The Big Sandy Mountaineer -

First Bank of Montana coming to town


November 6, 2019

I wanted to visit with someone from First Bank about the bank coming to Big Sandy and had the opportunity to talk to Dean Comes, President, Dona Harrison, Manager of Deposit Operations, and Megan Bartel Loan Operations. I first asked, who are you? First Bank became a division of Glacier Bank in 2006. Glacier Bank operates in over 100 communities across Montana, Nevada, Wyoming, Idaho, Colorado, Utah, and Arizona.

It has a Community Bank philosophy. Glacier Bank acquires small community banks where they leave the current management in place, allowing the smaller community bank to be personalized but with the full service of a larger institution. Dean Comes said,

"It gives the resources and horsepower to really handle any loan or deposit or loan in small communities."

"We are going to retain 100% of the employees in their current position at the branch." On top of that, "We are going to bring up a lending staff as quickly as possible." Loans will be available for all agricultural, commercial, consumer, residential, recreational, and vehicle loans.

It is important to First Bank to become a part of the community. They want a personal connection to the community. "The employees in all seven locations (of the First Bank Division) are homegrown people. Our employees are very involved in community projects and clubs. We believe in these small communities. First Bank is expanding in these small agriculture communities, and it is something we are very proud of. We are going to be involved with, not only from a workforce, but also funding for anything for the betterment of the community."

"We can't describe to you how excited we are that we were rewarded the bid."

They are hoping to be open in the middle of January. There are options to open accounts now, like going to Fort Benton, or to open an account on-line. "We do understand the pain this is causing our customers."

I overheard a conversation last week wondering, after their last advertisement if they really did have free checking. I asked. "We really really do. Totally free checking," said Dona Harrison. "Every free checking account includes no

minimum balance, no monthly service charges, no per-check charges, unlimited check writing, free debit card, free online banking, free bill pay, free mobile banking, and free statements. Business accounts are also free. "We will give you up to $10 back for your old Wells Fargo checks. Be assured; we are planning to join you. We will help you make the transition as easy as possible."

The president repeated to me, "Community support is taking to heart. We must be involved. We are excited to be there. We are excited to be a part of Big Sandy."


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