Business

2 banks serving Treasure Valley to merge, with branch closures, job cuts likely

Ownership of Idaho Independent Bank will switch to First Interstate Bank when a merger between the two companies takes effect. Idaho Independent Bank, which includes this branch at 401 W. Front St. in Downtown Boise, has seven other branches in the Treasure Valley.
Ownership of Idaho Independent Bank will switch to First Interstate Bank when a merger between the two companies takes effect. Idaho Independent Bank, which includes this branch at 401 W. Front St. in Downtown Boise, has seven other branches in the Treasure Valley. jsowell@idahostatesman.com

Two banks that serve the Treasure Valley are merging, and some branch closures and job losses will likely follow.

First Interstate Bank, based in Billings, Montana, said this week that it is acquiring Idaho Independent Bank, a Coeur d’Alene-based bank that has eight branches from Caldwell to Mountain Home, plus one each in Ketchum, Coeur d’Alene and Hayden.

First Interstate also is acquiring Northern Idaho’s Community 1st Bank.

The merger, which will lead to the two banks taking First Interstate’s name, is expected to take effect in the second quarter of next year.

“Because there is overlap in a number of markets included in the Idaho Independent Bank and Community 1st mergers, some branches will undoubtedly be closed,” First Interstate CEO Kevin Riley said in an email. “We will carefully consider the business needs of the combined company to ensure we have the right talent in the right number of branch locations to meet the needs of our employees and clients, as well as our company’s future aspirations.”

First Interstate declined to say how many workers may be affected.

One of First Interstate’s branches is at 3127 N. 9th St. in Downtown Boise, just two blocks south of one of Idaho Independent Bank’s three Boise branches. And both banks have branches in Meridian, Nampa, Caldwell and Mountain Home.

Idaho Independent Bank also has a branch in Star. First Interstate also operates one other branch in Boise and one each in Garden City, Kuna, Eagle, Emmett and Fruitland.

How customers’ accounts will be affected

Customers of the two banks getting merged can continue using checks drawn on those banks, Riley said. First Interstate will notify customers of any changes before it begins operating Idaho Independent and Community 1st banks.

“Once conversion occurs, clients can take heart knowing they’ll continue to enjoy the same personalized and local service they’ve come to expect from people they know and trust,” Riley said. “Additionally, clients will enjoy expanded offerings in payment services and wealth management.”

First Interstate is in buying mode

First Interstate is on an acquisition spree. In August, First Interstate bought Inland Northwest Bank, based in Spokane, which has 20 branches in Washington, Northern Idaho and Oregon. Those branches are scheduled to reopen as First Interstate branches on Nov. 13.

First Interstate operates 120 branches in Idaho, Oregon, Washington, Montana, Wyoming and South Dakota, and has $12.2 billion in assets. It is the 13th largest bank in Idaho, with just over 2 percent of the statewide market as measured by deposits, one spot below Idaho Independent Bank. Community 1st, with two branches in Coeur d’Alene and one in Post Falls, is 25th largest.

Wells Fargo is the state’s largest bank, with 22 percent of the market.

Idaho Independent Bank, founded in 1993, has $725 million in assets. Community 1st Bank, founded in 2007, has $130 million.

The boards of all three banks have approved the merger. Stockholders and federal regulators must sign off on the deal.

John Sowell: 208-377-6423, @JohnWSowell.
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