First Western Bank & Trust, through parent company Westbrand, Inc., announces acquisition of BlackRidgeBANK

First Western Bank & Trust’s holding company, Westbrand, Inc., and BlackRidge Financial, Inc., the holding company of BlackRidgeBANK, today announced they have entered into an agreement where Westbrand, Inc. will acquire BlackRidge Financial, Inc.

The transaction is pending regulatory approval and is expected to close sometime during the fourth quarter of 2019. Upon completion of the transaction, the operations of First Western Bank & Trust and BlackRidgeBANK shall initially remain independent, but expect to be merged under the First Western Bank & Trust name in the first quarter of 2020.

“First Western Bank & Trust is excited to announce this partnership of two great community banks, with a combined footprint extending from Minot to Minneapolis,” says First Western Bank & Trust President and CEO Brenda Foster. “BlackRidgeBANK is a very well-respected banking organization,” Foster says. “Our two teams have similar cultures, a focus on superior customer service and a deep commitment to our clients and communities.”

Combined, the banks will have assets of nearly $1.7 billion, with more than 300 employees at 15 different locations in 11 communities across North Dakota and Minnesota, including Minot, Bismarck, Fargo and West Fargo in North Dakota, as well as Alexandria, Carlos, Miltona, Baxter, Crosslake, Nisswa and Eden Prairie/Minneapolis, in Minnesota.

“By partnering with First Western Bank & Trust, we access the strength and leverage of a larger financial institution with broad and complementary activities. This positions us for an even more dynamic client-centric future,” says BlackRidgeBANK President and CEO Mark Anderson. “The inherent strengths in this combination will provide our clients access to a wider array of solutions, drawing on an expanded team of banking professionals, which will notably enhance the growth opportunities for members of our team while further enhancing our market capabilities.”

The financial institutions will provide a full range of financial solutions, such as business banking, consumer banking, ag banking, leasing, home loans, insurance and trust services.

Winthrop & Weinstine, P.A. acted as legal advisor and Oakridge Financial Services Group, Inc. acted as financial advisor to BlackRidge Financial, Inc. Gerrish Smith Tuck, PC acted as legal advisor to Westbrand, Inc.

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About First Western Bank & Trust
First Western Bank & Trust has been a community bank since 1964. Founded in Minot, we have grown to include locations in Eden Prairie, MN in 2006 and Bismarck in 2017. We operate as a full-service financial center providing traditional banking products as well as trust services, all lines of insurance, leasing, and much more. Technology and innovation drive us to be industry leaders to provide premier products and services to our customers.

About BlackRidgeBANK
BlackRidgeBANK has ten locations in Minnesota and North Dakota, with total assets of nearly $500 million. The bank’s 125 team members share a strong commitment to providing outstanding banking solutions, one relationship at a time, backed by exceptional customer service. The organization was founded in 2004, when executives from BlackRidge Financial, a privately owned bank holding company, embarked on a growth strategy through acquisition of banks in the Baxter and Alexandria regions of Minn., and opening of new branches in the Fargo and Bismarck ND regions.