American Bank of Bozeman is the recipient of a State Farm Montana Family Business Program award in the Large Business category. The awards are presented each year by the Montana State University Jake Jabs College of Business and Entrepreneurship.

Tyler Erickson continues today the 70-year legacy in banking that his grandfather, Claude R. Erickson first launched with the founding of American Bank in Livingston in 1947. The company has grown to employ over 65 people in the five communities in which it now has locations – Livingston, Bozeman, Whitefish, Big Sky and Big Timber.

Claude Erickson made his way west from Minneapolis in the late 1930s and found himself working at a bank in Miles City. He soon was married and moved to Havre, where he worked for another bank.

After working there for several years, in collaboration with a few others, he helped start Livingston State Bank, which would eventually evolve into American Bank. He moved to Livingston full time in 1952.

Claude navigated tough times, but he positioned the bank alongside the productive railroad economy in Livingston and grew with the community.

His son, Bruce Allen Erickson, began working for the bank in 1974. Bruce learned the ropes and was the driving force behind the bank’s first acquisition in Big Timber. His energy and skills allowed the bank to further develop its relationship style banking in real estate, business and aviation. Under Bruce’s watch the bank continued to grow, and found a niche in being able to handle unique requests in and out of the market area.

Tyler began working in the bank in 2008, just as the Great Recession took hold. The bank marched on through the downturn, and emerged just as strong as ever. With a strong board of directors, the business has harnessed new technologies, and continues to deliver high touch relationship banking, and continues to play a significant role as an employer in the communities it serves. The organization has an annual payroll in excess of $5 million per year.