Stockman establishes Tech Center in Miles City

Miles-City based Stockman Bank has purchased the former First Interstate Bank building at 1115 Main St. in Miles City.

The purchase was announced last week, not long after First Interstate locked the doors and reopened in a new building at 2909 Dickinson St., just off Haynes Avenue in Miles City.

According to a Stockman Bank press release, the 10,152 square-foot building will house the new “Stockman Tech Center.”

The Tech Center will serve Stockman Bank, Stockman Wealth Management and Stockman Insurance statewide. It is expected to open by early fall.

The decision to purchase the building and move the bank’s technology department results from the bank’s strong growth, the news release stated.

“Stockman’s strong growth across Montana, in all areas of the company, coupled with providing enhanced services and capabilities to both customers and employees, made this expansion important,” Stockman Bank Chief Technology Officer Paul Roble said.

“We offer customers state-of-the-art banking services, including all of the modern digital banking solutions, such as Internet banking and smartphone and tablet mobile banking apps, including mobile deposit,” Roble continued. “Therefore, we need a building to adequately house all of this technology and the growing staff to take care of the technology, customers and employees statewide.”

Planning for the new Tech Center began just over two years ago, when Stockman put the building under contract.

 “We’ve had lots of time to plan and we have continued to grow over the last two years.  The large size, open design and great location of the building make it fairly easy to remodel into a modern technology hub,” Roble added.    

Remodeling is underway, with work progressing on the electrical backup power systems, communications connections, cooling systems, fire suppression system, and housing segments of the technology infrastructure, according to the news release.

The installation of a new walk-up ATM, and enclosing the building’s existing drive-up canopy, has yet to begin.  

The enclosed drive-up will house supply storage, statement processing and a mailroom. The existing space is sufficient to accommodate cubicles, office space and meeting areas for over 30 employees with minimal updating, the news release noted.

Stanley Markuson, President of Stockman Bank Miles City, said he is excited that Stockman “continues to expand in and improve downtown,” furthering a commitment to Miles City started in 1953 by Bill Nefsy, the bank’s founder.

“I hope our leadership encourages others to redevelop downtown and help bring vibrancy back to the area,” Markuson said.

 John Laney, executive director of the Miles City Chamber of Commerce, told the Star that Stockman is a model corporate citizen with “a huge economic impact on Miles City, and especially Main Street.”

With operations centered in downtown Miles City, Laney said the large number of bank employees, and the additional traffic that the bank’s operations create, help downtown retail businesses prosper.

Setting up shop in what could have become a vacant building is another positive outcome from the Stockman purchase of the First Interstate building.

“Empty storefronts are a negative visual,” Laney said. “We’re fortunate not to have as many as [other downtowns.]”

Stockman’s Technology Department is currently located at Seventh and Bridge streets in Miles City in the “Stockman Center,” which will be renamed the “Stockman Ops Center.”

According to the press release, the extra space will allow the Operations Department to expand, and “provide room for other growing departments, within Stockman, to relocate and grow as well.”

Markuson said what’s good for Stockman Bank in Montana is good for Miles City.

“Stockman is uniquely focused on Montana. As we serve more of our neighbors, both locally and across the state, it creates job opportunities and economic development right here in Miles City,” Markuson said.