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.
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.
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.