Come see our new Phoenix bank home

By: Larry J. Dewhirst, Arizona Regional President
First International Bank & Trust, Member FDIC

Our combination of Midwestern values and southwestern style has helped us serve customers well from our three Arizona bank offices. Now, we have a new Phoenix bank location on Camelback Road. We provide all our services from this Phoenix location, from our expertise in Trust and Wealth Management to 24-hour ATMs. Our new location is near the headquarters of several major U.S. companies, so we’re easily accessible to their employees. Interestingly, one of our other neighbors is the Arizona office of U.S. Senator John McCain.


Midwestern roots, southwestern style

This new location reflects our bank’s roots—and future. Here’s what I mean: I grew up in Grassy Butte, N.D., and worked in our Watford City bank location for many years. Those same values are the foundation of our Arizona bank services. Yet we’ve incorporated the needs of our Arizona customers to our locations here. We have ample space for our customers to meet with our bankers about their financial plans, officers with particular expertise in Trust and Wealth Management, Special Needs Trusts (read the recent blog by Bridget about this unique type of trust account), Investments and Insurance. Since summer in Arizona is like winter in North Dakota, where you don’t want to be outside too long, we have convenient parking and easily accessible ATMs.

Celebrate with us

Here are the details of our Grand Opening:

July 25
Open house: 11 a.m.- 2 p.m.
2231 East Camelback Road

We’ll serve picnic-style lunch and refreshments, and we’ll have free gifts and tours available. You can also enter to win door prizes and an iPad mini!

Please join us if you can. Or, stop in when you’re in the Camelback area. We’re excited to show you our new space, and especially eager to serve you.

Larry has been in financial services since 1977, when he started his career with Farm Credit Services. He’s helped First International Bank & Trust customers, specially with their loan needs, since 1987. He and his wife of 43 years, Pat, have three adult married children and four grandchildren, who are spread out in Minnesota, Texas and Colorado. Away from the bank, Larry enjoys hiking, exploring old mines, fast cars–and cheering on those grandkids in their sports and other action.


What is a special needs trust? Do I need it?

By: Bridget O’Brien Swartz, Esq., Vice President and Sr. Trust Officer, Camelback, Ariz. branch, First International Bank & Trust

If you have a family member or loved one with special needs and/or a disability, you understand the importance of special care and careful planning. To protect and not jeopardize government benefits, consider setting up a special needs trust. More on special needs trust services.

Defining a special needs trust

First, “special needs trust” is a broad term. This type of trust account may also be called a “supplemental trust,” “discretionary supplemental care trust”, or, in Arizona (if self-settled), “special treatment trust.”

How a supplemental trust account helps

This trust allows you to set aside money or property for the benefit of a beneficiary with disabilities/special needs. Without it, that person could lose his or her eligibility for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Medicaid benefits. A special needs trust, whether one that stands alone or is incorporated into your will, allows you to avoid some of these potential problems.

How a special needs trust works

Basically, you are leaving property or money to a special needs trust, where it benefits your loved one. The trust is typically managed by an independent third party, which may be a family member, friend or professional trustee. He or she has complete discretion over the trust and is in charge of spending the money on behalf of your loved one.

Benefits for basic care

The primary purpose of establishing a special needs trust is to enable the beneficiary to remain eligible for needs-based public benefits, while having funds available to supplement the benefits that the government is providing and enhancing the beneficiary’s quality of life.

In most instances, public benefits are not enough to provide for an individual’s basic support needs let alone those needs that are not covered or provided for by public benefits.

Since your loved one does not control the money, it is not treated as part of program eligibility according to SSI and Medicaid administrators. The trust ends when it is no longer needed, usually when the beneficiary passes away or when the trust funds have been used.

Critical details

An important distinction in a special needs trust is whether it is a first or third party trust. 

Next up

Our next blog post will be a more in-depth discussion of the distinction between and treatment of first vs. third party special needs trusts.

Bridget O’Brien SwartzBridget is originally from Duluth, Minnesota, earned her undergraduate degree from Notre Dame, then and her law degree as well as a Masters in Public Administration from ASU.  She has been a specialist in Estate & Trust Law certified by the State Bar of Arizona and a Certified Elder Law Attorney certified by the National Elder Law Foundation.  She remains actively involved in national attorney organizations such as National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys and the Special Needs Alliance.


A bank on the other bank

By: Keith Coalwell, Vice President & Branch Manager, Moorhead
First International Bank & Trust, Member FDIC

We’ve always had a healthy presence in Moorhead, serving many customers in business, personal and agricultural banking, plus mortgage, investments, real estate and trust/wealth management services.

Moorhead First International Bank & Trust

Now we’re right here
This week, our refreshed location in Moorhead celebrates its Grand Opening! We’re proud to officially be part of the Moorhead landscape, and we’ll offer all financial services right from our new location. We have experts from most areas right in our offices, or we will make arrangements to get you connected with the bankers and financial professionals you need.

Moorhead First International Bank & Trust

Celebrate with us
Here are the details of our Grand Opening:

June 18
Open house: 10 a.m.- 4 p.m.
Ribbon-cutting:  10 a.m.
800 30th Avenue South

We’ll be having picnic-style food, and we’ll have free gifts and tours available.

Please join us if you can. Or, stop in when you’re on our bank of the river. We’re excited to show you our new space, and especially eager to serve you.

Keith Coalwell, Vice President & Branch Manager, MoorheadKeith Coalwell is a Vice President and Moorhead Branch Manager.  He graduated from North Dakota State University in 1991. In his time away from work he enjoys spending time at the lake with his wife Michelle, children Danielle, Lexie and Drew and granddaughter Camille.

Why are home insurance rates up? What can I do about it?

By: Dan Toy, Vice President and Insurance Manager of First International Insurance

First International Insurance and its independent agents are separate from our banking, investment and other services, yet the insights affect the overall financial health of individuals and families, so we’re sharing some timely insurance information here. 

If your home and/or property insurance rates have gone up, you’re not alone. And, yes, you can get the coverage you need for reasonable rates.

First, understand that rates are up partly because insurance companies are paying out more in claims due to severe weather and related disasters.

In fact, the Insurance Information Institute explains that events like “hurricane Irene, the Joplin tornado that was the single biggest insurance event in Missouri history, and widespread winter storms, tornadoes and flooding have made the past decade one of the costliest in terms of natural disasters in U.S. history.

“Since insurance companies bear a large portion of that cost, it only makes sense that they may need to charge higher premiums to pay for all the claims they’ve been receiving.”

We’ve also seen many insurance companies require packages for coverage, too, instead of covering just a home, or just an automobile.

Lower costs, upgrade coverage
It is possible that you could lower your home insurance costs and upgrade your coverage. Here are key areas we consider:

Home Insurance

House – Replacement cost vs. market value
How much home insurance should you have? When you buy a house, the mortgage holder generally requires you to insure it prior to closing. Most consumers assume the amount of dwelling coverage will be equal to what they paid for their house. In some cases, this is incorrect.

Insurance companies don’t care about market value, which is what your house is actually worth. Insurance companies use the replacement cost value, which is what it would cost to rebuild your house in the same spot, same size and same quality of construction, at today’s costs. For instance, an older home in a rural community may have a market value of $120,000, but the exact house in a nice suburb may have a market value of $380,000. However, the cost to rebuild the house is the same in either location. Your insurance should cover the house for the full replacement value. Think of it this way: your insurance company will pay you to build a new home, not buy one down the street. Another consideration: Most of a lake home’s value is in the land; not the actual house on it.

For insurance purposes, insure your home to 100% of its replacement cost. We’ll help you do this—and revise it as you make home improvements, additions or other enhancements that change the replacement cost of your home. (Bonus: these typically also increase your market value. But remember, we’re not so concerned about that!)

Stuff – Replacement cost vs. cash value
This applies to pretty much everything in your house. Payment based on the replacement cost is usually the most favorable figure from your point of view, because you receive the actual cost to replace the property. For example, if your TV is stolen or destroyed, a replacement cost policy reimburses you the full cost of replacing it with a new TV (even if yours was outdated).

Specials – Jewelry, oriental rugs, home office equipment and of course WATER
Some items in your home have additional value that requires a rider, or mini-insurance policy for protection. Things like valuable jewelry, oriental rugs and home office equipment. We’ll help you find a reasonable rider for these items.

And when it comes to home insurance, if you have your basement/lower level finished, you should have separate water backup coverage in case of leaks, sump pump failure or, on another level, water damage to your roof. This is also a rider. Flood insurance, however, requires coverage through a national program—we can steer you in the right direction for that.

Activity – Home injuries covered
What if a neighbor falls at your house and hurts his back? Or a neighborhood child slips in your driveway and injures her ankle? A standard component of most home insurance policies is medical payment coverage. It covers medical costs if, heaven forbid, someone is injured on your property (and does not sue you). The typical coverage is $1,000, which doesn’t stretch very far these days, so it’s a good idea to increase that coverage to $5,000 or $7,000.


We shop, you save
We’re independent agents, and we have close working relationships with dozens of insurance companies, so we can provide exactly the coverage you need—nothing you don’t—at rates that fit your other financial goals.

Three-year checkup
Since the core idea of home insurance is to protect what you do have at rates you can afford, it’s a good idea to have a home insurance, or habitational insurance, check-up at least every three years—or if you get married, have a child, start a business or have another significant life change.

It’s a painless checkup, we promise, that just may save you money. Call us at (701) 293-5910, and we’ll find the right representative to fit your needs, whether we’re helping you with insurance now or you’d like to consider working with us. We look forward to bringing you peace of mind—that’s when we know we’ve succeeded!

See more about our insurance services.

Dan Toy - First International Bank InsuranceDan Toy served 20 years in the US Army before launching a second career in insurance. While in the military, he earned an Associate in Arts degree from Campbell University, a Bachelor in Science in Business Administration from Franklin University, and a Masters in Business Administration from Touro University. He currently works at First International Insurance as the Insurance Manager. In his free time, Dan enjoys golf and traveling. He and his wife, Amy, consider London one of their favorite destinations.

Who can you trust to manage your mineral rights?

By: Adam Natwick, Trust Department
First International Bank & Trust

What you do today makes a big difference tomorrow.

This is perhaps most important with mineral rights management. Amidst the current Bakken Formation oil exploration and development in the Williston Basin, many landowners now face the issue of how to handle mineral rights.

Several years ago, I was working in oil and gas operations for a China-based company that had operations in North Dakota. I worked in both countries, and now I’m very glad to be back home in Williston. As it turns out, my oil and gas experience has fueled our bank’s mineral rights and land services, just as that area has grown very fast. It’s a fascinating area and we are proud to confidentially help people here navigate the details and capitalize on their mineral ownership.

Here are some guidelines for mineral rights and land services:

Land & Mineral Services

What are mineral rights?
In these cases, the minerals are oil and gas that can be extracted from the land. If you own mineral rights in western North Dakota or Eastern Montana, the chances are you’ve got oil! You also most likely have interest from oil and gas exploration companies looking to develop these minerals into a producing commodity, either by leasing your minerals or through a participation agreement.

We’re helping people who are existing First International Bank and Trust customers, and we’re working with new customers. We’re guiding friends and neighbors, and we’re assisting people who live around the world but own land in this area. We now manage more than 20,000 mineral acres.

If you have mineral rights
First of all, don’t sign anything without meeting with a mineral manager like me or someone on our team. We consistently help individuals who have agreed to documentation prepared back in the 1950s or 1980s that may not have their best interests in mind. There are many factors that can come in to play and throughout my mineral management expertise, I have successfully negotiated in excess of 500 oil and gas leases.

Minerals as investments
As with other investments, we’ll help you analyze how to handle your mineral rights. Depending on your age, occupation and especially your financial goals, we’ll help create a plan to utilize your rights to meet your goals and leave a legacy for future generations. This may include wealth management and estate planning.

They’re your rights
We focus on mineral rights and land services specific to you, and our plans help:
- Prepare you and your family to successfully manage your resources
- Protect against avoidable taxes now and in the future
- Provide financial resources for your lifetime and for your kids and their kids

We’ll take care of it
There are many unique nuances of mineral and land services, and we can help you handle them all. We will:

- Negotiate your lease(s)
- Collect revenue
- Convert and sort royalty checks into meaningful data
- Prepare income/production history to your specs (by well, product, producer, time period)
- Simplify tax reporting
- Consult on various ownership strategies i.e. Mineral Trust, LLLP, LLC

Only online tool in 1,500 miles
We have some customers who simply want one statement each year; others use our exclusive online management tools. In fact, we’re the only financial institution within 1,500-mile radius that has a secure, dedicated website for our mineral and land services. This convenient site gives customers 24/7, user-friendly access to Income and disbursement reports, mineral production and price graphs and custom maps of personal mineral holdings and wells

The right moves
If you have mineral rights or are looking for someone to review your current land services lease, royalty and ownership details, we’re eager to share our expertise with you. Call or stop in for a confidential conversation. Together, we’ll ensure you’re managing your mineral rights exactly right for you.

Adam Natwick, Trust Department  First International Bank & Trust, Member FDIC

A native of Williston, Adam earned his bachelor’s degree from Dickinson State University, then spent years gaining oilfield experience in the Williston Basin, plus in China and other international venues. He has more than three years experience in trust and more than seven years in financial management experience. Now working through the intense, two-year program to become a Certified Mineral Manager, Adam focuses on mineral and land services, as well as mineral trust, mineral agency and partnership areas.


Three’s a charm with our Williston banks

By Glendon Olson, Williston President, First International Bank & Trust, Member FDIC

As Williston grows and expands at an amazing pace, we’re proud to open our third location: this one is at the intersection of 9th Avenue and West Dakota Parkway. We think it’s also a perfect time to celebrate our 103rd year in business!

You’re invited to celebrate our Grand Opening and 103rd Anniversary. Here are the details:

May 10

Open house: 10 a.m.- 4 p.m.

Ribbon-cutting:  11 a.m.

1331 9th Ave. NW

We’ll serve cookies, cake and coffee, and we’ll have free gifts and tours available.

Sneak peek

Here’s peek inside our new Williston bank location:

Williston First International Bank & Trust Williston Branch Fireplace

Six years in the making

The Grand Opening is almost exactly one year from our ground-breaking for the new Williston bank, but our expansion plans actually began in 2006. At that time, we considered remodeling our downtown location to accommodate our growth, but we opted to build this new bank. As it turns out, the timing was perfect. Some estimates say Williston’s population may double in the next few years.

We’re ready

Our office spaces and especially our staff members are perfectly positioned to handle all this new growth, both in terms of taking care of existing customers and serving new ones with all our banking, trust, insurance and investment services.

Williston Branch Exterior

Of course, our other two locations will remain open. Existing customers will notice familiar faces at all our Williston banks, along with some new tellers, loan officers, investment and insurance representatives and support staff members. It’s exciting to welcome new members to our teams.

Please join our Grand Opening on May 10 if you can. Or, stop in when you’re nearby. We’re excited to share our new space, and especially eager to serve you.

Glendon Olson Glendon Olson is the Williston President and has worked for First International Bank & Trust since 1991. He graduated from North Dakota State University in Fargo. When he’s away from work he enjoys hunting, fishing and spending time with his wife and two children.

Our Minot bank is back where it belongs

By John Drady, Minot President & Western North Dakota Market Manager
First International Bank & Trust, Member FDIC

I’ve had a date circled on my calendar for many months; March 25, 2013. That’s the Grand (Re-) Opening of our Minot bank location in the Arrowhead neighborhood.

In June 2011, the Souris River flooded this beautiful city so many of us proudly call home. Nine employees at First International Bank & Trust in Minot lost their homes in the flood. Many of our friends, neighbors, customers and other Minot businesses were deeply impacted by the devastation. Even more people continue to help us all recover. We’re grateful, and we’re proud to be back.

Minot Flood

Even in the midst of the Minot flood, there was never any question that we would rebuild in this neighborhood. Our strong commitment to the neighborhood drove our plans, construction and now we get to celebrate the actual opening.

We’ve operated out of a temporary facility in Arrowhead while we rebuilt our bank. The new location actually is more visible, and you’ll notice some nice additions inside and out to help us better take care of our customers.


A second circle we invite you to join

I also have April 18 circled on my calendar, and I hope you will, too. That’s when our new Minot office will host their Grand Re-opening Celebration as well as Chamber of Commerce’s Business After Hours. We’re eager to show you our new space and hear how you, your business and especially your family is doing in your own Minot flood recovery.

We’re also adding a third location in Williston, and we’ll let you know the celebration dates for that Grand Opening, too.

Meanwhile, we appreciate your support during this time of transition, and we look forward to seeing you—and serving you—soon. Take care!

John DradyEHL LogoJohn Drady is the Minot President and Western North Dakota Market Manager. He’s been with First International Bank & Trust since June 1994. When he’s away from work he enjoys spending time with his wife Julia and his children, Jessica & Joshua.