(Missoula Current) A Montana bank founded in 1953 by a rancher in Miles City has since grown to serve the state, and this month it's celebrating 70 years of business.

Over the years, Stockman Bank has emerged as the largest family-owned and privately held bank in the state with an exclusive focus on Montana. It has come a long way since Bill Nefsy opened the first branch 70 years ago.

“We have always done the right thing for the long term,” said bank CEO Bill Coffee. “Stockman is committed to traditional western values, local management and decision-making, and homegrown community service. This commitment has allowed us to remain independent and family owned for 70 years.”

The bank expanded its reach into western Montana in 2017 when it cut the ribbon on a new $35 million office building in downtown Missoula.

Several years later, it constructed and opened a new branch on the south side of Missoula, replacing a shuttered and vandalized movie theater.

Coffee said his family has always believed that as a community bank, Stockman had a higher level of responsibility to its customers, employees and communities.

The bank will be celebrating its 70th anniversary and University of Montana homecoming week on Thursday at its local branches.

“We thank our customers for their trust and loyalty over these many years and thank our employees for providing the highest level of customer service in taking care of our neighbors, day in and day out,” Coffee said.