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First National Bank Alaska Celebrates 100 Years

Jan 25, 2022 | Finance, News

FNBA Dimond

First National Bank Alaska (FNBA) opened with just two employees on January 30, 1922. Today, FNBA is Alaska’s largest community bank with twenty-eight locations in nineteen communities and more than 600 employees throughout the state.

Through Bust and Boom

Few businesses reach 100 years, especially in Alaska, which became a state 37 years after the bank was established. Key to reaching that milestone is investing in the Great Land. 

“For a century, our mission has been to help Alaskans succeed,” says board chair and CEO Betsy Lawer.

That mission saw the bank through the Roaring ‘20s, the Great Depression, a world war, earthquakes, economic booms and busts, ever-changing technology, a pandemic, and much more during the last 100 years. In 1964, Lawer’s father, then-bank president D.H. Cuddy, was the first Alaska business leader to announce plans for reconstruction after the Good Friday earthquake, unveiling blueprints for a new, nine-story building in Anchorage. “We wanted to express the faith we had in Alaska and the Alaska economy, despite this devastating earthquake,” says Lawer. “Believing in Alaska is at the foundation of our success and will be instrumental in shaping the next 100 years of this state.”

Current Issue

Alaska Business August 2022 Cover

August 2022

At the start of its second century, FNBA is again stepping up to support Alaskans.

“When you’re facing unprecedented challenges, you want to do business with people you trust. First National was there helping us navigate every step,” says Mike Mortenson, president and CEO of Alaska Rubber Group. “I don’t know what we would have done without their guidance, experience, and expertise.”

Alaska Rubber Group was one of many local businesses that turned to FNBA for a Small Business Administration Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan. In total, the bank processed more than 5,500 PPP loans to help customers weather the economic collapse caused by COVID-19.

“We are responding to the pandemic like we’ve responded to events such as earthquakes and the oil crash in the ‘80s: we find ways to continue to serve and support our customers and employees,” Lawer says. In a matter of days, the bank created secure work-from-home systems, and soon officers worked overtime to help Alaskans apply for PPP loans.

“I’m really proud of my team in how they embraced change,” Lawer says. “During the next 100 years, I imagine people at First National will continue to be positive and innovative. We will handle whatever the new world throws at us.”

Alaskan-owned and -operated since 1922, FNBA has been recognized as a “Best Bank to Work For” by American Banker for four years in a row. In 2021, Alaska Business readers voted FNBA the Best Place to Work for the sixth year in a row, Best Corporate Citizen for a third year, and Best Bank/Credit Union in the Best of Alaska Business awards.

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Alaska Business Magazine August 2022 cover

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