Montana’s Glacier looking to slow the pace of growth

Glacier Bancorp, Inc., Kalispell, Mont., announced the completion of its acquisition of Collegiate Peaks Bank, Buena Vista, Colo. Doing business with five locations in the Mountain and Front Range communities of Colorado, the $533 million Collegiate Peaks Bank will operate as a separate banking division under the name Collegiate Peaks Bank, a division of Glacier Bank, with its existing management team. Collegiate is Glacier’s 15th banking division.

Glacier expects to soon complete another acquisition, this one of First Security Bank, Bozeman, Mont. That deal will mark Glacier’s 20th acquisition since 2000 and its ninth in the past five years. The $658 million First Security Bank has 11 banking offices in Montana.

Glacier’s latest acquisitions build on growth into the West in 2017 after launching its Foothills Bank division in Arizona.

“We’re a company of community banks,” said Randy Chesler, Glacier’s president and CEO, to bank investors earlier this year. “We fully integrated Foothills into the company, and our new division had a great year while managing through a closing transaction and system conversion. Continued growth in Arizona looks very promising.”

With the completion of Collegiate and then First Security, Glacier Bancorp will surpass the $10 billion mark.

“We are going to have a really busy first quarter of 2018,” Chesler said. “By adding over $1.5 billion in assets, we will increase the size of the company by 15 percent while gaining more than enough scale to mitigate the expenses associated with our company crossing over the $10 billion asset threshold.”

Chesler said the company plans to tap the brakes on acquisition growth – sort of.

“I think we want to manage our digestive capacity carefully,” Chesler said. “This is a big quarter for us and one of the larger deals we’ve done. I would say probably the earliest, most likely you would see is an announcement in 2018 and a closing in 2019. Other than that, it would be difficult to see much of anything other than that happening. There’s still some good conversations going on, and we’re being clear upfront to folks. ‘Hey, we’d love to talk.’”