Branches Re-opening

Welcome Back! Our Lobbies Will Reopen, Monday, May 4, 2020

Stockman Bank - King Avenue West

We are pleased to announce that many of our bank lobbies will be open for business on Monday, May 4th during our regular business hours. Please check our website to get the exact hours for your bank.

Never in our lifetime did we think we would have to enact a Pandemic Policy, yet here we are. We thank you for the patience you have shown as we travel these uncharted waters together.

One important lesson that has become increasingly evident through these challenging times is that working with a community bank is more important than ever. We have processed approximately 3,000 Paycheck Protection Program loans for $288 million dollars and are working on round two of assisting small businesses across the state. While our lobbies have been closed since March 23, our online and mobile banking and drive ups have been available for you. We encourage you to continue to use these options to meet your banking needs whenever possible as we collectively try to reduce the spread of the virus.

We are glad to welcome you back to our lobbies and want to let you know what you will experience when you visit us. Our lobbies will look and operate a little differently to protect the health and safety of customers and employees.

What You Can Expect In Our Lobbies

  •  First, we ask that if you feel sick or exhibit any signs of illness, please do not enter the building. This is for everyone’s safety. 
  • We ask that the appropriate 6’ social distancing measures be followed. There will be floor markers to assist you. If the lobby area becomes crowded and social distancing guidelines cannot be met, a staff member will be happy to make an appointment for you. We may also ask that you wait outside until others complete their banking.
  • You will see that our Tellers, Receptionists and Customer Service Representatives will have protective plexiglass shields to keep everyone safe. Some of our employees may also be wearing facemasks.
  • Hand sanitizer will be available at each teller window, and on the desks of our customer service representatives and receptionists.
  • All of our work stations, drive-up canisters and all high traffic areas will be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected repeatedly through out the day. Customers are encouraged to take the bank pen they have used during their visit.  Any pens left behind will be sanitized each day.

We plan to operate under Governor Bullock’s Phase 1 Guidelines. We understand this is subject to change as we actively monitor local policy developed by cities and counties.

We look forward to working with you inside our lobbies, in our drive ups or online and sincerely thank you for working with us as we all navigate a new normal.

Stockman Bank Lobbies Opening

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Homeschooling

When Children Attack: Homeschooling Edition

As we gradually reopen our state, many of us are continuing to stay home and decrease the number of public places we visit. Many parents of school-aged children wait for an answer as to whether schools will reopen for the remainder of the year. That leaves us home with our children who are still attending classes online. The standard “school day” hours definitely do not apply and your child’s teacher is not always available. This means many have taken on a new role as in-home teachers for their kids.

Don’t be overwhelmed.

The important thing to remember is to keep your kid’s brains moving by doing activities. If your child needs help with an assignment but you aren’t available to help them until after 4 pm, that’s ok. We’re all learning as we go.

Navigate these foreign waters

We spoke with Billings Public Schools Primary Literacy Coach, Kristie Martin, to provide recommendations and helpful tips on keeping your kids focused on learning while in their home environment.

Activities for Younger Children

There are several activities you can do from home to help your younger kids continue learning while outside of their traditional classroom. Here are a few recommendations from Kristie:

Little Girl Reading

  • Sight Word Find
    Need sight words? Click here.
  • Making Words/Word Families
    For a list of word families, click here.
  • Reading Spaces
    Create spaces for reading “just right” books. If you need books, visit Epic or Scholastic.
    Sentence Fun
    Use printed pictures and have younger kids write sentences about the photos using nouns and verbs. Older kids can write longer sentences using adverbs. The sentences can be used as story starters too.
  • Write Stories!
    Have children draw pictures and a few sentences about the photos.
  • Writing While Reading
    Help children focus on their reading. Have them read a few pages or sentences of a book, then write about what they think about the text. They can write about a connection they have to the character, questions they have, or what they think of an interaction that happened.

Activities for Older Children

Study Buddies

  • Montana Natural History Center (MNHC)
    MNHC offers weekly nature and science webinars to fun, interactive, live-streamed programs covering topics in STEM, social studies, literacy and art/music.
  • Start a Journal
    While starting a journal may seem like a chore on top of all the required school work, it is a way to begin writing solely for putting thoughts and ideas on the page. Some day your children will realize what a unique time they lived through and their COVID-19 journal will have enormous meaning.
  • Visit museums and aquariums

You may be home right now and much of the summer, but that doesn’t mean you can’t virtually visit new and exotic places. Don’t forget that National Parks are available for virtual visits as well.

  • Watch SGN weekly videos
    John Krasinski from the hit TV show, The Office, has created some of the most heart-warming updates about ‘Some Good News’ happening during the coronavirus pandemic . He produces these weekly, family-friendly videos.
  • Video Chat with friends and Family
    Stay in touch with school friends and family. Learn how to video chat or if you are already an expert, give a new app a try. Playing games online and scheduling regular meet ups are a creative way to not feel separated from friends right now.

Don’t Forget to Have Fun!

All work and no play, makes for a dull day. Here are a few things to do with your kids to have some family fun!

Playing Basketball Easy Bank Oven

  • Make a fort
  • Set up a technology quarantine when homework is done
  • Get outside often! Go for a walk, a bike ride, or a run
  • Bake together and give a dinner assignment to the kids
  • Write letters & cards
  • Play cards and board games

During this time of social distancing, we hope this list helps you to stay active and enjoy time with your family. Leave us a comment to let us know how you and your children are structuring your school days.

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House with blue fence spring flowers

COVID-19 – Mortgage Assistance

Lisa Tedder, Mortgage Servicing Manager

Lisa Tedder, Mortgage Servicing Manager

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have implemented a plan to ensure continued access to mortgage services, along with assistance to mortgage customers financially impacted by this health crisis. We try to respond to all inquiries, whether by phone or through email, in a timely manner.

I MAKE MY MORTGAGE PAYMENTS TO STOCKMAN BANK. WHAT IF I CAN’T MAKE MY HOUSE PAYMENT?

If your mortgage loan is serviced by Stockman Bank and you are unable to make your house payment due to a COVID-19 related financial hardship, please contact us right away by emailing your inquiry to Mortgage Servicing at CRESDept@stockmanbank.com, or by calling (406) 234-8545 during business hours.

Q. How can you help me?
A. We are able to place your monthly loan payments on hold for 90–180 days, to help lessen your financial burden during this time. This is known as a CARES Act Forbearance (forbearance).

Q. What is forbearance?
A.
Forbearance allows us to reduce or completely suspend your monthly mortgage payment until you are able to start making your regular monthly payment again.

Q. Will I be charged late fees on the forbearance payments?
A.
No, Stockman Bank is waiving all late charges during this time.

Q. Will this be reported negatively on my credit?
A.
No, your loan will be reported as Current – Under a National Disaster.

Q. Are there additional fees for this?
A.
No, there are no fees for the forbearance.

Q. Will I still be charged interest?
A.
Yes, if your loan is a fixed rate, 15 or 30 year scheduled mortgage. This means you will still owe the scheduled monthly interest that you would have paid had COVID-19 not created this hardship. However, the interest on your type of loan does not compound on itself. You will not incur additional interest by opting for a forbearance plan.

Q. Will it all be due in one lump some at the end?
A.
No. If you are able to make all the payments at once, that is an option, but not the only option if you meet the following criteria:

  1. You attest to a verifiable, undue financial hardship because of COVID-19.
  2. Your loan is due March 1, 2020 or later. ***This is a must, if you do not want to complete a borrower response package with proof of hardship, income, all checking and saving account information for the past three months, etc.
  3. You haven’t been collecting rent for the property that has not been applied to the forbearance payments.

Once we are back to our “new” normal, we will be here to help you with options you may qualify for based on your situation and loan type.  With the above criteria met, possible options include a repayment plan, loan re-amortization, loan modification, or a subordinate loan.  The option we choose for you will be based on your situation and loan type.

There are no additional fees for any of these options.

Q. What if I go back to work before my forbearance is over?
A.
You must contact us immediately if your financial circumstances change during the term of your forbearance plan so that we may discuss potential options to resolve the payments that have been deferred during your forbearance.

Q. Can I still make a payment during the forbearance?
A.
Yes, you can make payments. This forbearance does not prohibit you from making a monthly payment if you choose to do so during the forbearance period.  Making a payment will not void this forbearance.
*We encourage you to make payments if you are able to do so even if it isn’t every month or a full payment.

Q. Why a forbearance rather than another loan, or adding the payments onto the end of my loan?
A.
We anticipate our current situation to be a short-term hardship (3-6 months). The Federal Government’s CARES Act allows us to provide immediate relief by forbearing monthly mortgage payments during this unprecedented time.

Our current situation is very fluid, affecting each of us differently.  We don’t want to implement a permanent solution until your temporary hardship is resolved and you are able to return to making your monthly payment.

CONTINUED ACCESS TO MORTGAGE SERVICES

While our bank lobbies are temporarily closed, our mortgage lenders are still available to assist customers during business hours. If you want to purchase a home, or refinance your existing mortgage, you may contact your local Stockman Bank to speak with a mortgage lender. You may also contact our Home Loan Support toll free at 1 (833) 840-5289.

Given the recent volatility in our markets, the volume of inquiries has increased substantially. This may cause some delays in our response times. We greatly apologize for this, and will respond as soon as we are able.

WE ARE HERE TO SUPPORT YOU

If you have been impacted by COVID-19 and need our support, please contact us. We are ready to assist you.

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PPP Update

Supporting Montana Businesses – Paycheck Protection Program

Bill Bickle

Bill Bickle, Chief Credit Officer

As the first phase of the SBA’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) has come to an end, Stockman Bank customers have received authorization for approximately 2,177 loans totaling $262 million.

More importantly, Stockman Bank has closed 1,427 loans and deposited $209 million into its customer’s accounts; money our customers need to stay in business and pay their employees. That means we have already delivered to our customers 80% of the dollars they have qualified for under the PPP. Our customers should receive the remaining funds by early next week.

Supporting Small Business

Over our nearly 70-year history, ensuring that our Montana farmers, ranchers and small businesses owners continue to grow and be successful has been our priority. Entrepreneurship and small business is truly the backbone of our state.

As COVID-19 continued to spread and a state-wide “shelter-in-place” order became more likely, we knew that our customers and their employees would face significant challenges. The bank monitored the legislation authorizing the PPP as it was being developed in the Senate and then worked with the Montana SBA and our congressional delegation as we prepared for implementation on April 3.

The bank designed a special product and we streamlined our procedures to efficiently mange a large volume of loans. As soon as the SBA opened up their system for new applications we were able to start qualifying customers for loans. Some of our officers worked a twenty-hour day to help ensure that customer applications were qualified as soon as possible.

Many different Stockman Bank departments came together and worked hard to help ensure that our customers benefited from the PPP loans.

The appreciation of our customers, as shown by the comments below made this process worthwhile.

  • “I just wanted to send a quick note letting you know how much we appreciate your effort and prioritizing our business with regard to the PPP loan. Obviously, we will benefit greatly from the program, and are thankful that we were not shut out like so many others.”
  • “Thank you so much for your time, patience and guidance throughout this loan process! I sincerely appreciate it! This loan will help us out so much in the upcoming months! You are awesome!”
  • “Words can’t begin to express our gratitude for you going beyond on the call of duty in processing our PPP. Thank you for helping us out.”
  • “Before this week closed out, I wanted to most sincerely thank you for all you did for us this last week – and all you do on an ongoing basis. You look out for us, and that is an asset that I cannot begin to place a value on. And you do it in a kind, patient and timely manner – again, invaluable.”
  • “I hear other people in the community lamenting the challenges of submitting for a SBA loan but our experience has been totally different. You have a great team that is really stepping up to help the community and I appreciate everything Stockman has done to support our banking needs.”
  • “Wow! You guys are amazing; this is such a different experience than what we were going through.”
  • “I know I have often expressed my appreciation for you all. But I cannot tell you how impressed by all you have done and continue to do for my family and my business. I would do anything for you and will stand as a witness to your customer focus at anytime and at any venue! Thanks from the bottom of my heart.”

What happens now?

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) announced this morning that all appropriated funds for the Paycheck Protection Program have been fully committed. As a result, the SBA  is no longer accepting Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans until Congress approves additional funds.

  • If you have already submitted an application, we will continue to process the application so it is ready to submit for SBA approval when Congress approves additional funding.
  • If you have received notice that your application has been approved by the SBA, please be assured that today’s development will not impact the approval or funding of your loan. Contact your banker if you have questions.
  • If you have not yet applied for a PPP loan, we will continue to accept new applications. Contact your local Stockman bank for more information or visit stockmanbank.com.

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Dawnita and Lena

Four-Legged Friends – It’s a Real Thing!

During the Covid-19 shelter in place order, our four-legged friends become more important than many of us ever imagined. Dogs become our daily exercise companions. Cats curl up in our laps as we work from home. For many of us, the companionship of a pet takes on a whole new meaning as we socially distance from family, friends, and neighbors.

Recently, Dawnita Sampsel, an Ag Loan Officer at our Stanford bank welcomed a new addition to her family. A sweet Miniature Aussie named Lena arrived at the Great Falls Airport in January, where Dawnita and her husband Jeff, welcomed her with open arms. Having raised puppies before, they were ready and able to make sure that Lena had everything she needed to grow into a smart and capable ranch dog.

Dawnita and Lena

 

Animal shelters have seen a rise in adoptions during this period of shelter in place, but what does it really take to make sure your four-legged friend has what it needs to grow and develop? We decided to find out some puppy basics, so we caught up with Dr. Laurie Gaugler, DVM at Central Montana Veterinary Services in Hobson, and asked her to weigh in on basic care and what you should know about keeping your fur baby happy and healthy!

Laurie & Dawnita

Check out our video below of Dr. Gaugler, Dawnita and of course the star of the production – Lena!

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Video Chat

Stay home. Stay safe. Stay connected.

There are so many ways to stay connected during this time of social distancing. In fact, there is a push to change the term social distancing to physical distancing to help all of us from feeling isolated.

Reaching out to family and friends right now can boost your spirits and allows you to know that things are going to be all right. Connecting with family and friends is more important now than ever before.

Grandparents Video Chat

Video chat is a way to stay well connected and with many options readily available, even the least tech savvy person can get on board with face-to-face conversations in no time. While we aren’t endorsing any of the products mentioned, we are suggesting that you give them a try. Find out what works best for you and your circumstances.

Houseparty

This app is popular with the cool kid crowd. In fact, it was the most downloaded app last week, well in front of Skype or Google Hangouts and there is good reason for this. The app allows features that others don’t have. Secret chats are an option within group calls. When you log into the app, you are in the house and can be added to a chat or others can join you by sending them a link in a text message. Your friends and families will need to download the app to get started. You can then wave to one another and start chatting face-to-face.

Skype

Skype has been around the longest and is probably the easiest of all the video chat tools to use, especially for older relatives who aren’t used to so many new fangled ideas. The benefits include the ease of talking with others from landlines or mobile phones and you can send text messages as well. Dropped calls can be an issue, so make sure everyone is patient if you have to work out bugs.

Google Hangouts

Up to 150 people can be on a hangout and the phone numbers can be from anywhere in the world. Group chats are fairly easy to set up and are reliable. If you have a Google account, Hangouts is worth trying.

Zoom

This business focused video chat set a record two weeks ago with over 1 million downloads in a single day. Zoom meetings are happening around the globe as business adjusts to employees working remotely. There is no cost for a single call with up to 100 participants and it offers unlimited 1 to 1 meetings. There are time limits of 40 minutes for group meetings, so if you and your family are long winded, you may want to keep that in mind. Video chats on Zoom are very reliable, a large part of Zoom’s popularity.

Get started and give these options a try. I will be hosting my book club on Houseparty next week. While it may feel like herding cats, I plan to send an email to all the members with step-by-step directions. We will hold a trial run the night before we actually meet for those who require a little hand holding. The best part is I won’t have to clean my house, bake anything, and the clean up will be a snap. Wish me luck!

Video Chat

Spread Kindness

Spread Kindness Instead

As our world seems to be in chaos, and we are surrounded by negative news, I am reminded that there is only so much that I can control and my outlook on life is one of them. It is a time of uncertainty, but if you look around there are a lot of displays of love and kindness happening all around us. There are people singing from balconies, photographers taking front porch family photos, teachers driving through neighborhoods to wave to their students, and volunteers sewing masks.

Community

Amid all of the fear there is an overwhelming feeling of community and support. This has made me feel more at peace with all of the things that I can not control. I am never going to change the stock market, but I can shelter in place to do my part in and practice kindness.

Thank you card

Here are a few things that my family is doing to spread kindness in our community. After all we need each other to get through this!

  • Calling and sending videos for friends and family member to tell them how much we love and appreciate them. Paying special attention to those that live alone.
  • Offering to pickup items for vulnerable friends and family members when we visit stores.
  • Dropping off treats like cookies or fresh fruit and veggies on our neighbors porches, ringing the bell and running away.
  • Making thank you cards for health care workers, mail carriers, trash collectors and others who are performing essential services.
  • Writing to people in nursing homes who can no longer have family and friends visit.
  • Supporting businesses in our community by shopping local, buying gift cards and ordering from local restaurants. Adding on extra tips for service workers.
  • Donating books to neighborhood book libraries.

Neighborhood Library

 

These are all small things that my family can do to impact our small circle of the world. I hope that my 4 and 6 year old will look back on this time and remember it as a time we all got to slow down and enjoy time as a family. I hope they will have learned lessons of kindness and sharing. We are all struggling, but the more we can continue to stand by each other and remember we are in this together the stronger we will be.  Maybe when this is all behind us our world will have been changed in a positive way.

Thank you card

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Avoiding Scams

Beware of New Scams Related to Coronavirus – Part Two

Last month, we shared information from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) about new scams related to the Coronavirus. Unfortunately, according to the FTC, the scammers are not slowing down. They continue to take advantage of fears surrounding the Coronavirus. They’re setting up websites to sell bogus products, and using fake emails, texts, and social media posts as a ruse to take your money and get your personal information.

The emails and posts may be promoting awareness and prevention tips, and fake information about cases in your neighborhood. They also may be asking you to donate to victims, offering advice on unproven treatments, or contain malicious email attachments.

According to the American Bankers Association, these are the most common scams.

SCAMS happening right now!

  • Phishing and supply scams. Scammers impersonate health organizations and businesses to gather personal and financial information or sell fake test kits, supplies, vaccines or cures for COVID-19.
  • Stimulus check or economic relief scams. There are reports that the government will help to ease the economic impact of the virus by sending money by check or direct deposit. However, the government will NOT ask for a fee to receive the funds, nor will they ask for your personal or account information.
  • Charity scams. Fraudsters seek donations for illegitimate or non-existent organizations.
  • Delivery of malware through “virus-tracking apps” or sensationalized news reports.
  • Provider scams. Scammers impersonate doctors and hospital staff and contact victim claiming to have treated a relative or friend for COVID-19 and demand payment for treatment.
  • Bank/FDIC scams: Scammers impersonate FDIC or bank employees and falsely claim that banks are limiting access to deposits or that there are security issues with bank deposits.
  • Investment scams often styled as “research reports,” claiming that products or services of publicly traded companies can prevent, detect, or cure COVID-19.

If you are contacted on your phone or through email, remember to simply stop. Call us. We are able to answer your questions. Sadly, we’ve probably heard this before. Do not feel pressured to act quickly or offer money for someone you don’t know.

As always,

Stay safe and be well.

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