December Business of the Month – First Interstate Bank
Walking into the Laramie branch of First Interstate Bank on any given day you will probably hear laughter. If you don’t hear laughter, maybe it’s because Market President Gary Negich isn’t in that day, or perhaps you weren’t listening closely enough.
“I like to make people laugh and I like to have fun,” said Negich.
Negich and Vice President Mike Peck admit there is a unique culture inside the bank from day to day. It spans generations and comes from strong leadership within the bank.
“We’re all friends,” said Negich.
They both agreed that inside the bank is friendly, and outside of the bank they are friends with other financial leaders.
These friendships might come from the community involvement First Interstate Bank is deeply rooted in.
“We believe that by being in the community we make that community stronger, which allows us to be stronger,” said Peck.
The staff of 23 has logged about 3,000 hours of community involvement over the past year. Also, it is not uncommon to see the First Interstate Bank in a sponsor role of events around town.
“You really got to give back,” said Negich. “There’s the old adage that you have to give time or money and we try to do both a lot.”
Places FIB puts its time and money vary, however Negich said him, Peck and staff try to pin point areas that need it most. The Important places include the Laramie Chamber Business Alliance, things at the university, and some of the non-profits like hospice and the senior center.
“Mike’s the chairman of the board of United Way,” continued Negich. “Now, that gives you a really good feel for what’s happening in the community.”
The Laramie branch believes strongly in economic development as well.
Negich said he was involved in Laramie Economic Development Corporation before the merger with the chamber, since 1986 to be exact. After serving on the LEDC board for several years and being board president for two years, Negich served on the Wyoming Business Council for six years. Since that involvement, Negich has passed the torch to Peck.
“Mike’s the big dog now,” said Negich.
Peck is involved in economic development primarily through the Laramie Chamber Business Alliance now, but it is nothing new and not his only involvement in the sector.
“I am past chairman of Laramie Economic Development [corporation],” said Peck. “I’m also on the advisory board for the Wyoming Technology Business Center.”
Negich added that Peck is on the advisory board for the college of business as well.
When Peck was asked how many boards and committees he was on, he laughed and responded with “I don’t know.”
He admitted that he’s currently serving on five and Negich said his peak of involvement was nine.
“It’s important because we take leadership roles, we don’t just get to phone it in. And we’re active,” added Peck.
Negich said the involvement is encouraged and it is actually in staffs’ performance review.
“That’s mostly for the officers,” added Negich, “but we do encourage the non-officers to be involved, and they are.”
LCBA Vice President of Membership Josie Molloy confirms that the bank lives up to Negich’s and Peck’s statements.
“They are a huge part of the community,” said Molloy, “They are instrumental in Laramie’s progression and development. Any committee or board I’m involved in, I usually see a staff member of First Interstate there.”
First Interstate Bank has been a long-standing member of the Laramie Chamber Business Alliance and was previously members of both the Laramie Economic Development Corporation and Laramie Area Chamber of Commerce.
Molloy said that each LCBA committee has at least one member from FIB active and has been a member for several decades.
“We believe in a strong community, we believe that LCBA is a way for us to ensure that continues,” said Peck.
Learn more about First Interstate Bank on its website or stop in at the downtown location at 221 E Ivinson St.