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A Community Bank with a Deep History of Personal Service - Interview with Jason A. Meyerhoeffer


By: Treacy Colbert, Brand Ave. Studios Contributing Writer

A Community Bank with a Deep History of Personal Service - Interview with Jason A. Meyerhoeffer

When you decide where to deposit your paycheck, take out a mortgage or business loan, or start saving for college or retirement, your banking options range from local to national. A community bank like First Federal Bank stands apart because the staff treats customers with a friendly personal touch. Not only that, this community bank has deep roots in the Twin Falls region, where the bank was founded more than 100 years ago.

What is a Community Bank?

The Federal Reserve defines a community bank as a bank with less than $10 billion in assets. First Federal fits this definition but, in addition to serving as a community bank, First Federal is also a mutual bank. Unlike large national banks that have shareholders, a mutual bank is owned by its customers. “We are the only mutual bank in Idaho and are very much aligned with our customers’ interests,” said Jason Meyerhoeffer, First Federal president and CEO. “Our mission is to help customers enhance their financial well-being.”

Focus on Local Customers

First Federal’s 13 branches are all located in southern Idaho, with five in Twin Falls. “Our focus is 100% on the communities that we serve. We are engaged in our communities and form personal relationships with customers,” Meyerhoeffer said.

“We have one person to focus on, and that’s our customer. We don’t have to balance the interests of shareholders,” he said.

Local Safety and Security

The collapse of two banks earlier this year has triggered some people’s concern about the safety of their bank deposits.

“The misperception is that too-big-to-fail banks may be safer than community banks due to an implied government backstop,” he said. “People need to understand that nobody has ever lost a penny on FDIC-insured bank deposits. I don’t know of any other savings or investment vehicle that can say that, except for maybe Treasury securities held to maturity.”

Your money is safe in a community bank, Meyerhoeffer explained. “If you have less than $250,000 in a bank, you can have peace of mind that your money is in the safest place it could be. If you are fortunate enough to have more than $250,000 in a bank, there are ways to insure all your deposits, through simple name structures on your accounts or reciprocal deposits.”

A Personal Approach

With a deeper understanding of the needs of the communities it serves and the customers who live and work there, First Federal offers a more personalized service.

“Applying for a business or mortgage loan from a large national bank might mean filling out an application that’s sent to an underwriter in a distant location and fed into a computer that spits out an automated answer, yes or no,” he said.

In contrast, First Federal brings its experience and knowledge of the community and the customers to the decision-making process. “When you know the full story about a local customer or business, the automated answer doesn’t always fit,” he said.

Community Engagement

First Federal sponsors several community events to bring customers together in a fun, informal atmosphere for good causes. “Our rock-paper-scissors tournament is a great example of that,” Meyerhoeffer said. Friendly, competitive teams square off for rounds of rock, paper, scissors, vying for the championship and, this year, raising $17,000 for local charities. “These charities are on the front lines of addressing community needs,” he said.

Best in the Business

Newsweek named First Federal Bank as Best Small Bank in Idaho for the second year in a row in 2023. The award measures overall bank health, account choices and fees, interest rates and other metrics. First Federal’s intangible characteristics are also important to its customers, Meyerhoeffer noted. “People like the familiarity and the fact that the person they’re banking with knows them and understands their situation,” he said.

Interview with: Jason A. Meyerhoeffer
First Federal Bank President and CEO

Headshot photo of Jason A. Meyerhoeffer