First Interstate Bank was established on the principles and values of our founder, Homer Scott, Sr. In 1968, Mr. Scott purchased the Bank of Commerce in Sheridan, Wyoming, and began building his vision of a premier community bank committed to providing quality customer service, attracting high quality employees, and serving the local community with long-term perspective and discipline. Two years later, Mr. Scott purchased the Security Trust and Savings Bank in Billings, Montana. These two bank acquisitions formed the foundation on which our company began its notable history of sustained growth and expansion.
In 1971, Mr. Scott incorporated our company as a holding company and over the next 10 years acquired two more banks and established six de novo banks within various communities of Montana and Wyoming. By 1981, our company had grown to 10 branches.
We entered into a franchise agreement with First Interstate Bancorp, headquartered in Los Angeles, California, in 1984 to use the "First Interstate" name in Montana and Wyoming. In 1996, Wells Fargo Bank acquired First Interstate Bancorp. At the time of the acquisition, we purchased six banking offices in Montana and Wyoming previously operated by First Interstate Bancorp and obtained an exclusive license to use the "First Interstate" name and logo in Montana, Wyoming, and the six neighboring states of Idaho, Utah, Colorado, Nebraska, South Dakota, and North Dakota.
By the end of 1999, First Interstate had grown to 42 branch locations through a combination of de novo start-ups and acquisitions. We also experienced significant organic growth with increases in total assets, deposits, and loans. This pattern of organic, de novo, and acquisition growth has since resulted in further expansion of our business and market areas. In January 2008, we expanded into South Dakota by acquiring 18 banking offices pursuant to the purchase of First Western Bank.
Today, we have 79 branch locations throughout Montana, Wyoming, and western South Dakota. Our history and market leadership position not only reflect the vision and values of our founder but of the entire Scott family, our principal stockholders. Members of the Scott family have continuously provided effective leadership to the company and the communities we serve. Our growth is a result of our adherence to the principles and values of our founder and the alignment of these principles and values among our management, directors, employees, and stockholders.