Five months after announcing our intent to merge, we are pleased to officially welcome Great Western Bank to the First Interstate family.
First Interstate’s merger with Great Western Bank was completed this morning, February 1, 2022. Kevin Riley, Chief Executive Officer and President of First Interstate, notes, “In today’s highly competitive financial services industry, joining forces with Great Western increases opportunities for our employees and clients while allowing us to continue serving as a source of strength and stability within our communities. In addition to offering our products and services to clients in eight new states, we’re eager to amplify the positive impact we can have by providing philanthropic support and business development across our service area.”
Great Western Bank branches will open their doors as First Interstate on Monday, May 23. Until then, it’s business as usual at both banks. Over the coming weeks, Great Western clients will receive information about the transition to First Interstate. To learn more about the merger, please read the full press release or view this introductory video from First Interstate President and CEO, Kevin Riley.
Q: Tell me more about First Interstate BancSystem, Inc. and First Interstate Bank.
A: First Interstate BancSystem, Inc. is a financial holding company headquartered in Billings, Montana. It is the parent company of First Interstate Bank, a community bank offering a full range of online, mobile, and other banking and financial services. When Great Western converts to First Interstate Bank on May 23, 2022, you will have access to more than 300 banking offices across Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Washington, and Wyoming.
First Interstate’s course was set by its founder, Homer Scott, Sr., who believed that people and organizations are not known by what they say, but by what they do. From the time Mr. Scott purchased his first bank in 1968, through their growth over five decades, the First Interstate family has always adhered to a strong set of guiding principles and values.
Q: Is this the same First Interstate Bank that was acquired by Wells Fargo in the 1990s?
A: No. First Interstate Bank is not and has not been affiliated with Wells Fargo. What is now First Interstate Bank was established in 1968 originally as a family of community banks operating under separate names. We started using the First Interstate Bank name in 1984 as part of a franchise agreement with First Interstate Bancorp, headquartered in California. In 1996, Wells Fargo acquired First Interstate Bancorp, but not this bank. We continued to license the “First Interstate” trademark from Wells Fargo until we purchased the trademark outright in 2017.
Q: What happens now? Can I continue to work with the same banker and/or loan officer as I do now?
A: For now, it is business as usual at Great Western Bank. You may continue your normal banking activities with the same bank staff you’ve come to know and trust in the same communities where you live and work.
Q: Can I bank at one of First Interstate’s current branch locations in Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, Oregon, Washington, or Wyoming right now and make deposits or withdrawals from my Great Western accounts?
A: No, not at this time. Great Western clients will be able to conduct business at First Interstate branches beginning Monday, May 23, 2022.
Q: What will happen to my accounts?
A: There will be no immediate changes to your accounts, and no action on your part is necessary at this time. Over the coming weeks, you will receive mailings from First Interstate regarding the transition. You’ll also learn more about the benefits of being a First Interstate client.
Q: Will my account number change?
A: The majority of Great Western account numbers will remain the same. A small number of account numbers have been identified as duplicate account numbers with another First Interstate Bank account; as such, we will need to change the account numbers on those few accounts. If your account is impacted in any way, we will contact you. If you do not hear from us about your account number, it will remain the same.
Q: What will happen to my FDIC insurance?
A: Your transferred deposits are separately insured from any accounts you may already have at First Interstate for at least six months after the date of the merger (through August 1, 2022). This grace period gives you a chance to restructure your accounts, if necessary, to make sure you have maximum FDIC coverage. Time Deposits (CDs) transferred to First Interstate Bank are separately insured until the earliest maturity date after the end of the six-month grace period. Time Deposits (CDs) that mature during the six-month grace period and are renewed for the same term in the same dollar amount (either with or without accrued interest) continue to be separately insured until the first maturity date after the six-month grace period. If a Time Deposit (CD) matures during the six-month grace period and is renewed on any other basis, it is separately insured only until the end of the six-month grace period.
Q: What, if any, changes will there be to the debit card I currently have?
A: There will be no changes to your debit card at this time; please continue to use your Great Western debit card. You will receive additional information and guidance about how we plan to issue your new First Interstate debit card(s) prior to the conversion May 23.
Q: Do I need to notify Social Security or any other entities processing automatic deposits or withdrawals from my account(s)?
A: The deposits and withdrawals that post automatically to your checking or savings account will continue to be processed in the same way after conversion. In rare cases of duplicate account numbers requiring an account number change, Social Security or other entities that process automatic deposits or withdrawals from an account may need to be notified. If needed, First Interstate will make the initial contact with these entities on your behalf.
Q: Will my loan terms change?
A: The terms and conditions of your loan contract at Great Western Bank will remain as stated after it transfers to First Interstate. There is no need for you to do anything with your loan; however, if you have questions about your loan, please contact your banker.
Questions and Support
If you have additional questions after reviewing these answers, please contact your local Great Western branch. You may also call First Interstate’s Client Contact Center at 855-342-3400; representatives are available Monday-Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. MT and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. MT.