Pete Mehlhaff, David D. Nelson and Kristina Schaefer Elected to SDBA Board of Directors

The South Dakota Bankers Association (SDBA), the professional and trade association for South Dakota’s financial services industry, recently held elections for three of the nine seats on its Board of Directors. Elected to serve on the SDBA Board of Directors were:

  • Pete Mehlhaff, President/CEO, Great Plains Bank, Aberdeen
  • David D. Nelson, Senior Vice President/Branch Manager, First Fidelity Bank, Platte
  • Kristina Schaefer, General Counsel/Director of Risk Management, Fishback Financial Corporation, Sioux Falls

This is Mehlhaff’s first term on the SDBA Board of Directors and Nelson and Schaefer’s second terms. They started their three-year terms on May 1, 2019.

Pete MehlhaffPete Mehlhaff
Pete Mehlhaff, a fourth-generation banker, started his banking career 40 years ago. Mehlhaff served as a lending officer with U.S. Bank and Wells Fargo in correspondent and business banking departments in Aberdeen and Minnesota communities of Redwood Falls, Bloomington, St. Paul and Minneapolis. Mehlhaff returned to South Dakota in 1990, when he became president and chairman of Great Plains Bank—a $112 million community bank with offices in Eureka, Aberdeen and Eden. Mehlhaff completed an undergraduate degree at Northern State University and holds graduate degrees from University of St. Thomas (MBA) and Mount Marty College (MA). In addition to many banking programs, he is also a graduate of the Colorado Graduate School of Banking.

Mehlhaff, an ordained Catholic deacon, serves at St. Mary’s Church in Aberdeen. He is active in community affairs including former chairman of Presentation College Board of Trustees where he continues to serve as a trustee. He was a founding director of the Eureka Area Community Foundation, former president of Aberdeen Area Catholic Foundation and currently serves on the Northern State University School of Business Advisory Board and SDBA Legislative Committee.

Mehlhaff and his wife, Paddy, have been married for 38 years and have five children. 

“The banking community has not been successful in its attempts to change the tax policies that give Farm Credit System and credit unions an unfair advantage over banks,” Mehlhaff said. “I look forward to promoting reform that gives banks tax treatment similar to those competitors, thereby creating a more level playing field.”

David NelsonDavid D. Nelson:
David D. Nelson serves as a senior vice president at First Fidelity Bank and manager of its Platte branch. He is also the bank’s investment officer, a member of the executive loan committee and a member of its board of directors. Nelson has a bachelor of science degree in business administration and a master of business administration from the University of South Dakota and has attended the Graduate School of Banking—Wisconsin. He has his Series 7, 63 and 65 national securities licenses. Nelson previously worked as an investment representative for American Express before joining First Fidelity Bank in 1995.

Nelson currently serves on the board and is past president of the Platte Development Corporation. He is also on the Platte Area Foundation Board. Previously, Nelson served on the Platte Chamber of Commerce Board, St. Peter’s Catholic Church Council and the Platte Black Panther Booster Club Board. He is a member of St. Peter’s Catholic Church and the Knights of Columbus.

Nelson and his wife, Bernadette, have been married for 40 years. They have three grown daughters: Briana (Nathan) Kraayenbrink, Chelsey (Nick) Kortan, and Megan (Heath) Kuipers. They also have seven grandchildren.

Nelson wants to continue to be an advocate for the banking industry. “More bankers need to become involved to help promote the banking industry to let lawmakers and regulators know that our industry is important to us as bankers, our customers and our communities,” Nelson said. “We also need to continue to advocate for relief from regulatory burdens and to provide a level playing field to ensure the continued viability of our community banks.”

Kristina SchaeferKristina Schaefer:
Kristina Schaefer serves as general counsel and director of risk management for Fishback Financial Corporation (FFC)/First Bank & Trust in Sioux Falls. As the organization’s primary legal resource, she provides advice and counsel on all legal matters, including lending transactions, payment systems issues, contracts and corporate governance. Schaefer also oversees the compliance, fraud, BSA/AML, and third-party oversight functions and serves on the governing policy body for FFC. During the past 11 years, she has also held the titles of general and corporate counsel. Prior to joining FFC, Schaefer worked as an attorney in a private practice where she specialized in banking law and general corporate law. Before attending law school, she was employed at First Bank & Trust and worked in customer service and risk management.

Schaefer regularly coaches Girls on the Run, volunteers at John Harris Elementary School in Sioux Falls and is on the Helpline Board of Directors. She also serves as a mentor to two young girls as part of the LSS School Based Mentoring Program and is active in its Everyday Heroes Recruitment Campaign and Advisory Committee. She was also a member of South Dakota’s Elder Abuse Prevention Task Force.

Schaefer and her husband, Scott, have two daughters: Olivia (12) and Harper (6).

Schaefer wants to continue to use her experience to be an advocate for the banking industry, both at the state and national level. “It’s important that we advocate for common sense regulation to ensure that we can continue to serve our communities and customers,” Schaefer said. “In addition, I look forward to continuing to encourage people to get involved in banking, not only as a career, but also to become advocates for our industry.”

A complete list of the SDBA Board of Directors is available at

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