Steve Stenehjem honored by state banking association
By Neal A. Shipman
Growing up in a banking family that owned First International Bank, Steve Stenehjem remembers driving through many communities across North Dakota with his father, Lee, and listening to him say that if the community was thriving and its Main Street looked good, it was because there was a good community banker in that town.
And when he returned to Watford City in 1982 to help his father run the bank, one of their first conversations left deep and long-lasting impressions on this young banker.
“I asked my dad what I should be focusing on. I thought he’d tell me to go out and develop some loan business or work on operational improvements,” recalls Steve, who now serves as Chairman and CEO of First International Bank & Trust (FIBT). “Instead, he said as a community banker I’d be spending half of my time keeping our small town alive. He explained that it meant being involved in things that mattered and making a difference in the community.”