Glacier’s steadiness pays off

Randy Chesler

Glacier Bancorp, Kalispell, Mont., ended the third quarter with income of $77.8 million, up from $51.6 million during the same time last year. The company operates 16 separate bank brands, all run by independent executives and staff, in eight western states. 

“Despite the pandemic, we are amazed how well our customers have adjusted to the circumstances and are carrying on with business,” said Randy Chesler, president and CEO. “Our residential mortgage volume is at record levels with refinancing and new home purchases. Our commercial lending business is beginning to pick up and many of our business customers report they had a very good summer and early fall season.”

Chesler told investors the bank group’s overall conservative approach to credit “really pays off during times like these. And we have seen some increase in digital transactions, but our brands’ transactions have remained steady. We continue to watch the numbers but have not seen a major shift in the mix.”

The diversity of markets it serves contributes to Glacier’s resilience, Chesler added. “The markets were strong before the pandemic, driven by high quality of life, business friendly environments and low cost of living, and we are seeing signs that the natural social distancing that comes with our more rural markets will only add to the attractiveness of our footprint markets.”

Glacier’s model has historically been built around steady acquisitions. As someone always on the lookout, Chesler said it’s still too early to seal new deals. “The pause button was hit earlier this year across the board,” Chesler said in response to an analyst’s question. “I think that we’re beginning to reopen dialogue with a number of interested folks and we are hopeful that [in] the beginning [or] middle of [the] year [we] will be in a better position to hopefully move forward or make an announcement. We just don’t know. It’s a bit early. I think there’s a lot of encouraging signs. … So those conversations are beginning to reopen and we’ll see where they lead us. What hasn’t changed is our very disciplined approach to M&A and targets. And so we’ll pick up where we left off almost a year ago now.”