Bank of Idaho expands to Boise

Sharon Fisher//January 25, 2019

Bank of Idaho expands to Boise

Sharon Fisher//January 25, 2019

photo of bank of idaho
Renovation is still underway to create the first Boise branch of the Bank of Idaho at One Capital Center. Photo by Sharon Fisher.

Living up its name, the Bank of Idaho is having a “soft opening” of its first branch in downtown Boise, with its grand opening slated for March, after its remodel is finished.

“We have temporary furniture,” said Jeff Newgard, president and CEO of the bank. “We just wanted to enter the market and call on customers. We’ll have the grand opening when our facelift is done.”

The Bank of Idaho is headquartered in Idaho Falls, where it recently moved into The Broadway.

photo of jeff newgard
Jeff Newgard

Newgard decided to open a branch in Boise because of “location, location, location,” he said. “If you’re serious about being a bank, you need to be right in the heart of Boise.”

The branch is located on the ground floor of the CenturyLink building at One Capital Center, which previously housed J.R. Simplot offices.

The Boise branch is likely to be the first of several expansions, Newgard said.

“There’s a lot of growth we can do in Boise and the surrounding areas,” he said, adding that Twin Falls, where the company currently has mortgage operations, is “definitely on our list” for a branch in the future. “Our dream is to encompass the entire state.”

That plan is what led Newgard to the bank.

“I came here three and a half years ago to take the bank to the next level and grow it,” he said. “I’ve spent three years focusing on a good team and a good base,” such as a dashboard that helps small business companies see how they compare to the rest of their industry in different categories, and what they need to do to go to the next step.

“If you grow it ahead of your ability, you stub your toe,” he said. “I wanted to make sure we did it aggressively and strategically, so we didn’t dip our toe in the water and stumble into the market. We’re ready.”

The Bank of Idaho’s target customers are small businesses, such as mom-and-pop companies, and commercial real estate, Newgard said.

“We can do big loans of $8 to $10 million, but our sweet spot is really $5 million and below,” he said. “We would love to do that all day long. We thought there’s a niche for us there.”

“We are a bank that is committed to growth in Idaho,” Newgard said. “We are charged up and ready to go. You’re going to see a lot of activity from us in the future.”

The speed of the expansion will be limited primarily by its ability to attract the right employees rather than by office space. “We can have a five-gallon bucket and a card table,” he said. “That matters a lot less than the people. We expand based on those relationships, the people who really fit our culture.”

The Boise branch will be the bank’s eighth. It is currently privately held.

“Today we are a subchapter S closely held bank,” he said, emphasizing the “today,” but saying he couldn’t elaborate.