Kelly McCloy bags 1 rsb

Holiday Traditions From Your Stockman Family

By Janine Merrill, Stockman Bank Marketing Officer

Heading into the Christmas season almost always conjures up a nostalgic blend of happy memories and family traditions.

Traditions like the usual suspects; baking cookies, decorating a tree with ornaments passed down from generation to generation, sending cards with thoughtful holiday wishes, getting and receiving gifts, preparing and serving a delicious family meal, are just a few that most of us do each year.

Here is a glimpse of some of the Christmas traditions our employees hold near and dear, and they do on an annual basis. You might just want to add one or two of these to your own holiday traditions!

Christmas Ornaments on a Tree rsb

Stephanie Jolley, who works in our Accounting Department in Miles City, has a tradition whereby she and her family assemble what they call the “Goodie Box” just after Thanksgiving.

They fill it with their favorite snacks such as popcorn balls, cookies, brittle, peanuts/nuts and candies and then wrap the box in Christmas paper.

The box is opened by the family just before Christmas when they decide to decorate, watch movies, or do a game night. This fun tradition has gone on for four generations in her family, and everyone looks forward to the delicious treats that await them!

Kari Williams, Customer Service Representative at our Helena Sanders Street location told us that Christmas Eve is definitely one of her favorite days of the year and most memorable growing up.

The day was spent doing last minute shopping and preparing the house for the big family evening ahead. Kari’s father usually had to work on Christmas Eve, but after his retirement, he would join in on the preparations by making his homemade donuts and serving a large batch of Tom and Jerry’s!

Kari’s mom was in charge of the family dinner which always included Swedish meatballs, mashed potatoes and gravy, fruit salad with real whip cream and Lefse – which is a traditional Swedish flatbread.

Kari Williams parents rsb

The table was beautifully set with a red or green tablecloth and the fine china, reserved for only special occasions! After dinner, gifts were opened and then everyone made the trek to Church for a beautiful candlelit service.

Singing Silent Night would bring tears of pure joy to Kari as she looked around at her family. It doesn’t get more traditional than that!

kari Williams family rsb

Jan Lukasik, Real Estate Loan Assistant in Missoula, told us that she and her family make hot chocolate and drive around Missoula to look at all the Christmas lights and decorations. This simple tradition brings a lot of joy to her and her family. They look forward to it every year!

Christmas lights snowy outdoor scene rsb

Kelly McCloy, a Teller at our Bozeman Oak location started putting together “Blessing Bags” for the homeless a few years ago with her family. The bags are large zip locks and are filled with sundry items, warm socks, snacks, and a few dollars in change.

In addition, they also make “doggie bags” with dog treats for the pets of the recipients.  They keep the bags in their cars to give out whenever they see a homeless person during the holiday season.

Kelly says that her children love to make them and it brings them an awareness of others.  What a wonderful way to give back!

Kelly McCloy bags 1 rsb

Marni Pauli, Real Estate Loan Officer in Miles City started her family tradition in 1986 – the first year that K-Mart came out with their holiday bear collection. She started collecting bears in hopes that she would have a child to pass them on to. She was blessed with her son in 2008 and decided to continue collecting the bears.

He looks forward each year to bring the three large totes that the bears are stored in, upstairs to include in the decorating process. These festive bears are placed all over the house. Needless to say, the Pauli residence is a holiday, bear, wonderland during Christmas!

Marni Pauley holiday bears r

And my family tradition you ask? On Christmas day I cook a sumptuous prime rib meal and serve it with several sides. We gather at the beautifully, decorated table where several types of wines are served.

The conversation starts flowing, as does more wine. This generally leads to a boisterous family discussion (argument). No one goes home though without kissing and making up, and vowing to get together again for the next holiday!

Steak and wine rsb

Family traditions are what make the holidays so special. Whether you have traditions you have celebrated for years or ones that maybe you are just starting, the season is about friends and family and the blessings that come from family and the love you share.

Have a wonderful Christmas and New Year, and keep those traditions coming!

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Keep Christmas Real and Realistic

MGlenna_Christmas_family-photo-RePost written by Mindy Glenna, Marketing Officer in Missoula

There’s nothing better than watching the joy on your child’s face on Christmas morning!

As the mother of a 4 ½ and a 2 ½-year-old (the ½ is very important), Christmas is truly magical.

This year, Danae wants a watch because her older brother just got one. Isaiah wants anything he can build or create with. I see a degree in art or engineering in his future.

Okay… so I have a mom confession to make – Christmas makes me feel like Scrooge.

It’s not that I’m a mean mom who doesn’t want my kids to have presents on Christmas morning.

Or that I don’t appreciate the thought and love that goes into each package. It’s that I look at the piles and piles of stuff they get and, in my head, I see dollar signs.

I see myself sitting behind a desk like Ebenezer Scrooge counting stacks of money!

I see all the money that could be going to help them to have a brighter future, and I question – is it rude for me to say, “Give them money instead!”


For the first four years of my son’s life, I’ve watched his eyes glaze over as he opens gift after gift and the process becomes more of a chore than fun.

I’ve held my breath as my daughter has opened a gift and said a silent prayer that she remembers her manners.

In my mind, a handful of gifts would be just as well received and will help my kiddos to keep in perspective the real reason for the season.

The average amount that will be spent this year by parents at Christmas varies by news source from around $300-$500 per child.

That number doesn’t include all the grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc. that will also buy presents for your children.

Multiply that by 18 years. Add on birthdays, Easter, Valentine’s Day, and Halloween. Math has never been my strong suit, but you get the picture. All those gifts add up quickly and every dollar will help to reach the nearly insurmountable cost of college.

The gift of savings is a fantastic way to have a life-long impact on the future of a child and will more than likely help teach them the tools to have a financially stable future.

MGlenna_Christmas_daughter_at_tree_farm_ReThere are many creative and inexpensive gift ideas that can teach your kids about money but also let them have some fun at the same time.

A quick Google search turned up the following gift ideas:

  • Books About Money – There are many fun books that help teach young children about money. These include: Curious George Saves His Pennies, Dr. Seuss – One Cent, Two Cents, Old Cent, New Cent: All About Money, and The Berenstain Bears’ Dollars and Sense.
  • A Piggy Bank – This is a fun way to help young children learn about saving money. You can include a little cash to get them started!
  • Money Jars – Older children can learn about money management and setting savings goals by targeting their money. Find or purchase three jars or other containers, decorate them with your child and label them “spend”, “save”, and “donate”. Then put a little money in each jar to get them started!
  • Board Games – There are many fun board games that will teach kids about earning, saving and investing. These include Monopoly, The Game of Life, Pay Day, and Stock Ticker.

In our family, we’ve been fortunate that many of our friends and relatives are thinking long-term for our children.

With any luck, college will be something attainable for them. Or there is always the chance one of them will opt to backpack across Europe. Either way, it will be a more memorable gift than whatever toy is hot this Christmas season.

How do you teach your kids about money? Do you have any creative Christmas gift ideas? We’d love to hear about them.

GrainHarvest 600

Montana Grain Growers Association: Making a Difference Since 1956!

Post written by Janine Merrill, Stockman BankMarketing Officer

Oh, beautiful for spacious skies,

for amber waves of grain.

For purple mountain majesties,

Above the fruited plain!

GrainHarvest 600Lyrics that have stood the test of time, and a song that has been rooted in American culture for generations, America the Beautiful was written by Katharine Lee Bates in 1912.

One can only imagine that her inspiration for writing it must have included the beauty of Montana and all it has to offer.

Whether you are driving across the state or peering down at it from a jet far above, vast strips and fields of cropland are prevalent everywhere.

Amber waves of grain are truly plentiful in our landscape and present themselves in all their colorful beauty.

Two of the most prominent grains, wheat and barley, have been produced by Montana farmers for generations.

According to the 2017 Montana Agricultural Statistics publication by The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), over 5,130,000 acres of wheat were planted and harvested in 2016.

This included different varieties of Winter Wheat, Durum Wheat, and Spring Wheat. In addition, 990,000 acres of Barley were planted and harvested.


Montana wheat continues to be among the best quality in the world.

Montana also continues to be the leading producer of pulse crops (dried peas, edible beans, lentils and chickpeas are the most common varieties). Undeniably, agriculture continues to be the backbone of Montana’s economy.

For over 60 years, the Montana Grain Growers Association (MGGA) has proudly advocated for Montana wheat and barley producers.

Organized in 1956, MGGA is recognized as a grain industry leader and is the only organization dedicated solely to representing the interests of Montana wheat and barley producers.

Working on issues that are critical to Montana growers’ success like crop insurance, the farm bill, trade policy, and transportation, as well as federal and state regulations and rising input costs, MGGA has a long history of success.

The organization’s honesty, integrity, and hard work have earned them the respect of congressional delegations, state legislators, and administrators at all levels.

Wheat field StockSnapThe MGGA is holding its annual Convention and Trade Show November 27-29 in Great Falls at the Best Western Heritage Inn.  This is an excellent opportunity to be part of one of Montana’s largest, most successful and respected agricultural gatherings.

All three days are filled with presentations on many varied and interesting topics as well as a large trade show featuring vendors from all over Montana.

There is no better convention to attend to get up to date on all things farming and current trends. It’s also a great opportunity to network with new and old friends.

As Montana’s largest Ag bank, we’re proud to support the MGGA and the work it does on behalf of Montana’s farmers.

Make it a point to stop by our booth while you attend the trade show. Be sure to chat with our friendly and knowledgeable Ag loan officers.

Have a cup of coffee on us, pick up a giveaway, and let’s talk farming!

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American Flags

Thanking Our Stockman Bank Military Veterans

Ashley Glantz

Ashley Glantz

Post written by Ashley Glantz, HR Recruiting Specialist

We all know one.

Maybe you’ve had the honor of loving one.

Maybe you interact with them on a daily basis.

Maybe it’s a family member. Or a coworker. Or a friend.

For every interaction we have with our military veterans, we’re better for it. We owe a debt of gratitude to every veteran who has served, as well as their families who have supported them along the way.

Today we’d like to take a moment to thank a few of the veterans from the Stockman family for their service to our country, their friendship, and their hard work. Read more

Claire with gold coins 600

The Tooth Fairy – Gold Coins and Teachable Moments

Emily Houska

Emily Houska

Post written by Emily Houska, Marketing Officer

You’re probably asking yourself, “How does the Tooth Fairy have anything to do with a blog for Stockman Bank?”  Well, let me explain…

The other day, my oldest daughter, who is 5, had to get two front teeth pulled in order to provide enough room for her permanent tooth that was already well on its way.

Before the appointment, we had a few discussions about what to expect so she wouldn’t be too alarmed or afraid of what was going to happen.  I soon learned that she had something more important on her mind than the dentist.

In the days preceding her appointment, my daughter excitedly told me that she couldn’t wait to get her baby teeth pulled.  She said, “Mom, I’m almost about to have happy tears because I’m so excited to have grown up teeth now, and the Tooth Fairy is going to come to my house!”  The Tooth Fairy!

I had almost forgotten that this would be another one of my “side-jobs” as a mom.  My husband and I already had experience as Santa Claus (and the reindeer) and the Easter Bunny.  But the fantasy world of the Tooth Fairy was new and my daughter’s expectations were big!

Claire at dentist (1)

One day, she said, “Mom, I think the tooth fairy is going to bring me like a hundred dollars, maybe, I don’t know.”  Then, a couple of days later, she declared, “Mom, I think the tooth fairy brings GOLD!!  Gold Coins!”

I remembered back to my days as a teller at Stockman, where we had rolls of gold-colored dollar coins. This was perfect!  I can’t make $100 happen, but I can make gold coins appear!

As expected, the actual appointment was not very fun. We felt so bad about all those shots of Novocain and having two teeth pulled.

To let her know how proud the Tooth Fairy was that she was so strong and brave at the dentist, my husband and I decided for this first tooth fairy experience, she was going to get a few extra coins – five in fact – plus a $5 bill, and two new books we happened to have on hand.

The next morning, she was so excited to see the Tooth Fairy had really come and her eyes just lit up when she saw those gold coins! Before she left for school that morning, she was determined to find a “safe” place to store and save her new gold coins! I was really proud of her for wanting to save some of her tooth fairy money.

I used to wonder when the right time would be to start teaching my girls about money.  After playing my part as the Tooth Fairy, I realized that some of the best financial lessons for a young child can be part of our everyday experiences with them.

We can look for opportunities to talk about money in ways that make sense to them, and by doing this, we’ll be slowly teaching them financial lessons that will last a lifetime.

Here are some simple examples from the American Bankers Association® of teachable moments for children of all ages to help you get started:

At the bank:

Claire at dentist (2)

When you go to the bank, bring your children with you and show them how transactions work.

Get the manager to explain how the bank operates, how money generates interest and how an ATM works. Ask the manager for a tour—be sure to ask to see the vault.

On payday:

Discuss how your pay is budgeted to pay for housing, food and clothing, and how a portion is saved for future expenses such as college tuition and retirement.

At the market:

It’s easy to give clear examples of “needs” and “wants” using different kinds of foods at a grocery store. Milk (for strong bones) is a need; soft drinks are a want.

Explain the benefits of comparison shopping, coupons and store brands.

Claire with gold coins

Chores and allowances:

Assign chores and give them a monetary value. Discuss ways to budget and divide allowances. Encourage children to set a financial goal, such as saving for a bike, and figure out how to achieve it.

Paying bills:

Explain the many ways that bills can be paid. That may be over the phone, paper or by check, electronic check or online check draft. Discuss how each method of bill pay takes money out of your account.

Be sure to cover late penalties, emphasizing the importance of paying bills on time.

Using credit cards:

Explain that credit cards are a loan and need to be repaid. Share how each month a credit card statement comes in the mail with a bill. Go over the features of different types of cards, such as ATM, debit and credit cards.

Browsing the Internet:

While online, explain to your children how valuable their personal information and privacy is to you, to them and to online predators. Discuss the risks and benefits of sharing certain information.

Then, as a family, make a list of rules for keeping personal information safe online.

Planning a vacation:

Whether you are planning an outing to a local amusement park or a once-in-a-lifetime trip, emphasize the value of saving as a family. Set a family savings goal that involves your children. Figure out the cost and discuss ways everyone can help to reach the goal.

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The Tale of the Creepy, Credit Monster

Tanna Yerger

Tanna Yerger

Post written by Tanna Yerger, Digital Media Coordinator

October is Get Smart about Credit month as well as Halloween! Even though these two events fall in the same month, it doesn’t mean that they both have to be scary.

Credit is an important part of your financial health. To learn more about credit and to remove the fear of the scary credit monster from everyone’s closet, I spoke with Jeff Weber, Customer Service Representative, at our Billings King Avenue bank!

“Nothing stresses people out more than money. If I can help resolve that stress, that’s a good feeling.” – Jeff Weber

T: How long have you been in banking?

J: Since January of 2016

T: What is the best part of your job?

J: When I have a cranky customer and they walk out of here happy. Nothing stresses people out more than money. If I can help resolve that stress, that’s a good feeling. They’re walking out of here in a better mood than when they came in, and that’s pretty cool.

Jeff Weber

Jeff Weber

T: Do you mentor your customers when they ask for help?

J: Definitely. We have people come in with questions like “I don’t have any credit and I’m trying to get an apartment. What do I do?”

T: What do you tell them?

J: It’s tricky because you’ve got to have credit to build credit. One thing I always recommend is to apply for a credit card. You can get credit cards with no credit. You might only have a $200 limit, but if you spend $100 on gas every month, just use that credit card and pay it off*. (For people with little to no credit, the American Bankers Association (ABA) also recommends applying for a loan with a co-signer who has a good credit history.)

T: Do you get questions about credit?

J: Yes. How do I build it? How do I get my credit back up to a good score?

T: Generally, how do you answer those tricky questions?

J: I know it sounds simple, but you’ve got to pay your bills on time. That’s really what it boils down to. You’ve got to go out and check your credit report, and if you have something outstanding, get it taken care of. Credit can be tricky. I compare it to a Jenga game because it’s so easy to destroy and it takes a lot of time to get it put back together.

“I compare credit to a Jenga game because it’s so easy to destroy and it takes a lot of time to get it put back together.” – Jeff Weber

Jenga and credit

T: Where do you recommend customers go to check their credit score?

J: The ABA recommends using

T: Do you have a credit success story that you can share with me?

J: A relative was looking to get a mortgage. He didn’t have any credit and asked me what he should do. His mom told him that he wasn’t responsible enough for a credit card. She might not have been wrong, but she wasn’t considering the bigger picture. He ended up getting a credit card with a $500 limit and did exactly what I told him to do. He used the card for fuel. After a couple of years of this, he was able to sign off on his first mortgage at age 25.
(There is a popular belief that leaving a small balance on a credit card each month will help to increase your credit. Per Experian, this is a myth. It is important to pay off your credit card balance each month to help foster a healthy credit score.)

T: How often do you get questions on credit?

J: Probably once per month I will have someone specifically sit at my desk and ask questions about credit.

T: So, credit is on their minds but not necessarily the main reason for coming in.

J: Yes. It’s definitely something that people care about. If they have specific credit needs, I refer them to a commercial, consumer or mortgage lending specialist.

T: Any final thoughts?

J: If you are concerned about identity theft and fraud, I always recommend freezing your credit report. (In an article shared on the ABA’s website, it explains how a security freeze can protect against identity theft and the opening of fraudulent accounts.) Most people know well in advance if they’re going to have their credit pulled. They can just lift the freeze. Keep in mind that there can be a time delay thawing your credit with all reporting agencies. When I’m done doing what I need to do, I get back online and freeze it again. The only way you can freeze your credit is by going to each credit bureau page.

In an Experian article, it’s mentioned that credit thawing can take a few days if it’s done via mail. Credit thawing via their website or phone generally takes anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour.

(Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.)

Thank you, Jeff, for offering your expertise to our readers about credit. There are so many ways to “get smart about credit” and take control of your financial future. We have 34 banks across the state, with experts who are willing to talk and assist with financial questions and concerns. Stop by and let us help you understand that credit isn’t a scary monster in your closet.

For other questions regarding credit and cybersecurity, the ABA and Experian are excellent resources. Visit their websites to learn more.

*Credit card products may charge annual fees, cash advance, and various other miscellaneous fees. Prior to accepting a credit card offer, be sure to review on all fees, APY, and other fees associated with the credit product.

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.


Linda Fae Wiedeman, VP


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


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Summer is Vacation Time!


Julia Warmer

Post written by Julia Warmer, Digital Media Manager 

Summer is vacation time!

Plan a trip to your dream destination! Pack your bags to explore our beautiful state or venture farther and travel in the US or abroad.

You may have heard that spending money on experiences makes us happier than buying material items.

Research shows that how you choose to spend your hard earned money can significantly contribute to long-term happiness.

In fact, that same research shows that planning a trip is known to make you as happy as the actual trip itself.

To keep your memories positive and long-lasting, we recommend you take the time before you depart to do a few straightforward steps.

  • Summer BoatingCall or drop by your local branch and let us know your plans. Give us the dates and places you’ll be visiting to help keep your account safe.A charge on your card, miles away from usual activity may cause your account to be flagged for fraud. Our Customer Service phone number is 1 (877) 300-9369 or go to our website to get the phone number of your branch.
  • If you lose your debit card, remember that you can turn off your card in our mobile app.
    1. You can block your debit card not to allow new, in-person transactions. Pending and recurring transactions will NOT be affected.
    2. You can set location limits and merchant limits on your card.
    3. And it is easy to unblock your card at any time. Just turn the block off.

We want you to enjoy your vacation and make lasting memories.

We might even have a recommendation to offer for that must-see sight or the restaurant no one should miss.

Finally, if you have time, here’s an article with even more travel tips.

Safe travels and happy summer!

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Jim and Cathy 600

My Father’s Footsteps

Jim and Cathy

Jim and Cathy

Post written by Cathy Fitzgerald, Credit Review Officer

Just as the Yellowstone River runs through Billings, banking runs through my family’s veins.

My dad, Jim Bennett, has been in banking his entire professional career. In fact, because of banking, my father met my mother.

They were both working at Montana National Bank in Havre, MT, where my father was an assistant cashier and my mother a teller.

They found love in one another that has lasted for 65 years through all of the ups and downs in the banking industry, never losing their love for this profession.

Little did they know that this passion for banking would be shared by their children and grandchildren.

Shortly after my parents were married, my family moved to Livingston State Bank where my father was hired as a cashier and worked his way up to become a loan officer.

Joining the lending world helped my father create a clear vision for his future and for his family.

Don and Blayne

Don and Blayne

Working closely with a few key investors, he was able to start First Citizens Bank in Billings in the late 1960’s.

In 2003, he ended his career as President of what grew into a multi-state bank holding company.

My dad’s vision was extended to my brother, Don Bennett, who, with the help and guidance of my parents, decided to start a family-owned bank in Columbia Falls, MT.

Don has followed in our father’s footsteps and is bringing his daughter, Blayne Furey, along with him.

My niece Blayne has joined Don in the banking world by facilitating their electronic loan file product, eFinancial Solutions.

When the opportunity arose for me to return to Billings in 2015 to work for Stockman Bank as a Credit Review Officer, I saw a great opportunity to use my accounting degree in the banking industry, working for this family-owned bank for the first time.

Jeff and Cathy

Jeff and Cathy

To the delight of my father, I too entered into the unique world of banking.

Shortly after my return, my son, Jeff Fitzgerald, became the corporate pilot for another Billings bank.

Although we might not all be following the exact same career path as my father, we’ve all learned from his work ethic and love of the banking industry.

My dad is now proud to say, “It has taken a long time, but we now have five members of the family in banking, so we are getting there!”

Our family is grateful to have such an inspiring man as a father and grandfather.

Happy Father’s Day Dad!

I’m so proud to be a part of a family following in your footsteps.

Embracing A Faster Tomorrow

Ian Berryman

Ian Berryman

Post written by Ian Berryman, Assistant Manager, Cash Management Support

Innovation is often defined as the creation of new ideas, products or processes.

At Stockman Bank, we define innovation a little differently.

We believe that innovation requires not only fresh ideas, but also improvement. And we work hard to apply that definition to the products and services we offer.

In addition, we strive to improve our industry as a whole by collaborating with other stakeholders to reimagine banking for our customers in an increasingly digital world.

The National Automated Clearing House Association (NACHA) oversees and regulates the ACH network in the United States.

ACH transactions provide the backbone for many of the electronic funds transfers in use today.

This includes everything from direct deposit of payroll, check conversion, bill payments, debit card transactions and point-of-sale transactions, as well as PayPal, Venmo and other person-to-person (P2P) transfers.

In fact, in 2017 the ACH network processed 21.5 billion transactions totaling 46.8 trillion dollars!1

As part of our efforts at Stockman Bank to improve our industry, we submitted a proposal to the NACHA Challenge, an international competition open to corporations, think tanks and financial institutions to find creative solutions to complex problems within the payments industry.

The focus of this year’s challenge was finding simple ways for businesses and consumers to provide their bank account info without the need to recall their account and routing numbers.


Other organizations submitted proposals, but only four teams were selected to present at NACHA’s annual PAYMENTS conference for thousands of payments experts from around the world.

The four finalists consisted of teams from Stockman Bank, IBM, Alacriti and Redwood Credit Union.

I had the pleasure of leading the Stockman Bank team in the competition and presenting our proposal at the conference.

Our solution is simple: let customers provide account information in an easy-to-remember access code, much like an email, without requiring major infrastructure changes to the banking industry.

Our competitors also proposed innovative solutions leveraging new technologies and creative systems, but I ‘m proud to announce that Team Stockman Bank was selected as the Audience Choice Award winner for the 2018 NACHA Challenge, reaffirming our commitment to innovation and the improvement of our industry.

In addition to the NACHA Challenge, I was able to gain a valuable perspective on the future of the payments industry while attending the conference… and the future is faster.


We’re rapidly approaching a future where days and hours will be replaced with minutes and seconds for everything from new account opening to settlement of electronic funds transfers.

With these advancements come certain risks, but new technologies and processes are enabling financial institutions to prepare, analyze and execute strategies to mitigate risk faster and more effectively than ever before.

At Stockman Bank, our dedication to our customers guides us as we innovate and implement new tools and services to protect our customers’ assets and help them achieve their goals.

1 NACHA,, Retrieved: 5/10/2018


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