Freedom Bank Receives “Outstanding” Rating for Community Reinvestment Act Performance

Quote from Don Bennett: We don't view community investment as a regulatory requirement. For us, it is just how we do business.Freedom Bank received the highest possible rating for our performance in the Community Reinvestment Act during the most recent examination by the FDIC. The Community Reinvestment Act of 1977 requires federally insured depository institutions to support the borrowing needs of the communities where they do business, including low- and moderate-income areas.

The “Outstanding” rating is based on Freedom Bank’s performance under the lending, investment, and service tests. These tests examine mortgage, small business, and community development lending, community development investments, and community development services in the communities a bank serves.

Freedom Bank was recognized in these key areas:

  • 90.9% of home mortgage loans and small business loans, by number, were made to borrowers located in Flathead County.
  • 82.8% of small business loans were made to businesses with less than $1 million in Gross Annual Revenues, demonstrating Freedom Bank’s commitment to meeting the small business credit needs of Flathead County.
  • Good distribution of lending to customers of different income levels and business customers of different sizes.

“We don’t view community investment as a regulatory requirement,” says Freedom Bank President Don Bennett. “For us, it is just how we do business. Columbia Falls believed in us when we opened our doors as a single-wide trailer in 2005 and we work hard every day to return the favor.”

Just like many of our customers, Freedom Bank is a small business. We consider our small size and local character to be our core strengths. Bennett adds, “Freedom Bank remains committed to the continued vitality and successes of our customers, no matter where they are at in their financial journey.”

If you want the money you deposit at a bank to stay local, you can count on Freedom Bank. Give us a call or stop in today to learn more about what we offer. We want to be your bank!

Heritage Days 2018



“Then & Now”


Wednesday – July 25, 2018


  • 5:00 p. m. – 9:00 p. m. – 9th Annual Car Show at Marantette Park
  • 4:00 p. m. – 7:00 p. m. – The American Legion Freedom Post 72 will be preparing food for the Car Show. A nominal fee/donation will be requested to cover costs of the food.
  • 7:00 p. m. – plaque to be presented at the Veterans Memorial Wall.



Thursday – July 26, 2018


  • 11:30 a. m. – 5:00 p. m. – Class of the 1950’s Alumni Gathering – Teakettle Room at the N.V. Physical Therapy Center – 235 Nucleus Ave.
  • 5:00 p. m. – 8:00 p. m. – Community Market at O’Briens Liquor Store*
  • FREE Open Swimming at Pinewood Park Pool

6:30 p. m. –   7:45 p. m. Adults and kids to 10 years old

8:45 p. m. – 10:00 p. m. Adults and kids 11+ years old

  • 7:00 p. m. – Lion’s Club Concert at Marantette Park


Friday – July 27, 2018


Wildcat/kat Athletic Endowment Auction and BBQ *

The Coop – 830 1st Ave. West – west of Glacier Bank in Columbia Falls.

  • 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. BBQ and Social Hour. $10.00 per plate
  • 5:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. Silent Auction
  • 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. Live Auction
  • 8:30 p.m. – 11:00 p.m. Social/Cash Bar and Dancing w/Music on The MoveHelp us reach our “MILLION DOLLAR MISSION” to assist with the financial support of CFHS athletics.


  • 7:00 p. m. – Open Rodeo at the Blue Moon Arena northeast corner of Hwy. 2 and 40, just behind the Blue Moon Bar & Grille


Saturday – July 29, 2017


  • 7:00 a. m. – Firemen’s Breakfast at Don Anderson Fire Hall, 624 1st Ave. West
  • 7:30 a. m. check in at Berube Physical Therapy for the Heritage Days 3 on 3 basketball tournament.

Teams will consist of boys and girls, grades 5-6, grades 7-8 and grades 9-12 and Men’s Open Registration forms may be picked up at the Columbia Falls Chamber Office, Berube Physical Therapy, and Whitefish Credit Union. Completed forms must be turned in by July 23rd to any of the above locations. Contact Laura Gadwa at 892-2072 with any questions. Cost per team is $80.



  • 8:00 a. m. – Boogie-to-the-Bank 5k & 10k Run. North Fork to Discovery Square.  Contact Ashley Campbell at 406-751-4758 for more information.
  • 9:00 a. m. – JIM’S Rat Race – by Glacier Bank and JIM. (the race will start after the last runner is finished with Boogie) Open to children ages 4-13. Its a short race from Whitefish Credit Union down to the Boogie to the Bank finish line. Contact Ashley Campbell at 406-751-4758 for more information.
  • 9:00 a. m. to 5:00 p. m. – Arts, Crafts, and Food Vendors by Whitefish Credit Union.
  • 10:00 a. m. to 3:00 p. m. – North Valley Senior Center Fund Raiser Luncheon (salads, sandwiches, pies and beverages )From 11:00 to 12:00 enjoy the North Valley High Steppers line dancing entertainment. For more information call the Center at 406-892-4087.  The Center is located at 205 Nucleus Avenue.
  • 12:00 p. m. – Main Parade on Nucleus Avenue (Railroad Street to 7th Street West). Parade participants will stage along Railroad Street at the north end of Nucleus Ave. at 11:00 a.m.
  • 1:00 p. m. to 5:00 p. m. – Family Playland in the Glacier Bank parking lot.
  • 1:30 p. m. – Freedom Bank’s Wild Horse Drive on Hwy. 2 from Columbia Heights to the Blue Moon. *
  • 7:00 p. m. – Open Rodeo at the Blue Moon Arena northeast corner of Hwy. 2 and 40, just behind the Blue Moon Grille
  • 7:00 p. m. to 9:45 p. m. – Falls Fest Fundraiser by the Rotary Club, with music by “Jacque Jolene & The Last Chance Band” at Marantette Park.


Sunday – July 30, 2017


  • 9:00 a. m. – 18th Annual WAEA Wildc/kat Athletic Endowment Golf Scramble

Glacier View Golf Course – West Glacier, MT

Format: 6 person scramble – all skill levels invited

Start: 9:00 a.m. Shotgun Start

  • 10:00 a. m. to 1:00 p.m. – Worship Service at Marantette Park – The focus will be “One Church” – unity inside of Christ. Non-denominational and not affiliated with any particular group, church or organization. Everyone in the community is invited.

Identity Theft Seminar




Employers face liability for 5 kinds of ID Theft, join us for an free informational meeting reviewing the steps business owners need to take to reduce their risks, protect their business and impact their bottom line. PLUS what steps consumers can take to reduce their personal risks in light of the Columbia Falls Breach. Thursday, November 9th at 7:00 pm or Friday, November 10th at noon in the Freedom Bank conference room.

Columbia Falls Community Market – June 8th

Debit Card Shutdown Notice

Debit Card Shutdown Notice – June 2017

Freedom Bank received notification, that a merchant in the Flathead Valley was compromised sometime between October 2016 and April 2017. As a result, persons that used their debit cards at this business may be exposed to fraudulent activity. In cooperation with law enforcement and other financial institutions in the Flathead Valley, Freedom Bank immediately shut down the credit ability, for those cards that may have been exposed to the security breach. For those cards involved; customers should still be able to make a debit transaction, that requires a PIN.   If you do not have a PIN for your card, customers may phone the 800 number listed on the back of the card to set a PIN.  This had to be done immediately in order to protect everyone that was exposed.

Please understand that this breach had nothing to do with the bank’s security systems and has impacted other banks in the Flathead Valley. Our staff has been working diligently trying to notify our customers, but due to the high volume of cards compromised, we did not have enough staff, or time, to call everyone before the cards, before initiating action. Shutting the cards down protect both our customers and Freedom Bank. We apologize for any inconvenience. New cards have been ordered and customers should be receiving them within 7-10 business days. Thank you for your understanding.

Please call us at (406) 892-1776 if you have any questions.

New Website Coming Soon!

Hi Everyone!  We just wanted to let you know that we are working on a new and improved website.  We hope to release it very soon, so don’t be alarmed if things look a little differently around here.  The new site will be cleaner, fresher and more mobile friendly.  Please contact us at or (406) 892-1776 for more information.


Cabin Fever Days Celebrates 39 Years

Cabin Fever Days and the Barstool Ski Races are a family, community event that takes place in Martin City, Montana, on February 10th – 12th 2017.

There are tons of family and adult activities throughout the Cabin Fever Days weekend throughout the Canyon. The Barstool Ski Races are fun for the whole family to watch, with different race classes and two days of racing culminating in the finals on Sunday, February 12th. There are even kids races on Saturday, starting at noon.

Kids activities include kids Sled Races, Cupcake Walk, Gunny Sack Race, Haystack Search, Magic Show and a Puppet Show! Come into the Leets Fire Hall in Martin City to warm up the kiddos, and enter our Cabin Fever Coloring Contest.

Adult activities include live music all weekend in several locations, and competitions of strength , skill wits with cash prizes.

Visit the Cabin Fever Days Website for more information!

Barstool Ski Races

Congratulations Columbia Falls Speech and Debate on yet another incredible season!

Columbia Falls Speech and Debate team takes first

Columbia Falls High School Speech and Debate brought home the hardware from state for the 12th consecutive time, capping an undefeated season.

“We are overwhelmingly proud of our state team,” said Head Coach Tara Norick. “We had a very strong team this year, with 14 seniors and a full roster of dedicated competitors. This is a group of kids who worked hard, practiced hard, stayed focused, and kept their eye on the prize. We couldn’t have done it without our amazing group of coaches — Alyssa Militello, Candy Gross, Alicia Gillan, and Barry Conger.”

Helping the Columbia Falls team make it to the top were individual state champions: Annabel Conger and Colin Norick, Policy Debate; Chloe Foster, Memorized Public Address; Estevon Torres, Dramatic Interpretation; Jacob Hohman, Informative Speaking; and Jerelyn Jones, Original Oratory.

Columbia Falls amassed 280 sweepstakes points to hold onto the state title. State runner-up, Whitefish High School Speech and Debate, fought to the finish line earning 126 points overall. Belgrade finished third with 107 points.

The second-place finish tops off a great season, according to Whitefish Head Coach Carissa Shupp.

“Our kids worked hard this year, and it paid off here. We are grateful to everyone who supported the Whitefish team, and proud to bring home medals in several events,” Shupp said.

Whitefish had one individual state champion — Makkie Haller in Impromptu Speaking.

Twenty schools from around Montana competed at the 2017 Class A State Speech and Debate Tournament in Laurel on Friday and Saturday.

Polson High School finished seventh overall with 43 points.

“While we didn’t have a huge team, they fought valiantly up to the very end,” said Polson Assistant Coach Kyle Dunn.

Following are individual results:

Public Forum Debate: 2. Ava Chisholm and Anna Nicosia, Columbia Falls; 4. Annabelle Smith and Katelyn Toland, Polson; 5. Cassidy Norick and Kelsey Wright, Columbia Falls; 7. Delaney Conger and Maggie McKeon, Columbia Falls.

Policy Debate: 1. Annabel Conger and Colin Norick, Columbia Falls; 2. Zachery Kasselder and Ian Caltabiano, Whitefish; 4. Ian McKenzie and Danielle Schwalk, Columbia Falls; 5. Abby Lowry and Douglas Mercer, Whitefish; 6. Mary Ward and Shyane Williams, Columbia Falls.

Lincoln-Douglas Debate: 4. Mikel Knutson, Columbia Falls; 5. Sophia Spechart, Polson; 6. Gabby Merrell, Columbia Falls; 8. Tyler Brown, Columbia Falls.

Impromptu Speaking: 1. Makkie Haller, Whitefish; 2. Danny Morgan, Columbia Falls; 3. Willie Baltz, Columbia Falls; 5. Teigen Tremper, Whitefish; 7. Geneva des Lions, Polson.

Extemporaneous Speaking: 3. Danny Morgan, Columbia Falls; 4. Zach Ade, Whitefish; 7. Alex Garate, Columbia Falls; 8. Makkie Haller, Whitefish.

Memorized Public Address: 1. Chloe Foster, Columbia Falls; 2. Zach Ade, Whitefish; 4. Joey Chester, Columbia Falls; 5. Geneva des Lions, Polson.

Dramatic Oral Interpretation: 1. Estevon Torres, Columbia Falls; 3. Jacob Hohman, Columbia Falls; 5. Lizzy Olsen, Whitefish; 6. Naya Brigette, Whitefish.

Humorous Oral Interpretation: 3. Jerelyn Jones, Columbia Falls; 4. Brandon Karberg, Columbia Falls.

Informative Speaking: 1. Jacob Hohman, Columbia Falls; 4. Danielle Rosenbaum, Columbia Falls; 5. Teigen Tremper, Whitefish; 6. Kennedy Payne, Columbia Falls; 7. Adia Saurey, Whitefish.

Original Oratory: 1. Jerelyn Jones, Columbia Falls; 4. Aidan Reid, Whitefish; 5. Miranda Lauria, Columbia Falls; 6. Grace Benkelman, Whitefish.

Source Material:

January Community Events


Tuesday, January 17th

7:00am – 8:00am
The Back Room / Night Owl
522 9th St W, Columbia Falls

There is a lot to discuss about the current and future business climate in and around Columbia Falls, and an Economic Development meeting is a great way for you to hear first hand about what is happening, as well as contribute your voice and thoughts to the conversation. This month we will hear about recent commercial and business real estate trends from Barbara Bennett of Bennett Appraisal Services. No-host breakfast is available from the Nite Owl.

North Forty Resort
Tuesday, January 24th

5:00pm – 7:00pm
3765 Mt Hwy 40, Columbia Falls

The North Forty Resort is an independent, family owned log cabin resort featuring twenty-two individual log cabins and one glamping tent available for nightly and weekly rentals. Centrally located in the Flathead Valley of Montana, a year round recreational dreamland, and minutes from the towns of Whitefish, Columbia Falls, Kalispell, Bigfork and Glacier National Park. Join us to tour this great local property, and for great networking, appetizers and refreshments!


Western A Divisional Speech and Debate Tournament
Saturday January 21, 2017

From Principal and Board member Scott Gaiser: Columbia Falls HS will be hosting the Western A Divisional Speech and Debate Tournament On Saturday January 21, 2017. Judges are always needed for such a large event and much appreciated. Financial contributions will help us provide food for the hospitality room for volunteers, judges and coaches. To find out how you can help by being a judge or contributing to the hospitality room, please contact Tara Norick at 249-6177 or at Your support is very much appreciated.

Night of Lights 2016


Freedom Bank’s President Don and his wife Barbara inside the Freedom Bank Gingerbread House cart.

The Freedom Bank crew has a lively time walking in community parades every year. We count it as a privilege to have a part in this 31-year tradition that thrives on community pride and fun with friends. Surely all that attended the parade can agree that the community pride that is so infectious in Columbia Falls was on display at the Night of Lights. The tight knit community huddled around nucleus to watch festively decorated floats mosey by and treat the spectators with handfuls of candy.

Freedom Bank had an entertaining time decorating their Gingerbread House cart before the parade. It was truly a team effort that required every member of Freedom Bank to contribute their skills in some way, shape or form. You may have seen us huddled around our cart assembling our scrumptious gingerbread house. It was genuinely a fun team-building time.

We look forward to the next parade where we can put our hands back to work to come up with another creative and goofy cart.