A Fond Farewell

Linda Wiedeman

Linda Wiedeman

Once upon a time, long, long ago, there was a girl, fresh out of college with a BS in Secondary Education-Biology Major, Earth Science Minor-who had just spent the summer in the hay field.

That John Deere B tractor and the dump rake with a rope pull lost a lot of attraction after a time in the heat. I was told there was a teller opening at First Security Bank & Trust of Miles City, and my brain screamed “air-conditioning”.

They took a chance and hired me.

I started on 8-16-1971, at $325 per month. I bet the head teller wished she hadn’t. She often let me start balancing 15 minutes ahead of the other tellers just so she could go home before dark.

Once I got it, I got it!  This job is the best job I have ever had, and the bosses I have worked with are the best on the planet.

Of course, this is the only job I have ever had, and Bill Nefsy, the founder of Stockman Bank, Bob Lucas, Loyd Sohl and Stan Markuson are the only bosses I have ever worked with!

So much has changed in banking over the years. Technology has made some processes easier, but it wasn’t that way when I started in banking.

Can you believe we came to work in the early bright (3:00 a.m.ish) once a month to put out every single checking and savings statement for every single customer in the bank?

Linda Wiedeman - crop

Remember, every statement had to be bursted (separating paper from carbon), the checks and deposit slips had to be counted and agree with the statement. The items had to be inserted, sealed, sorted according to zip code, and mailed—and they all cut off on the 1st of the month!

Did you know every single transaction that occurred during the day had to be balanced and
key-punched on a card? Then, all of the boxes of cards had to be delivered to Rowland, Thomas & Company for processing, and the journals for checking, savings and loans had to be completed by the next day.

Every single day, every single check or savings ticket had to be hand-filed in giant drawers in bookkeeping. Every day-every one!

At that time, the Mission in Ashland flew their deposits to Miles City, where we picked up an airplane load of trays and trays and trays of work, balanced them, ran them through the accounts, and processed everything…a huge undertaking.

All loan payments were hand calculated. Later, they were referenced from a journal, and all escrow payments were calculated by hand.

Cooking with Interest-Recipe

We had a lot of fun. We were a family, and we were trying to grow this Bank. Bill, Bob, Jim Sims (who was known to help Bill calve heifers in a pinch), Jerry McKibbin and Eddie worked long hours traveling to surrounding ranches and farms paying calls.

Officer hours were typically from 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. (or longer). We were expected to attend all functions and be active in our community.

It was a rarity that a function in Miles City or the surrounding towns was not attended by one or more of us, whether it was an anniversary celebration, a fundraiser, sports or a school event. I can recommend the Pancake Suppers at Plevna.

During this time, Bill Nefsy, Bob Mountain (CPA & owner of Rowland, Thomas & Company & our Chairman of the Board), and R.H. Twiford, an attorney-friend of Bill’s from Wyoming, became concerned about our customers who sold their product, and had the proceeds held until later.

They devised our deferred payment program, originally named R. H. Twiford & Associates, now called Stockman Exchange, Inc. This service, drafted by those worthies, provides a valuable service to our customers, both current and potential.

The purchase of Glendive and Sidney was a giant accomplishment for this little cow town bank, but it was only the beginning.

The advent of computer technology provided additional work and continued growth. While not without risk, technology continues to provide opportunities and more convenient ways for our customers to bank.

We have never forgotten that the customer is our source of life, we cannot exist without them.  Personal customer service is paramount; it is all we can offer that cannot be found in other institutions.

Bill Nefsy would be proud of what his family has accomplished, adding more branches, building more buildings, employing more people, and serving more customers well and faithfully.

Board of Directors - cropThe days of keypunching have morphed into the days of keyboarding, and increased regulations continue to challenge community banks, with more time and resources directed toward compliance.

However, Stockman Bank has continued to put customers first, remaining faithful to its original motto, “The Friendly, Full Service Bank.”

I miss Bill’s boots on my desk as he and L. P. Anderson, Sam Ohnstad, Don Muggli, Ed Regan, C.M. Coffee or any number of customers and friends conversed.

I learned a lot! Men of their caliber will not be seen again. I miss L.P.’s laugh, I miss doing Bill and C.M.’s dictation,(shorthand comes in handy). I miss the old days, but it is time for a new adventure.

I leave you with my thanks and with fond memories of my forty-seven years in banking. I want to wish all of the branches the very best in their endeavors in the future.  May you have continued growth, fewer regulations (!) and a profitable future.

Sincerely,

Linda Fae Wiedeman, VP

 

Linda, from all of us at Stockman Bank, we will miss you and wish you all the best in retirement.

 

Bank Disclosures

Small Towns. Big Hearts! (Part 1)

Janine Merrill Post written by Janine Merrill, Marketing Officer

No doubt you’ve all seen the Stockman Bank ads where we advertise that we have 34 locations statewide.

But have you ever wondered where all of them are and how big the towns are that they’re located in?

In this three-part series, I will introduce you to the seven smallest towns that Stockman Bank has branches in. Populations listed are based on the 2010 census.

They may be small but I can assure you they’re happening places. Each one embodies the beauty of what small-town life is like in Montana!

From the smallest to the largest of the smalls, here they are in pictures and with some fun facts for your enjoyment!

Richey – population 177

Richey is located in Dawson County, north of Glendive, and sits between two historic landmarks, the Missouri River and the Yellowstone River.

Richey Drone Photo 1

Fort Peck Lake is to the west and Lake Sakakawea to the east, so recreational opportunities are plentiful! Richey is known for significant cattle and sheep ranches as well as wheat, oats, and barley as the main crops grown there.

According to Jim Trotter, Stockman Bank Branch Manager in Richey, the summer months are full of activities.

Richey Group Crop Summer

 

Major events include the Richey Rodeo held the third Sunday in July and the annual Richey Car Show also held in July.

In the summer months, he said young and old alike can be seen eating delicious ice cream and treats at the Dip and Twist – an area favorite hangout!

Richey Dip & Twist Crop

 

Like so many other small towns, high school sports are a huge part of the community and, as you can guess, serve as the major social activity for folks.

Richey L&R Fusion 4

Richey is in a Class C sports coop with neighboring town Lambert, and the team name is the R&L Fusion for both boys and girls sports.

Geraldine – population 261

Beautifully situated in the middle of wheat country and at the base of the Highwood Mountains, Geraldine is a town in Chouteau County between Fort Benton and Stanford.

Geraldine Welcome Sign Crop 1

Geraldine was originally created as a stop on the Milwaukee Railroad and was thought to be named for Almira Geraldine Rockefeller the wife of William Rockefeller, who was the director of the railroad at the time, or her daughter, Ethel Geraldine Rockefeller Dodge.

The town’s wood-constructed railroad depot that was built in 1913 has been restored and now contains historical displays of the area’s history. The building that Stockman Bank is housed in was built in 1914 and is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Geraldine Bank Front Crop 2

Karen Fairbanks, CSR and Teller for the Geraldine Branch, noted that the building has always been an integral part of the community and even brings in tourists who are interested in the building’s intriguing and historically un-renovated architecture.

Geraldine Lobby Crop 3

Geraldine Group Crop 4

Fun activities to be enjoyed in Geraldine are the Geraldine Fun Days held in June of each year, and the annual dinner theatre put on each year by the Geraldine Action Committee.

A local Geraldine resident pens the story for the productions, the local bar and restaurant caters the meal, and the actors for the production are made up of community members.

This is truly a “community” activity and proceeds from the production go toward community projects. Class C sports are alive in Geraldine as well, with Geraldine being coop-ed with nearby Highwood for all sports.

The team is known as the Geraldine-Highwood “Rivals” – given that back in the day, these two towns were rivals in all competitions, the name certainly fits!

Geraldine Rival Logo Crop 5

And it certainly doesn’t get more “small town” than that!

Stay tuned for two more installments of “Small Towns. Big Hearts”. Can you guess which are the next towns to be showcased?

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