ABA Banking Journal - May/June 2016 - (Page 34)
> HEATHER MALCOLM
on the Range
A sixth-generation rancher and passionate ag lender, Montana's Heather
Malcolm is committed to cultivating the next generation of agriculture.
BY KARI BARBIC
anching isn't just another line of business to
Heather Malcolm: it's in her blood. "Agriculture
is what makes the world go 'round in my
opinion," says Malcolm. It's also the number one
industry in her home state, Montana. Malcolm
is vice president of ag lending and a commercial loan
officer at Bank of the Rockies in Livingston, Mont., and
a sixth-generation cattle rancher. Having grown up on
a ranch just outside of Livingston, Malcolm knows firsthand the unique challenges her rural customers face.
"It was very important to me to return to my community
and serve the people here," says Malcolm. She says her
ranching background has been helpful in connecting
to her farmer and rancher customers and building
trust. "If I can talk to them about the details of their
farms and ranches and understand the decisions
they're making each day, they're more accepting
of the relationship we're trying to build," she says.
"Farmers and ranchers know their businesses and
they can see right through someone who doesn't."
As the oldest bank in the state, Bank of the Rockies
has worked long and hard to build that kind of trust
throughout its branches. Locally owned and operated,
Bank of the Rockies has been helping Montana's
farmers and ranchers start up and keep their businesses
running strong for more than a century. Malcolm works
with a variety of farmer and rancher customers-
from traditional operations to specialty farm-to-table
businesses-helping them choose lending programs that
best fit their business models. Farmers and ranchers
depend on loan offerings that give them flexibility to
address their long- and short-term needs, such as lines
of credit, livestock and equipment term loans and ag
ABA BANKING JOURNAL | MAY/JUNE 2016
real estate loans. "Farm and ranch lending is not cookiecutter," says Malcolm. "Each operation is different and
I need to tailor the loan to fit the borrower's needs and
operation to give them the best chance at success."
Rancher customers like Casey Coulter depend on this
delicate balance of flexibility and reliability. "Farmers and
ranchers rely on even-keeled lenders with a consistent
credit philosophy. We need to know what to expect and
what our financial partner is thinking," says Coulter, a
cattle producer who's been working with Malcolm as
a customer at Bank of the Rockies for seven years.
Malcolm and her team understand the ins and outs of life
and work on the farm. "Heather has a great understanding
of agriculture-in all its facets," says Coulter. "As a loan
officer, you have to be available to contact almost any
time, and give an honest and educated opinion about
business deals-and that's just what she does."
Malcolm understands agriculture so well because she is
out in the field most days herself-in addition to her full
time work at the bank. She can be found most evenings
and weekends at her family's ranch, feeding cows and
doing chores alongside her nieces and nephews. "I
love seeing my nieces and nephews get out there and
learn how important agriculture is," she says. "They can
get their hands dirty and see all that goes into raising
a quality product." Malcolm has a real passion not just
for the agriculture industry but also for helping the next
generation of farmers and ranchers get their start.
Bank of the Rockies begins investing with tomorrow's
farmers and ranchers through Ag Youth Savings
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ABA Banking Journal - May/June 2016
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