Zions Bank creates North Idaho region

Sharon Fisher//May 15, 2019

Zions Bank creates North Idaho region

Sharon Fisher//May 15, 2019

photo of zions bank lewiston
Zions Bank’s administrative expansion into North Idaho may mean that the Lewiston branch, pictured here, could get company. Photo courtesy of Zions Bank.

Zions Bank has created a separate North Idaho region that could presage the bank’s expansion in the area.

Currently, the bank, which is based in Salt Lake City, has two branches in the region: Lewiston and Moscow.

That could change, though Steve Vieira, region president, wouldn’t give any specific details.

“Everything changes, right?” Vieira said. “There’s not a specific timeline set right now. Opportunities present themselves. This has put us in the position where those opportunities could be capitalized on much more quickly.”

photo of steve vieira
Steve Vieira

The new region basically covers anything in the Pacific time zone, which changes at Riggins, into Washington and possibly part of Oregon, at the nexus of the three states, Vieira said.

“At one time, different organizations called this the ‘tristate area,’” he said, adding that this was the first time that the northern part of the state had had its own administrative group.

The presenting issue for the move was the challenge in routing everything through the division headquarters in Boise, Vieira said.

“As the area grows and expands, and the bank grows with it, reporting through all the business lines to Boise gets to be an issue because of the time change and the distance,” he said.

It didn’t help when direct Lewiston-to-Boise flights ended, Vieira said.

“It was probably less of an issue before the airline schedule change,” he said. “It just made sense that we had an administrative center here. When decision-makers are five hours away, in a different time zone, that doesn’t speak well to community banking.”

Previously, Vieira was region president in the southern Utah region, based in St. George. In his current role, he’s primarily focusing on jumping through the hoops of setting up the administrative structure of the new, separate region, such as setting up the reporting lines for departments such as finance and human resources.

“I need to get everybody reporting where they’re supposed to report,” he said. “That’s the first order of business.”

Though Zions didn’t have a separate region in north Idaho before, it did already have an advisory board, Vieira said.

“All Zions Bank regions have boards of local business people,” he said. “I’ll be meeting them later in the spring to get input from them. We don’t need to create that, so it’s less of a transition than people might think.”

The primary emphasis for Zions in the region will continue to be focusing on small business loans and community organizations.

In addition, Vieira is continuing to participate in the Clearwater Economic Development Association, based in Lewiston.

“I’ve been an active member since the beginning,” he said. “A lot of it is ‘business as usual’ and a lot of it is ‘brave new world.’”