By Tim Leeds
Adrian Doucette said he's enjoying his new position at the Havre Heritage Bank.
"It's going good, a lot of fun," he said. "It's kind of a small-town bank that's financially strong and able to loan to any producer in the county."
Doucette took over the position of vice president and branch manager of the bank when Kim Kaufman left to take over the Missoula branch. Jan. 21 was Kaufman's last day.
Doucette, who is from Malta, has been in banking for the last 14 years. He graduated from Montana State University with a degree in agricultural business in 1985.
Doucette said he has always been involved in ag lending. He said he started in the west coast, and has been working his way back towards Malta ever since. His first three years were in Washington, he said, and he's been back in Montana ever since.
Doucette started working at Norwest Bank in Havre last August. He started at the Havre Farm Credit Services in 1991, and worked there until moving to Norwest Bank.
His wife, Charlys, is a teacher at the Highland Park Elementary School, but he said she is currently on maternity leave. Their second daughter, DeLayne, was born about two weeks ago, he said. Their older daughter, Brianna, is almost three.
Doucette said his duties are to manage the branch, including writing all of the loans for the bank. He said he likes working for a Montana-based bank that can still cover $3.5 million in loans. He said every one of the 15 branches of the Heritage Bank is in Montana.
Doucette said he likes the small-town aspect of the bank. He said he only needs to make one phone call to process any loan application the bank has, instead of calls to many different numbers.
Doucette said he also likes working at the Havre branch.
"I like dealing with agricultural people, and that's a big part of our business here," he said.
He said since both he and his wife are originally from the area, that also makes working in Havre enjoyable.
"My wife's originally from Big Sandy," he said, "so it's not a big change. If you come from the mountains, it's a shock, but if you're born and raised here it's not."
Doucette said since the bank switched from a savings and loan to a full-service bank, the new business has grown very well.
"Kim Kaufman started the ag loan business and it's going very strong," he said. "The consumer loans have grown from nothing to a nice book of business."
Ag is still king at the Hi-Line, Doucette said. He said that's what the Heritage Bank will mainly compete in. He said there's a good potential for this business in the market of the area.
Doucette said he hates to guess about interest rates. He said rates have been climbing over the last several years and according to Alan Greenspan, chairman of the Federal Reserve, are going to creep up still. He said there haven't been high rates in ag loans for a long time, and it's going to make it more difficult for anyone who needs money.
He said the higher rates have helped build Heritage's savings accounts. Doucette said there has been a lot of growth in the amount of deposits and in the number of accounts. He said the bank has very competitive business checking, individual checking and CD accounts.
"The big strength I see is business checking," he said, "which is very competitive in the Havre market."