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Why you should be banking with Idaho First Bank


A small bank in Boise with great personal investment in their customers and borrowers

When looking at a specific urban area, we often find banking trends that shape the lending landscape. For example, a large bank has bought most smaller banks in the area, or a city has many church and employee credit unions. Sometimes we can understand why the pattern developed, but other times, it’s much harder to know why some cities have a multitude of Better Banking Options when others seem to have none.

Boise, Idaho, is one of those cities with a lot of credit unions, many of which serve specific congregations or corporate employees. However, credit unions are not required to report on their lending to the extent that banks are, and none of the credit unions in the Boise area actively promote their community banking online, if they’re doing any. Therefore, our official recommendations for Better Banking in Boise are Banner Bank, which we did a recent profile on, or if you’re looking for a smaller bank, Idaho First.

With five branches, two being in Boise, Idaho First is a solid banking choice for anyone looking to invest in communities in Idaho. On their website, they emphasize the importance of personal relationships with their customers, and although they are new--established in 2005--they’ve shown their commitment to the unique needs of the area by investing in various community programs. They were also recently named a preferred lender by the Small Business Association.

They’re definitely a locally-focused bank, with assets of less than $200 million, and are effectively loaned out with a net-loans-to-deposits ratio of 91%. About 30% of the lending portfolio goes to housing loans, with 42% of this going to low- and moderate-income housing. They also do a large amount of small business lending, with it making up about a quarter of their lending. Although they did have a negative return on assets in their last evaluation period, they have a Satisfactory CRA rating, showing that they’re a solid banking choice in the Boise area.

Though small, they offer both online and mobile banking options. They have open eligibility, so it’s a Better Banking Option for anyone looking to invest in communities in the Boise area. Check out their website here.

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