Coffee Talk Q4 2021
Written by Bill Coffee, CEO.
What a year it's been in Montana! There were many achievements to celebrate, as well as unexpected challenges to face. As we always do in Montana, we navigated this unfamiliar road together, working side by side, building on the growth and success of our state while helping each other get through the tough times.
Montana's economy roared back in 2021. Restaurants, stores, and local businesses re-opened their doors to customers eager to venture back out. Tourism experienced a busy year with record-breaking visits to Montana's national parks. Our unemployment rate dropped back down to normal levels while personal income grew. Additionally, multitudes of people and businesses connected to our great state like never before. More and more from across the country made their way here, planting roots and hanging their hat in Montana.
At Stockman, we definitely had much to celebrate. We saw growth in all facets of our business. Our "Montana-only" focus continues to serve our customers and state well. Stockman Bank grew to a record $5.8 billion in total assets sparked by new accounts and rising deposits. Stockman Insurance added new agents and new coverage to serve more of our neighbors across Montana. Stockman Wealth had a record year by all measures - staff strength, earnings, growth (up 45%) and total assets under management. Our collective success is the direct result of the expertise and dedication of our wonderful employees who put our customers and communities at the center of all they do, offering banking, insurance, and wealth management experiences that can't be beat.
- We entered the Flathead market, opening our first banking office in Kalispell and our 36th full-service banking location in Montana. We are excited to bring our unique brand of Montana community banking to the Flathead Valley.
- We received a 5-Star rating as a trusted community bank from the nation's premier bank rating firm, Bauer Financial, Inc.
- We were ranked in America's top 50 performing community banks by S&P Global Market Intelligence.
- We were recognized by the USDA Rural Development as Montana's Top Lender of the Year, Silver Status, for our personal home loan note guarantees.
- We were named as one of America's Best-In-State Banks in 2021 by Forbes.
- We were awarded as Lender Institution of the Year for 2020 by NeighborWorks Montana.
- I could go on for twenty more bullet points, but you get the picture...
These achievements did not come unchallenged, however. Drought ravaged most of our state, impacting our farms, ranches, and wild spaces. As a result, we faced a devastating fire season that was still causing trouble in December! As a Montana family-owned community bank, we, like all Montana businesses, are trying to deal with a frustrating worker shortage. Finally, more money is coming out of our wallets as we deal with inflation and rising prices for housing, gasoline and other goods. The silver lining is, as Montanans, we face these challenges together, neighbors helping neighbors.
We all know that our state has always been a unique and special place. The author, William Kittrich's, famously titled book about Montana as "The Last Best Place" is truer than ever. Happy New Year! Here's to a healthy and prosperous 2022!