts of their business to Sioux Falls, they're usually surprised, Barr says. "I don't think they expect to find those skills in our community — and certainly not to the level that exists."
The existence of a strong financial sector that requires a high level of cybersecurity has also led one local university to develop programs to train students in the field. Dakota State University in nearby Madison offers bachelor and master's degrees in information assurance, and the school is certified as a Center of Academic Excellence by the National Security Agency. As of 2009, the university is also home to the National Center for the Protection of the Financial Infrastructure, whose researchers work with government and industry leaders to develop security policy.