Mountain West Bank went into business 12 years ago in a trailer at the corner of Ironwood Drive and Government Way in Coeur dAlene.
Now, Mountain West has a branch on that site, and its headquarters take up much of the 29,000-square-foot office building next door. As the banks assets, deposits, and loans continue to grow, its increasingly employing a different kind of trailera construction-site trailer.
The bank remodeled a branch in Hayden this summer, opened a branch in Nampa last month, and plans to open four more branches next year, says Jon Hippler, bank president and CEO. With those additional branches, Mountain West expects to have a total of 22 branches in Washington, Idaho, and Utah by the end of 2006.
Were fortunate to be doing business in very dynamic markets, Hippler says. Its a matter of being in the right place at the right time with a good business model.
Those markets include the fast growing Kootenai County market in which it started, as well as the sizzling Boise area and popular destination spots such as Park City, Utah, and Ketchum, Idaho.
Three of the planned new branchesone in Coeur dAlene and two in the Boise areaare under construction and are slated to open in the first quarter of next year, Hippler says. The fourth is to be built in Eagle, Idaho, also near Boise, late next year.
Kim Jacklin, Mountain Wests senior vice president of corporate marketing, says that in downtown Boise, the bank is remodeling space on the ground floor of the Hoff Building and plans to open that branch next month. Mountain Wests commercial lending center in Boise is located on the 11th floor of that structure, she says.
Just west of Boise, in Meridian, Mountain West plans to open a free-standing branch in February that will have just over 4,000 square feet of floor space. The following month, a similar-sized branch is scheduled to open at the northwest corner of Ramsey Road and Kathleen Avenue in northern Coeur dAlene.
Both the Meridian and Ramsey Road branches will feature a new prototype design that Mountain West first employed at its recently remodeled Hayden branch. The new design doesnt include a teller line, but has customer-service areas with self-contained safes that take in cash, count it and sort it automatically, then post the deposit to a customers account.
With that setup, Hippler says, tellers arent tethered to a cash drawer and are free to walk out from behind the counter to help customers. He says the Hayden branch has had to work out some logistical kinks in the system, but ultimately, the system should result in faster transactions for bank customers.
The three branches Mountain West will open early next year and the one it opened recently in Nampa will cost a total of between $3 million and $4 million to develop, Hippler says. He says he doesnt have a cost estimate to release yet for the planned Eagle branch. Jacklin says that at this point, the bank doesnt have concrete plans for additional branches beyond the four it currently plans to open.
Recently, Mountain West leased an additional 2,500 square feet of floor space in the building that houses its administrative offices, at 101 Ironwood Drive. The bank plans to move its U.S. Small Business Administration lending operation there from space it currently shares in that building with the banks commercial-lending operations.
The bank now has about 20,000 square feet of office space in the two-story building, which is called Mountain West Plaza.
The expansion activities are occurring as Mountain West is experiencing meteoric financial growth.
Through the first nine months of 2005, Mountain West posted record net income of about $8.6 million, a 47 percent increase compared with the year-earlier period. As of Sept. 30, total assets were $754 million, up 23 percent from a year earlier, and total deposits were $574 million, up 35 percent from a year earlier.
Total loans grew at a brisk pace as well, increasing 39 percent to $518 million in the same period.
Hippler says much of Mountain Wests loan growth has occurred in Kootenai County and the Boise area.
The banks growth figures in net income, deposits, and total loans easily are among the highest percentage gains in those categories posted by Inland Northwest institutions.
Those results follow a strong 2004 in which earnings grew substantially, Hippler says. Also, he says, this years figures dont include any one-time investment gains, so the earnings accrued from the banks core productsloans and services.
Next year, Hippler says, the banking industry, including Mountain West, likely will experience slower growth than it has the last couple of years, primarily because of higher interest rates.
Banks, in general, will struggle to make double-digit earnings increases next year, he says.
Mountain West still hopes to reach double-digit increases in net income in 2006, he says, but the revenue increases likely wont be near this years results.
In addition to its growing branch network, the bank has commercial lending offices in Sandpoint and Boise and residential lending offices in Sandpoint and two other Idaho cities, Meridian and Ketchum. Its corporate offices in Coeur dAlene house residential and commercial lending offices as well. The bank, which last year was the top U.S. Small Business Administration lender in the Inland Northwest, also has an SBA loan-production office in Spokane Valley.
It opened that office, at 12209 E. Mission, in August, and activity there so far has been better than expected, Hippler says. In the first two months it was open, the Valley office completed six SBA loans, and it currently has eight more such loans in its pipeline.
In the SBA world, thats a fair amount of volume in a short amount of time, he says.
The bank is cultivating relationships with some Spokane-area community banks that dont handle SBA loans and will refer candidates for such loans to Mountain Wests Valley office, Hippler says.
Mountain West currently doesnt have plans for additional in the Spokane area, Hippler says. The bank might consider opening a residential loan center or a commercial loan center in Spokane Valley as its SBA loan business grows. It likely would open such offices and grow that type of business before opening a conventional branch here.
Mountain West currently has 260 full-time equivalent employees. The bank is a subsidiary of Kalispell, Mont.-based Glacier Bancorp., a publicly traded bank holding company with $3.5 billion in assets.
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