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Flathead Business Watercooler

| September 5, 2021 12:00 AM

Whitefish Credit Union achieves $2B in assets

Whitefish Credit Union surpassed $2 billion in total assets this summer.

The credit union, Montana’s largest, attributes its growth to its strategic planning and focus on providing exceptional value for its members. Last year, Whitefish Credit Union expanded its services by improving its online loan application and launching a new online membership application, which helped contribute to nearly 2,700 net new accounts opened last year.

The credit union funded over $265 million in new home loans and lent over $25 million in home equity lines of credit in 2020. It ranks within the top 1% of all credit unions in average loan and deposit balances.

For more information, visit

Nominations open for Kalispell Chamber awards

The Kalispell Chamber of Commerce is accepting nominations for awards given out during its Grand Event, scheduled for Wednesday, Nov. 10.

Nominations are open until 5 p.m. on Sept. 24 for the following awards: Community Legacy Award (formerly known as the Great Chief Award); Business of the Year Award (for both small/medium and large businesses); Non-Profit of the Year Award; Rising Star Award; Community Spirit Award.

For the 117th Grand Event, the Chamber has planned an “all-new production” and an expanded awards program.

Nomination forms are available at:

C-Falls membership meeting Sept. 14

The Columbia Falls Chamber of Commerce will host its September membership meeting via Zoom videoconference at noon on Sept. 14.

Laura Gardner, manager of Job Service Kalispell, will give a presentation on workforce trends.

"As prevention measures are lifted, employers are suddenly finding a demand for a large number of workers all at once,” according to a press release. “While you are returning to ‘business as usual,’ there are still many factors limiting Montanans from returning to full-time work. By understanding these factors, employers can target recruitment efforts or adapt job requirements to fit worker needs."

To register for the meeting, go to

Explore Whitefish accepting grant applications

The Whitefish Convention and Visitors Bureau (Explore Whitefish) is accepting applications for its fourth annual grant program, with submissions due by Oct 1.

Eligible applicants must be Explore Whitefish member businesses or Montana nonprofit organizations. Grant requests are awarded for up to $10,000.

The program awards funds for programs, projects, and events that demonstrate the ability to strengthen the community of Whitefish and help focus visitation during the shoulder and winter seasons.

Eight previous grant winners have implemented projects using program funds. This upcoming cycle of awards will bring the total amount awarded up to $30,500.

Grant information and the application can be found on the Explore Whitefish Member Center page at

Kalispell Chamber lunch set Sept. 14

The Kalispell Chamber of Commerce will host its monthly Business Matters meeting at a new location — the Hilton Garden Inn — at 11:30 a.m. on Sept. 14.

The Chamber plans to host Gov. Greg Gianforte for an economic update. However, if Gianforte can’t attend, the Chamber plans to host a program recapping the busy summer tourism season.

Find more information at:

First Interstate Bank hosts volunteer day

First Interstate Bank is hosting its fourth annual Volunteer Day on Wednesday, Sept. 8. As part of this philanthropic effort, all First Interstate locations will close at noon on Sept. 8, giving employees paid time to volunteer in their communities.

Over 2,000 First Interstate volunteers from across the company will support approximately 225 separate nonprofit organizations through more than 250 service projects. Volunteers will have opportunities to serve onsite or remotely. First Interstate employees in Kalispell are participating in four separate service projects, including weeding and removing bushes at the Boys & Girls Club of Glacier County and volunteering at the Flathead Food Bank.