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First Western Bank & Trust

Where Borrowers Are Neighbors – Not Consumers

At this time of year, I think of the bears now groggily emerging from their dens. Having spent months enveloped in snow and night, they take deep, mighty sniffs of their thawing surroundings and become thrilled by nature’s golden-green promises. Raspberries. Hazelnuts. Unattended picnic baskets. A veritable cornucopia of opportunity awaits every bear who would casually lumber toward it.

Spring strikes similar feelings of anticipation into human hearts, too, though it takes more than fruits, nuts and ham sandwiches to stir us. This is when we get excited about remodeling our homes – or, barring that, moving into new homes that are already perfect just as they are. This is also when we get excited by the prospects of new vehicles: not just the utilitarian things that carry us from A to B, but boats and motorcycles and convertibles and RVs and other gas-powered instruments of pleasure.

The bears have it easy. The objects of their desire grow on trees. But we haven’t got it all that bad, either. The things we want are just within reach thanks to First Western Bank & Trust.

First Western occupies a rare niche in the banking world. Their $2.2 billion in assets and 19 locations across Minnesota and the Dakotas rightly classify them as a juggernaut. At the same time, First Western hasn’t abandoned the personal, methodical service they have built their name on since 1964. They are a big small bank, and they offer every loan you could need to seize the spring.

“We offer consumer loans, although we don’t believe the word ‘consumer’ accurately reflects the way we feel about our clients,” said David Thompson, market president for First Western’s Eden Prairie branch. “Really, they are our neighbors, and we’re honored to provide the loans they need to enjoy more comfortable and rewarding lifestyles while simultaneously propelling our local economy forward.”

“First Western has always revolved around relationships,” said Peter Haugen, consumer lending officer. “Everything we do is in service of forging long-lasting partnerships with the people we’re so honored to assist. For instance, suppose you come to us because you would like to take out a HELOC to remodel your home. We’ll help you understand whether that type of cash-out refinance is suitable for your unique circumstances. We’ll complete your credit approval in as little as one business day. And because we have the authority to approve every loan we issue on-site, we’ll most likely fund yours within a couple of weeks.

“Whether you need it for work or want it for pleasure, we’ll make your upcoming vehicle purchase truly quick and painless. We recently welcomed a client whose car lease was due to expire in only three days. That’s all the time we needed to process his application, approve his loan, and deliver the cash to pay off his lease. Just like that – bam – zero interruption to his livelihood. It’s a testament to the power of local decision-making.”

“Our process also simplifies long-term financial planning,” added Meghan Carlson, universal banking supervisor. “We offer a number of CDs with term lengths ranging from six months to five years. The Federal Reserve is expected to begin cutting rates this summer, which makes now a highly opportune time to invest in CDs. And if you’re taking a more forward-thinking approach to preparing for your retirement, our traditional and Roth IRAs are both available to help you reach your goals sooner.”

“Now that mortgage rates are slowly trending downward, we expect this summer to become more attractive for homebuyers,” said David. “We are actively helping our clients by providing every type of home loan, including conventional, fixed-rate, adjustable-rate, VA, USDA, FHA, FHLB and more. We compete on the basis of this broad product offering, as well as superior customer service. For example, one of our clients recently ran into a last-minute hurdle because he hadn’t received a septic certificate prior to closing. Rather than let his deal go sour, one of our representatives drove to the county registrar where they confirmed that the certificate wasn’t actually required. We delivered the good news two hours before closing.

“Added steps like those may take extra effort, but they are inseparable from our mission: to serve as the true community bank of Eden Prairie, where our clients’ needs always – and only – come first.”

Celebrating 60 Years of Community Banking

2024 proudly marks the 60th anniversary of First Western Bank & Trust and commemorates six decades of commitment to the communities that First Western serves. Established in 1964, First Western has developed into a trusted financial institution with a legacy of service and community involvement.

From its founding, First Western has been driven by the principles established by Mr. J.H. “Jack” Hoeven. These core values are centered on delivering the best in customer service, working hand in hand with customers to help them find the best banking solutions for their needs, and giving back to the communities they serve with charitable donations, volunteer work and sponsorships.

"While we celebrate 60 years of banking in 2024, we recognize that our story is defined by the relationships we've built within the communities we serve," said President and CEO Brenda K. Foster. "Our success is a direct result of the trust and support we've received from our customers and neighbors."

First Western has locations in North Dakota, Minnesota and South Dakota. Over the years, in addition to banking, First Western has expanded its portfolio to include a trust department, First Western Insurance, and a leasing division known as First Western Equipment Finance.

Today, Mr. Hoeven's legacy remains alive and well. The bank strives to create a positive and professional work environment, fostering internal growth opportunities for its valued employees. First Western stands as a testament to innovation, consistently seeking to be an industry leader by providing the best products, services and banking tools.

Looking ahead, First Western remains dedicated to its founding principles and is committed to serving its customers, employees and communities with integrity, innovation, and unwavering dedication for many years to come.

If you have any need for First Western Bank & Trust’s industry-leading expertise on all financial matters, then you are welcome to meet with their team in person at 100 Prairie Center Drive in Eden Prairie. You may also speak with the bankers by calling (952) 516-7300, or learn more online by visiting

  • David Thompson, Market President
  • Meghan Carlson, Universal Banking Supervisor
  • Peter Haugen, Consumer Lending Officer
  • Brenda K. Foster, President and CEO

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