Monday, August 15, 2022

Cultivating success through partnership within the Flathead community

by Scott Nicholson, Flathead Commercial Group Manager for First Interstate Bank
| April 23, 2022 12:00 AM

Flathead Valley is known for its tight-knit communities, full of supportive neighbors and lifelong friendships. Even as the pandemic continues, the Valley’s resilience — not only in recovering but also in growing in hard times — has proven that having a community you can rely on is fundamental in this unpredictable world. This is the culture we foster at First Interstate Bank.

Coming into the Flathead market last year, I knew I was going to be working with individuals and business owners who have deep roots in this community, some for generations. But I like to remind myself that there is always room for someone who is fully invested in helping people achieve their financial goals. As a community bank, First Interstate is focused on serving our clients and the places we all call home. No matter how long our clients have been banking with us, we are committed to being beyond responsive: we are proactive in uncovering opportunities to enhance the financial situation of everyone we work with.

Investing in each individual client

As the Flathead commercial group manager for First Interstate Bank, my focus is cultivating and expanding our relationships within the community. First and foremost, our customer service culture and attention to detail is second to none. Our objective is to be a trusted advisor and partner, and we strive to abide by a strong work ethic to earn that trust. Moreover, all our recommendations are centered on our clients’ best interests, even if that means dissuading certain loans and investments if our analysis indicates that a client could become overleveraged and put their family’s financial security at risk.

For First Interstate, working hard means taking initiative and communicating every step of the way. One way we demonstrate that is through proactive financial analysis for each of our clients to maximize every possible way to save them money. We often find business owners who have multiple loans with various institutions at rates we can beat. They get a call from us that day to learn how we can help them. Nothing excites our teams more than the potential opportunity to save our clients thousands of dollars each month in payments.

A community bank with firepower

Flathead community members have access to a unique financial resource with First Interstate. As a regional community bank, our bank is in the sweet spot: clients enjoy first-name-basis relationships with local staff with access to compelling products and efficient technology at their fingertips. It’s a balance that is rare among banks today.

In order to provide clients with greater flexibility and freedom in conducting business, we have invested heavily in technology and our various banking platforms. Clients can manage their accounts online (from anywhere with a signal), including making deposits, completing transfers, sending wires or formulating payroll transactions.

Our technology empowers small businesses especially. First Interstate offers a working capital revolving line of credit and an application process hosted online. For busy business owners, the process requires five to 10 minutes and delivers an answer within 48 hours; there is no need to make an appointment or deliver financials in person.

While First Interstate offers the technological solutions often associated with big banks, we also keep our local branches fully staffed with supportive team members. If you have a question on cash management or payment fraud solutions for your company, local experts are on-hand like treasury solutions officer Heather Sullivan in our Kalispell branch. She, along with our other team members, takes pride in finding the right solution for every person that walks through our doors. And because everyone’s situation is different, we have credit card products, treasury solutions and wealth management services that can be tailored to you, making our branches a one-stop-shop for clients.

Continued success in the Flathead

The home-grown culture of First Interstate in the Flathead revolves around making a big impact at the community level. At the end of the day, we want to do right by our clients, working with honesty and integrity while providing an experience that helps our clients reach their goals. You will hear from us often — and we take pride in responding within hours when you reach out to us.

At First Interstate, we set our sights on being the premier resource for businesses and clients alike. In fact, our mission is to help people and their money work better together. Our local bankers are committed to supporting the region over the long term, and we are continually refining our products, services and community involvement to meet the needs of this region.

If you’re in the midst of any financial decisions — from investing in property to preparing your taxes — our team members are available to run scenarios and serve as sounding boards. We are here to provide the insight, advice and planning you need to ensure your decisions pencil out and maximize your financial well-being.

If you haven’t had a chance to work with us recently, stop by one of our branches. Let us know how we can help you and the Flathead community achieve financial success.

Scott Nicholson is Commercial Group Manager for First Interstate Bank’s Flathead Market. For more information, call Scott at 406-751-2509, email him at, or visit

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