The Triumphs of a Prarie Populist

South Dakota cashes in with an aggressive, pro-business program

We are the bankingest town in the U.S.," declares Herb Bowden, president of Sencore Inc., a manufacturer of electronic-testing equipment. The town's mayor is more precise. "Citibank," Mayor Rick Knobe says proudly, "moved us from a known regional entity to a newcomer on the national and international scale."

Bowden and Knobe do not live in Miami or Chicago, Dallas or Los Angeles. Their improbable new financial capital: Sioux Falls, S. Dak. "We used to have such an image of cowboys and Indians," recalls Bowden, "when...

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