Monthly Archives: April 2018

What Sets Community Banks Apart

What Sets Community Banks Apart

  • Local Focus: Unlike larger banks that may take deposits in one state and lend in others, community banks channel their loans to the neighborhoods in which their depositors live and work, which helps local businesses and communities thrive.
  • Relationship Banking: Community bank officers know their customers and may consider family history and discretionary spending in making loans. Loan officers at megabanks apply impersonal qualification criteria, such as credit scoring, without regard to individual circumstances.
  • Provide Innovative Solutions: Community bankers also work hand in hand with customers to ensure they have access to the best innovations possible to meet their needs–such as the most secure, reliable and convenient payment options.
  • Lending Leadership to Small Business: According to the Federal Reserve’s 2016 Small Business Credit Survey: Report on Employer Firms, community banks are the small-business lender of choice.
  • Timely Decision-Making: Community banks offer nimble decision-making on business loans because decisions are made locally. Megabanks must often convene loan-approval committees that are located in another state, far away from their customers.
  • Community Engagement and Accessibility: Community bank officers are typically deeply involved in their local communities, while megabank officers are often detached from the communities where their branches are located.
  • Focus on Main Street: As local small businesses themselves, community banks only thrive when their customers and communities flourish. They answer to Main Street. Megabanks are driven by shareholder value and answer to Wall Street.

Information taken from

Kotapay Logo


First International Bank & Trust
Acquires InterceptEFT
And Looks Forward To
Growth and Increased Value

Announces InterceptEFT is Becoming Kotapay with Transition

[FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 3, 2018 | Fargo, ND] – On April 2, 2018, North Dakota based, First International Bank & Trust closed on the acquisition of leading electronic payments processor, InterceptEFT.

"Today begins a new era for our company,” said Stephen L. Stenehjem, CEO and Chairman of First International Bank & Trust.

“Today, we become a critical behind-the-scenes partner for over 74,000 companies nationwide as we ensure payments reach their intended destinations. I’m looking forward to the synergies that will be formed to create a wider array of offerings for customers of InterceptEFT and First International Bank & Trust.”

InterceptEFT, founded in 1993 and based in Fargo, ND, has been a leading electronic payments processor serving companies throughout the United States. All employees, including local owners, Craig Dresser and Bryan Smith plan to continue with the merged company and are committed to helping this partnership succeed.

“I am excited for what this partnership will do for our customers,” said Craig Dresser, CEO of InterceptEFT. “Being a part of First International Bank & Trust means that we are backed by the security and soundness of a regulated high-performing bank giving our customers more peace of mind.  It allows us to expand our product and service offerings, increase our fraud detection and prevention measures and create a more streamlined and efficient operation.”

Bryan Smith, President of InterceptEFT further explains, “It was important for us to find a partner that would also be a good match culturally for our employees and our customers. We have built a strong reputation for high service levels, expertise and reliability for handling over 50 million electronic transactions annually. I’m confident that the value to our customers will increase due to this partnership.”

First International Bank & Trust understands the powerful engine of electronic payment processing and the important role it plays in the business economy. Recently, they received certification from the Third Party Payment Processor’s Association (TPPPA) for their Compliance Management System, making them the first TPPPA member bank in the nation to hold this designation.

The Bank further announced plans to-rebrand InterceptEFT as Kotapay. “We are embracing this new beginning with a new name,” said Peter Stenehjem, President of First International Bank & Trust. “We chose a name that connects with our region as two successful companies based in North Dakota and serves us well for future growth and development within the payments industry.”

For existing InterceptEFT customers, it will be ‘business as usual with no disruption in service while leadership works together on plans for future growth.


First International Bank & Trust is owned by Watford City Bancshares, Inc., which is owned by the Stenehjem family. First International Bank & Trust is a full service, independent community bank, a member of FDIC and an equal housing lender. First International Bank & Trust has been in business since 1910 and today operates 27 locations in North Dakota, Minnesota and Arizona. More information about the company can be found at

InterceptEFT, located in Fargo, ND, offers electronic transaction services including direct deposit, direct payment, credit card processing and ACH Management/Origination software for financial institutions. Since 1993, InterceptEFT has been a leading ACH and credit card processing provider serving over 74,000 customers coast-to-coast. For more information, visit

4th Annual Live First Community Grant Program Announced

4th Annual Live First Community Grant Program Announced

Apply & Vote for the 4th Annual Live First Community Grant!

Do you have an idea that would benefit your community?

Every day we work to help our customers Live First. We strive to provide convenient services that meet all of your banking needs, so that you can spend more time focusing on the things that matter, like family and community.

We value the communities in which we live, work and play in – and we know you do too! That’s why we are inviting you to apply for our Live First Community Grant, which awards up to $5,000 to a project or cause that makes a difference in your community.

Many of our customers and community members are already actively involved with great causes that could qualify for the Live First Community Grant. Ideas could include:

  • Volunteering and buying supplies for a food bank

  • Updating playground equipment at a community park

  • Starting a community garden for growing vegetables

  • Purchasing a new piano for your local theater program

You can see our winners from last year here!

How to Apply

If your organization is interested in applying for a Live First Community Grant, please provide the following information:The name of the organization

  • A description of the organization.

  • A photo that represents the project or cause. This can be anything that captures the spirit of your idea that people will see when they vote!

  • A description of the project or cause. How will the grant benefit the organization and the community? Be specific!

Click here to apply between Wednesday, April 4, 2018 and Wednesday, April 25, 2018 at 11:59 AM CT for instructions to submit your application and to see the Official Rules.

Applicants –visit the First International Bank & Trust Facebook page during the voting period and share your entry any time you want to remind your friends to vote. Just click View entries, find your own entry and then Share. Don’t forget to spread the word! You can share on Social Media, send emails and ask your friends to do the same!

How to Vote

Click here to vote if you are interested in voting for an organization that applied for the Live First Community Grant between Wednesday, April 25, 2018 at 12:00 PM CT and Wednesday, May 9, 2018. Here you will see each organization that applied.

Please feel free to like, share and promote the Live First Community Grant program on First International Bank & Trust’s Facebook page as we know many of our customers and community members are actively involved with non-profit organizations throughout our community.

How Winners are Selected

Our team at First International Bank & Trust, led by President Peter Stenehjem, will select one organization that will be awarded $5,000 that we feel will make a great impact on our community. Three runner-up grants of $1,000 each will also be awarded based on the most votes from FIB&T social media fans.

Good Luck!

Best of luck to all applicants – we look forward to hearing your ideas!

First International Bank & Trust, Member FDIC, Equal Housing Lender