The story of Three Rivers Bank of Montana, an independent, community bank in Kalispell, Montana is one of a locally owned financial institution growing with the Flathead Valley residents it serves. In 1973 eleven local businessmen, later call the “Sterling 11,” set out to start Kalispell’s fifth bank . These businessmen, led by A.J. “Jack “ King , secured $600 ,000 from community investors in initial capital to begin the bank venture. Upon approval from Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and Harold Pitts, the State of Montana Commissioner of Banking , a new bank charter was approved to form the First Security Bank of Kalispell.
Construction of a 3,500 square foot building at 233 E. Idaho began in 1973 and was completed in May of 1974. The architect, Bill Bierrum, together with contractor Stewart & James Construction, conceived of a bank that looks like a Scottish Highlands Chalet in a unique A-frame design. The interior featured substantial wood beams supporting the roof and large windows on both ends, creating an open feeling for the main floor and lofted second floor.
The grand opening of the First Security Bank of Kalispell was held May 5, 1974. Along with its first President, Larry Sherman, Mrs. Dean King cut the ribbon opening the bank. The first members of the Board of Directors were A.J. “Jack” King (Chairman), M. Sterling Rygg, Dr. Willard F. Bennett, Ivan O’Neil, and Larry Sherman. At the end of 1974 the bank’s assets totaled $2,142,100.
By 1984 the bank’s assets had grown to $15 million and the bank’s board of Directors and its management team recognized that with its tremendous success the bank had outgrown the original building and so in 1985 new construction and remodeling began. Completed in 1986, the bank’s footprint was increased by 7,000 square feet, which included four new loan officers’ offices on the main floor and three offices on the second floor for accounting personnel.
In 1998 bank assets were $65 million dollars and once again the bank had its interior updated with new carpet, reconditioned desks, furniture, and wallpaper, and four new offices were added to the basement for the bank’s operations team. That same year, the Bank’s Board of Directors and management team saw opportunity for additional market growth and approved new construction of the First Security Bank’s second location at 552 North Meridian Road.
In 1999 First Security Bank changed its name to Three Rivers Bank of Montana to set the bank apart from three other financial institutions in Flathead County using “security” in their names. The new logo introduced with the name change utilizes the A-frame design to represent the surrounding mountains and three swooshes at the bottom to signify the three rivers in the Flathead Valley—the Flathead, Stillwater, and Whitefish. The three rivers unite approximately one mile southeast of the Idaho Street location and bind the Flathead Valley together
On July 01, 1999 the Three Rivers Meridian location was opened for business. The bank’s architect, John Constenius, incorporated elements of the original A-frame design into the new building and utilized river rock fascia for the exterior. The bank’s interior features impressive ceiling beams and large logs supporting the roof and providing the building a chalet look and atmosphere.
In the fall of 2013, the Idaho St. location started its third expansion and remodel. After remodeling the south entrance and applying a new coat of paint the Bank will expand all three floors of the building another twenty-five feet to the north. Within this addition the bank is adding an elevator, more offices, and bathrooms on all three levels. At the end of this project not only will the Bank enhance its modernization but expanded room for staff will ensure the Bank’s ability to meet its growing customer base. Construction was completed in early 2015.
As the Flathead Valley grows, so does Three Rivers Bank. We enjoy serving the members of our community and continue to strive to meet the financial challenges Valley residents face. The Board of Directors, the Senior Management team, and all the employees of Three Rivers Bank of Montana want to thank all who do business with us, and invite those who don’t to come in and see why we are the “Best Bank in the Valley!”