First Interstate shuffles downtown Boise branches

Sharon Fisher//December 19, 2019

First Interstate shuffles downtown Boise branches

Sharon Fisher//December 19, 2019

photo of first interstate building
The ghostly image of the Idaho Independent Bank is still visible under the First Interstate logo. Photo by Sharon Fisher

In the continuing process of downtown Boise bank musical chairs, First Interstate Bank is moving its downtown branch to Pioneer Crossing in January.

First Interstate had already decided to move its downtown Boise branch from 9th and Idaho Streets, in the former First Security Bank building, to the Pioneer Crossing development at Myrtle and 13th Streets, and made plans to shut down that branch.

photo of jeff huhn
Jeff Huhn

“It’s part of the path of progress for downtown,” said Jeff Huhn, Boise metro market president, who added First Interstate is financing the building.

The move gives the bank a more modern building, with lighter colors and a more open layout that allows for increased collaboration, he said. In addition, it has better parking and a better experience for both employees and customers, he said.

photo of lorri asker
Lorrie Asker

“Parking is a challenge in downtown, and it affords them nice, covered parking,” said Lorrie Asker, regional president for Idaho and eastern Washington.

First Interstate was the first tenant announced for the five-story, 120,000-square-foot office building. Rob Perez, regional president at the time, said the bank would occupy about 15,000 square feet on the second floor along with a ground floor bank branch.

The new branch will also feature more staff and services, particularly by adding a wealth management staffer to the Pioneer Crossing office, Huhn said.

Musical branches

In the meantime, in October 2018, First Interstate announced it was acquiring Idaho Independent Bank, based in Coeur d’Alene, as well as Community 1st Bank, based in Post Falls. Idaho Independent Bank had its own branch in downtown Boise on the ground floor of 401 Front St., plus office space on the second floor. Those acquisitions were finalized on April 8.

The 9th & Idaho St. branch was already shut down, but the Pioneer Crossing one wasn’t ready yet, so First Interstate moved its downtown Boise branch to the Idaho Independent Bank location. (Meanwhile, Mountain West Bank moved its branch from the Hoff Building at 8th and Bannock to the 9th & Idaho St. location.)

Now that the Pioneer Crossing branch is done, First Interstate has scheduled the move of both the branch and all of its staffers in its second-floor offices to the new facility, where it is leasing part of the ground floor and part of the second floor, for Jan. 13, Huhn said. It has also scheduled the closing of the 401 Front St. branch.

“This branch will consolidate into that branch on Feb. 17,” he said.

The bank’s 9th and Jefferson branch remains unchanged.

When First Interstate announced the acquisition of the two banks, President and CEO Kevin Riley had indicated there was some overlap, particularly in Boise and Coeur d’Alene and had predicted then some branches would be closed.

But when all is said and done, not a lot will actually be changing, Huhn said.

“We’ll still have two branches in Boise,” he said. “We had one before (the acquisition). Now we’ll have two.”

 Renovating branches

In addition to building the new branch, First Interstate is also investing in remodeling some of its other existing branches in the Treasure Valley as well, Huhn said. That includes a remodel of the second floor of the West Overland branch in Boise, a remodel of the Nampa branch and some work on the branches in Garden City and the other downtown branch at 9th and Jefferson Streets, he said.

The renovation will primarily consist of painting and redecoration rather than a major reconstruction, Huhn said.

“The second floor of West Overland was a very dark space,” he said. “We lightened it up and painted the walls. We’re not moving walls.”

What will happen to the 401 Front St. space, which First Interstate owns, and on which the ghostly lettering of “Idaho Independent Bank” is still visible, is unclear at this point.

“I’m guessing we’re going to put it on the market,” Huhn said.