Old MC Bank Nefsy

Does where I bank really matter?

Jocelyn Lane

Jocelyn Lane, VP, Commercial/Consumer Loan Officer, Missoula

All banks are the same – right? They all offer similar products and services.  A business loan is a business loan. A checking account is a checking account. What could possibly be different? A lot!

Like with many industries, banks also have varying sizes and areas that they cover.

  • National/international banks which literally can be found in pretty much any part of the United States or the world for that matter.
  • Internet only banks accessed solely by the means of a computer or a phone.
  • Regional banks which cover a particular region that involves typically several states.
  • Community banks which focus on just a targeted area with a smaller footprint.

With the national and regional banks, they create efficiencies by consolidating pretty much all of their employees within a certain area. These jobs typically include the call center, admin/executive roles, marketing, compliance, operations and loan processing. So while you bank with them where you live and work, most of their behind-the-scenes folks are not in your community but instead are in a different state and may even be located in a different country (for example, a call center located in Costa Rica). The same is definitely true of the internet only banks but even on a larger scale because they don’t even have a local representation of any kind.

Why does this matter?  Well, it matters for a lot of reasons.

Level of Service

My best friend since 7th grade is a controller at a regional hospital in the Alabama area. Her company moved away from a national bank because their banker was never local and was difficult to reach. They selected a community banker because they saw this person regularly in the community and knew the responsiveness of this person/bank would be different. They had concluded as a company that’s what they valued and needed most. Her exact words to me were “I feel like I have another business colleague in my banker. You can’t put a value or price tag on that.”

Brenton and Bos Hay

Local Economy Support

Another area to think about is how much more a community bank drives your local economy where you live. While national, internet only and regional banks consolidate their employees into hubs likely in a location not in your community, community banks instead have all those jobs and salaries locally. Further, the bank’s own dollars generated from profit are also spent locally too. So a dollar earned in your community, stays in your community.

Giving Back

A final reason evolves around the benefit a community bank brings to the community.


Community banks and bankers are committed to giving back to the community where they work and live. They volunteer countless hours and personally donate funds (remember those salaries). In addition, the community bank itself gives additional charitable contributions (remember those dollars earned).

Old MC Bank Nefsy


For the most part in Montana, we are not a Metropolitan hub benefiting from consolidated and large companies placing their administration and operations departments here. Rather, we benefit most from the companies who originate here, stay here and keep all their employees here.

I recently moved to Montana. Deciding to work for Stockman Bank was an easy decision for me. The headquarters of the bank are in Montana and all the jobs and profits are retained here.  As such, a dollar earned here, stays here. In terms of giving back to the community, I’ve never been involved with a company so generous with their employees’ time to support non-profits as well as with the dollars given.

So to my earlier question, does it matter where you bank?  I have the answer for you. Absolutely! 

Are you interested in working with us? Contact your nearest Stockman Bank today.

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New Home in 2020?

Is a New Home Part of Your Plans for 2020?

Cut Bank - Sissy Nygaard

Pauline Sissy Nygaard
AVP/Residential Lender
Cut Bank

Start planning now for success in 2020! Whether you are looking to become a first time homeowner or wondering if you should refinance your current mortgage, checking on your financial health should be on your list of New Year’s resolutions right beside “losing weight” and “joining a gym.” Let us help you achieve your resolution of improving your financial health with a few helpful tips.

How important are credit scores?

Having a healthy credit score will help you with pre-approvals, lower interest rates, and decreased insurance premiums. Did you know that your insurance premiums you pay on your home or autos are partially based on your credit score? Although you may be able to qualify for a home loan with a credit score in the low 600’s, you will have more options for mortgage products with a credit score of 640, 660, or above.

We are happy to help you learn the differences between conventional and government guaranteed mortgages. These different loan products will determine the amount of your down payment, your mortgage insurance, and your interest rate. The higher your credit score, the more options you will have when determining what type of mortgage loan to choose.

New Home in 2020?

Look over your credit report.

To get your credit report, go to www.annualcreditreport.com to obtain a copy from one of the three credit reporting agencies.

You are entitled to one free copy of your credit report every 12 months. This credit report will not give you your current credit score, but it will let you know the items on your credit report and who is looking at your information each month. Look for any collections, judgments, public records, and past due items. Immediately contact every creditor who has reported an adverse item, whether you are disputing it or working to have it removed from your active and open accounts. You cannot remove past due payments as they are a part of your credit history, but with each current monthly payment you make, these adverse payments will become less damaging.

Many savvy consumers are actually following a plan to become debt free. Although this is a healthy goal to have, it might be a good idea to keep a couple of items open and active on your credit report by maintaining reasonable balances and keeping your payments current. If you do not have any active items on your credit report you may actually lose your credit scores. Without a credit score you may not be able to purchase a home, auto, or even a cell phone, and you’ll have to start over like a teenager establishing credit.

Review Your Credit Report

Have a financial plan as the correct first step.

If you don’t follow a budget currently, start following a structured plan now with the new year.

By writing down your current monthly income and current monthly expenses, you can develop a plan to decrease your unwanted consumer debt and start planning for that new home, auto, or career. Our new online app has a terrific Money Management section to help with creating a realistic budget based on your actual spending. Be honest with yourself when tracking your monthly expenses. If you purchase a latte four days each week, write it down; If you belong to a gym, write down the cost of your membership; if you want to go on vacation this year, research the cost and start saving.

If the expenses are more than your income at the end of the month, you need to make some changes. Most of us can’t increase our income, so that means we will need to take a hard look at the monthly expenses and make the changes necessary to bring our budget into balance. And if you can’t decrease your expenses enough to match your income, then perhaps a second job is needed to make the change you need to become financially responsible.

My most important message for you this year is to BE SAFE! Please only deal with people you know and trust. Don’t give out your personal information, and watch your accounts and monthly statements closely for accurate transactions. From all of us, we wish you a happy, healthy, and prosperous 2020!

Bank Disclosures


Technology in Ranching and Farming

We all have preconceived notions about people when we first meet them. Someone who is all glamour and good looks we might think is a rock star or an actor. A really smart person could be a brain surgeon or a scientist. Someone who is tech savvy could be a software engineer, a rancher or a farmer… A rancher? A farmer? In fact, the answer is yes. Technology is not limited to the urban millennial or Silicon Valley wizards.

Technology in Agriculture

Technology is utilized in agriculture today and is improving both efficiencies and production in ways that refine and define Ag operations. Tech in the Ag industry includes farm machines, crop sensors, GPS in land assessment, biotechnology, animal management, and much more.


Clinton Small, a rancher in southeastern Montana, runs his cattle, fencing, and hay operation by drone. We visited Clinton’s ranch to watch him in action. He describes how, due to the rugged nature of the landscape of his ranch, his drone is an enormous help in the day-to-day management of his ranch.

Clinton with Drone

Jumping on a couple of 4-wheelers, we drove up the side of a mountain to launch his drone. This is where the fun really started! As the drone soared high in the sky, Clinton recalled a time when he launched his drone and spotted a calf that wasn’t moving. He was able to bring the drone in close enough to identify the calves tag number and get someone over to administer medication and assistance. Thanks to this powerful technology that assisted Clinton, he is happy to report that the calf recovered and is doing very well.



Drone Spotting

With the help of his drone, Clinton has been able to spot the exact location where fences are down and get the section repaired before the cattle wandered away. The time it takes to walk, drive, or ride to cover every section of his ranch would take days. The drone is literally Clinton’s eyes in the sky.

Craggy Landscape


Technology is changing farm and ranch management with improvements in production and productivity. Watching Clinton skillfully use a high powered drone for both his land and cattle illustrate just how quickly technology advancements are helping farmers and ranchers with their day-to-day operational management. Next time you think of agriculture as a simple way of life, you may need to reboot many of your preconceived notions.

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