First Interstate Merger

First Security Bank recently merged with Glacier Bancorp, the Kalispell-based network of banks which also includes Bozeman’s Big Sky Western Bank.

Two banks holding spots in the top-three rankings for control of the banking market in Gallatin County are merging.

Intermountain Bancorp, Inc., the Bozeman-based holding company for First Security Bank, announced Thursday that it has joined the Glacier Bancorp family of banks, which includes Big Sky Western Bank.

After the merger, the two banks will control about 35 percent of the banking market in the county, according to a deposit market share report by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. The second-ranked bank after the merger will be First Interstate Bank with 14 percent of the market shares in the area.

First Security Bank will officially be under the Glacier Bancorp umbrella in early 2018, pending board and regulatory approval, according to a news release. The new relationship will eventually lead to combined locations for First Security and Big Sky Western under the First Security Bank name, offering 12 sites throughout the county.

Melanie Hall, commissioner of the Division of Banking and Financial Institutions, said it’s always good when these acquisitions happen within the state.

“They’re more inclined to keep all of the employees and all the locations open in Montana because they have an interest in the state,” she said.

Hall said the transaction will not have a tremendous impact on customers in the area because there are a number of bank options for residents. The two have already been strong banks and lenders in the state, she said.

“I think Glacier had a desire to have more of a presence in the Bozeman market, and that’s the reason for the merger,” she said.

Glacier Bancorp is based in Kalispell and owns the original Glacier Banks. The company has grown to include community banks throughout seven western states.

Glacier uses a community banking model, giving local banks autonomy in each market, according to the release. This allows each community bank to continue serving the specific needs of each community, while offering the benefits of being part of a larger organization.

Once the merge is complete, current customers with First Security Bank, Hall said, will be able to go to any of the banks in the Glacier Bank network. Customers will also benefit from additional services that Glacier Bank provides.

Freddy Monares can be reached at 406-582-2630, or by email at fmonares@dailychronicle.com.

Reporter

Freddy Monares covers politics and county government for the Bozeman Daily Chronicle.

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