First Interstate BancSystem, the parent company of First Interstate Bank, and Great Western Bancorp, Inc., the parent company of Great Western Bank, announced Thursday, September 16, they have entered into a definitive agreement under which the companies will combine in an all‐stock transaction. Under the terms of the agreement, GWB will merge into FIBK and the combined holding company and bank will operate under the First Interstate name and brand.
Mark Borrecco, Great Western Bank President and CEO, answered several questions for The Valley Express about how the merger of the two banks would affect Milbank in particular. Borrecco said, “Employees in Milbank will not see any immediate changes. It is business as usual until the completion of the transaction. We are working closely to ensure this has as little negative impact on employees as possible.” He added, “The experienced talent pool at Great Western is critical to the growth and future of the new organization, so we expect that the majority of Great Western employees will stay on with the combined company.”
Borrecco also said, “Milbank customers will experience no immediate changes to their day-to-day banking. Customers will receive mailings regarding the plans to integrate the two companies, as well as information regarding their accounts, checks, debit cards, ATM cards, and more. We anticipate these changes to take place during the second quarter of 2022. When the combination of Great Western and First Interstate is complete,” he said, “our Milbank customers will continue to enjoy the same local, relationship-based service they’ve come to expect from people they know and trust.”
The company’s headquarters will remain in Billings, Montana. Pending regulatory and shareholder approvals, the transaction is expected to close during the first calendar quarter of 2022.
The conversion of Great Western branches to First Interstate branches is expected to take place during the second calendar quarter of 2022. Currently, Great Western serves customers at more than 170 branches in nine states: Arizona, Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota. First Interstate serves customers across Idaho, Montana, Oregon, South Dakota, Washington, and Wyoming. The combined company will result in a network of more than 300 branches across 14 states and assets totaling over $32 billion.
FIBK’s president and CEO Kevin Riley said, “This is a transformative moment for our 53-year-old company. We are eager to expand our community banking model into eight new states and look forward to building relationships with the employees and clients who call these beautiful regions home. “Jim Scott, director of the board for FIBK and son of First Interstate’s founders, Homer Scott, Sr. and Mildred Scott, described the merger as “an extension of our legacy in the region where our family’s roots began.” He said, “It increases the bank’s community commitment while expanding our brand of community banking.” The Scott family will remain significant shareholders in FIBK and family members will continue to serve in board positions post-transaction. To punctuate the milestone moment and to celebrate the Scott family’s legacy as part this transaction, FIBK has agreed to donate over $20 million to the First Interstate BancSystem Foundation.