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Glacier grand opening celebrated

by Seaborn Larson
| July 26, 2013 10:57 AM

Glacier Bank celebrated its grand opening Wednesday as the Libby community got a complete exhibition of the swanky new building on California Avenue. 

“It’s just a great day,” said Libby Branch Manager, John Johanson. “The drive for the new facility was immense.”

Community members joined Glacier employees in a luncheon and raffle to win a barbeque or gift certificates, and live bluegrass-country music provided the hometown atmosphere.

Johanson joined Glacier Bank President Robert Nystuen and Don Chery, the former president of Big Sky Western Bank, in cutting the ribbon to mark the official commencement of the new building. 

Before snipping the big green ribbon with three pair of giant scissors, Nystuen gave a humble speech to the Glacier Bank employees and community members in attendance.

“This has been a long time coming,” said Nystuen. “From here, it’s onward and upward.”

Nystuen gave much recognition to the staff at Glacier Bank’s second-oldest location, describing the new building as a confident investment in the Libby community.

Glacier has initiated a flurry of investment activity in recent months, recently engaging in a merger with North Cascades Banshares, Inc., a Washington banking firm that will be absorbed by Glacier Bancorp, Inc., the parent company of Glacier Bank.

Terms of the merger allowed North Cascade shareholders to determine a dividend of cash or Glacier Bancorp shares as the merger is expected to receive final approval from regulators on Wednesday. North Cascade shareholders approved the merger July 11.

A proxy report filed to the Securities and Exchange Commission stated that this acquisition marks the 14th acquisition made by Glacier since 2000 and its second transaction this year.

Glacier Bancorp made expansion ventures out of state earlier this year in acquiring Wheatland Bankshares of Wyoming, adding another four locations and to their prospects.

Glacier has also just closed the current fiscal quarter with an all time record quarterly income of $22.7 million, a 20 percent increase from the second quarter of the prior year.

In the report, Glacier President and Chief Executive Officer Mick Blodnick said the move to buy North Cascade Banking was a strategic and long-targeted expansion of Glacier’s footprint.

“I feel like it opens a whole new market for us, a diversification of agriculture in fruits and orchards as primary crop investments,” Blodnick said in a recent phone interview. “We expect to be able to grow the franchise in central Washington and provide them with resources that they didn’t have before.”

A transaction overview reported that although merged into Glacier Bancorp, North Cascades Bancshares, Inc., will continue to operate under its existing name and management and employees will remain in place. 

Scott Anderson, president and chief executive officer of North Cascades, said the merger was a benefit to NCNB customers and will be well served to its region.

The total transaction was valued at $29.3 million, including $13.55 million in cash and 834,744 shares of Glacier Bank stock, equaling $15.7 million.

Glacier Bancorp currently owns 12 bank divisions including 102 branches in the United States, reaching across Montana, Idaho, Washington, Wyoming, Utah and Colorado.

Nystuen thanked the people of Libby for their continued business and faith in Glacier Banking.