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Banking on the Hi-Line

Celebrating Employee Achievement

Independence Bank celebrated 50 years in 2023 and success of the bank would not be possible without the educated and experienced staff that have grown along with the bank.


IB Achievements

Mason Sheppard has been recently promoted to Assistant Vice President of Lending. Sheppard came to the bank in 2015 as a credit analyst and was later promoted to loan officer in 2017. In 2021, Mason accepted the responsibilities of managing our credit analyst department and then in 2022 took on the supervision of the ag/commercial lending staff in Havre. In 2023 Mason became a Sr. Loan Officer and a member of the Banks loan committee. Mason will be entering his second year of banking school at the Graduate School of Banking – Colorado.
Sheppard was born and raised in Havre. After earning his bachelor's degree in Business Administration at the University of Montana, he returned to Havre to be near friends and family. Sheppard and his wife Haley are busy with their two daughters. When he isn’t chasing his little ones, you can find him at the hockey rink coaching and playing hockey, golfing, or spending time with his family and friends.

Mason 2024


Jedd Lekvold  recently became Vice President of Ag Lending - Senior Loan Officer. Jedd is a member of the In-House loan committee; he oversees the Bank’s FSA Guaranteed lending portfolio for all ten branches, and manages the Scobey lending team.
Lekvold joined Independence Bank in 2007 as a lender and spent 13 years working in the Scobey and Poplar branches. He was promoted to Senior Loan Officer – Assistant Vice President of Ag Lending in 2020.
Jedd was born and raised in Scobey. After graduating from Scobey High School, he attended Montana State University-Billings. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration with a Finance Option in 2003.
Lekvold has been actively involved in the Scobey community since his return in 2005. He has served and been part of boards for the Scobey Baseball Association, Scobey Alumni Foundation, Inc., and All- Class Reunion Committee. He has also dedicated much of his free time to coaching youth and high school sports over the years and he enjoys spending time with family and chasing his kids around. Jedd and his wife, Kiki, have 4 children

Jedd Lekvold


Tamariel Christopher was recently promoted to Senior Vice President of Commercial Lending for Independence Bank and the Great Falls branch. Christopher leads all aspects of commercial lending at Independence Bank. She guides and develops the loan officers throughout the Bank's various branches regarding commercial credit.
Tamariel has spent the past 18+ years of her career in commercial lending. She came to IB in 2019 as a Vice President of Commercial Lending/Senior Commercial Loan Officer and was instrumental in the development and growth of the Great Falls market. She serves as a member of the Executive and In-House loan committees and is a member of the ALCO committee.
Christopher is a University of Montana graduate with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration Finance with an emphasis in Banking. She is a Highwood native and has lived in Great Falls for the past 14 years, after moving back to her family’s ranch from Missoula. She currently serves as the Highwood Public School Foundation Treasurer and volunteers as a coach for Salvation Army youth sports. In her free time, you can find Tamariel enjoying time with her husband Tim, watching their kids participate in various sports and activities.

Tamariel 2024


Tyler Young recently became Branch President of Plentywood. Prior to this, Tyler was a Loan Officer at the Scobey Branch and has been overseeing the day-to-day operations of the Plentywood Loan Production/Deposit Production Office.
Young attended Montana State University-Billings, earning a degree in Business Administration with Options in Management and Marketing. After graduating in 2011, he started his banking career. Tyler has held positions as a loan assistant, credit analyst, loan officer and now branch president. Tyler joined Independence Bank in December of 2020 as a loan officer and was the key component in the opening of the Plentywood branch.
Tyler and his wife Kenda are proud parents of three boys. In his spare time, Tyler enjoys the outdoors and hunting, playing golf and basketball, and spending time with his family. Young is an active member of the Plentywood community, serving as a Nemont Director, City Treasurer for the City of Plentywood and a volunteer member of the local chapter of Walleyes Unlimited.

Tyler Young 2024


Justine Beaudry achieved the position of Loan Assistant Supervisor. In this role, Beaudry provides leadership and guidance to the loan assistant staff across all IB branches.
Justine holds a bachelor's degree in Health and Human Performance – Exercise Science from Montana State University. She managed Yellowstone Fitness in Billings for six years before moving back to the Hi-Line and joining the IB team. Beaudry came to the bank in April of 2020 as a Consumer Loan Assistant and transitioned to a Consumer Lender in Havre over the next few years. In 2022 she became the Loan Assistant Coordinator, where she showcased her excellent customer service and in-depth knowledge of consumer lending processes. She has been promoted to Loan Assistant Supervisor where she will oversee all loan assistants across the 10 branches of Independence Bank.
When Justine isn’t working, you can find her on the golf course, biking and traveling as often as she can. And in the fall, you will surely run into her at a Bobcat Football game.

Justine 2022


Mym Cichosz is now the MSI Corporate Secretary/Bank Board Secretary and Human Resources Administrative Assistant. In these roles, Cichosz provides services and outreach to our shareholders, aids the board of directors in fulfilling their fiduciary duties, and provides assistance in ensuring human resources meets the needs of our employees.
Mym is a MSU-Northern graduate with a bachelor’s degree in Technology of Business. She has lived in the Havre community her entire life and will celebrate her twenty-third anniversary with Independence Bank in 2024. Cichosz came to the bank in January of 2001 as a Loan Assistant, transitioned to a Compliance Department Assistant, then returned to her position as Loan Assistant where her vast knowledge of customer lending needs and excellent customer service was showcased, eventually being promoted to Loan Assistant Supervisor.
In 2021 she became the Assistant MSI Corporate Secretary to Kay Mayer and Human Resources Assistant. Mym has assumed the full-time position of MSI Corporate Secretary/Bank Board Secretary and will continue with her Human Resources responsibilities. When Mym isn’t working, you can find her at local sporting events, at the softball fields watching her kids play ball, and she also enjoys reading and spending time with family and friends.

Mym 2024


Jace Anderson is now the Glasgow Branch President. Having previously served the Hi-Line as an Ag Lender out of the Malta Branch and returning to the Hi-Line in 2022 as the Branch Manager of IB Glasgow, Jace will focus on overall branch management in Glasgow and serving customers in the surrounding area as the Branch President.
Anderson is a 2017 graduate of Montana State University Billings with a degree in Business Finance. Over the past seven years, Anderson has honed his banking skills across the state. He most recently served as a loan officer in the Billings area and moved back to the Hi-Line to take on the role of Branch Manager for Independence Bank of Glasgow and has now been promoted to Branch President. His roots are on the Hi-Line. Anderson grew up in Whitewater in a farming and ranching family. Ag lending was a natural fit professionally, and he uses his personal experience and knowledge to serve his customers.
Anderson and his wife Shae have lived in Glasgow with their two children for over a year and half and are enjoying getting to know the community. Jace is involved in the Glasgow Area Chamber of Commerce and the Frances Mahon Deaconess Hospital (FMDH) Foundation Board. Anderson enjoys spending time with family, helping on his family farm and ranch in Whitewater in his off time, as well as sneaking in a little golfing and hunting.

Jace 2024


Lacy Farmer has been recently promoted to Finance Officer/Executive Assistant at the Havre Branch. Lacy started at the Bank as an Executive Assistant in 2018. In her new role, she is responsible for ensuring the accuracy of all financial matters related to the organization are handled in a responsible and legal manner. Management of the budget, preparation of various financial reports and ensuring accuracy of such reports are critical components of this position. The primary role is to provide support to the Vice President of Finance regarding all duties associated with financial management of the Bank.  This position will also work with the President/CEO as an Executive Assistant, providing scheduling and daily management of the President’s calendar and appointments.
Farmer graduated from Montana State University Northern with a bachelor’s degree in Secondary Education Mathematics. Lacy grew up in Kalispell, MT but has lived in the Havre community for nearly 31 years. She and her husband Lee just celebrated their 15th wedding anniversary and have two black labs, Bella and Cooper. In her free time, Lacy enjoys golfing, bowling, boating, and hanging out with her furry friends.

Lacey 2024


Andy Morris has moved to the position of Information Technology and Security Officer. In this role, Morris will provide assistance in managing networking equipment, working closely with bank partners to maintain a secure and extensible network. Morris grew up in Belgrade, MT and moved to Havre in the fall of 1997. He attended college at Montana State University – Northern where he earned a bachelor's degree in Computer Information Systems and an associate’s degree in Design Drafting.
Prior to joining the IB team, Morris worked in the Information Technology Services department at Montana State University – Northern as a Computer Support Specialist for thirteen years. Morris came to the bank in November of 2017 as an Information Technology Specialist where his focus was primarily on setting up and rolling out computer and server systems, while helping with day-to-day questions from staff. He has been promoted to oversee more of the changes to the internal and external bank networks, while staying involved with the computer systems by overseeing acquisition of hardware.
Andy’s amiable personality and his ability to communicate elevated him to be a candidate for the executive development program put on by the Montana Bankers Association, designed to cultivate the next generation of banking leaders. Morris and his wife Angela are the proud parents of four sons.



Alec Breding has been promoted to Ag/Commercial Loan Officer. Breding came to the bank in January of 2022 as a part-time credit analyst while finishing his last semester at Montana State University Northern and was promoted to Ag/Commercial Lender in 2023. Since then, he has been serving ag/commercial lending customers on the Hi-Line.

Breding was born and raised in Conrad, MT. After earning his bachelor's degree in Business Administration and an associate’s degree in Business Technology at Montana State University Northern, he continued to work at Independence Bank full time. Breding is currently serving as the president of the Havre Ag Chamber and is also a member of the Havre Optimist Club. When he isn’t at the bank, you can find him enjoying one of his many hobbies of hunting, fishing, bowling, playing pool and golf.

Alec 2024


Christen Ouellette recently became the Senior Consumer Lending Manager at the Havre Branch.
Ouellette worked with the bank as a teller in 2012 before moving to Thompson Falls with her husband Austin. During her time on the western side of the state, she worked as a financial planning manager for three years. Ouellette and her husband returned to Havre in 2016 and she came back to the bank as a Consumer Loan Assistant. Ouellette became an officer in 2018 and a lender in 2020. She then supervised the consumer lending department, supporting staff in six IB branches across Northern Montana and was recently promoted to Senior Consumer Lending Manager, overseeing all ten branch locations.
Ouellette graduated from the University of Montana with a bachelor’s degree in business management and has lived in the Havre community for nearly 25 years. She recently joined the Havre Chamber as a board member and has been active in the planning of Bear Paw Marathon the last couple of years. Her family grew by two with the addition of their daughters. Ouellette spends her free time with her family, cheering for the Griz, curling in the winter, and camping and fishing in the summer months.

Christen 2024

Career Opportunities


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