The Graduate School of Banking at Colorado (GSBC) is pleased to announce that Tyler Erickson, vice president of development and marketing of American Bank Montana based in Bozeman, has been honored with the third Tim Koch Award for Excellence in Banking.

Tyler began his banking journey at his family-owned institution in 2008 as a teller with the goal of absorbing how the aspects of the bank worked together for success. He advanced in the ranks from teller to personal banker, and then assistant manager to branch manager roles before earning his current position as VP of Development and Marketing. Mentoring him through these transitions was his father, Bruce, whom he worked closely with until his passing in 2015.

Despite this personal tragedy, Tyler’s mission to support his family’s legacy became stronger than ever, as selling the family-owned bank was not an option. Acknowledging the weight of his newfound responsibilities, Tyler was inspired to enroll in GSBC’s Executive Development Institute for Community Bankers® in 2017.

EDI was created in 2014 by GSBC’s then President Tim Koch and expert-collaborators to provide a solution for C-suite succession tailored specifically to the nuances of the community banking model. It seeks to support the organization and its next leader through a dual curriculum of strategic bank management and leadership development topics, to afford a successful growth and transition period for both parties. Participants of EDI engage in executive coaching, mentoring and take part in small-group discussions on matters related to bank strategy, profitability and performance, culture, and organizational effectiveness.

After completing the program in 2018, Tyler led the bank to cultural heights. American Bank Montana implemented its first rigorous strategic plan and holds annual leadership retreats and biannual branch on-sites, which encourage employees to contribute feedback and ideas that will influence the bank’s path forward. This investment in the bank’s culture and brand led to American Bank being named a top performing community bank in the country in 2022.

Tyler received his Tim Koch Award for Excellence in Banking at a ceremony in Broomfield, Colo., on April 23, 2024, pictured above with GSBC President & CEO Michael Stevens. During the ceremony, Tyler shed light on the re-framing of his leadership style, citing EDI as the backbone of the shift:

“[EDI] really changed my life and changed the bank in a way that’s hard to describe. When I [began EDI], I was very protective, I was very worried, and I wanted to caretake. When I left the program, I wanted to lean into the challenges and look for new angles. … My whole mindset changed to, ‘How do I grow [the bank]? How do I let it blossom and do what it needs to do?’ Without [EDI], I wouldn’t have been able to sift through those things and collect my aim and focus to do so correctly.”

Beyond EDI, Tyler’s education includes attending Mount Hood Ski Racing Academy in Oregon. He also holds a bachelor’s degree in fine arts from Arizona State University.

In addition to his role as VP, Tyler sits on the bank’s board of directors and is president of its holding company. He has his sights set on becoming the bank’s chief strategic officer and board chair in the coming years.


About the Award

The GSBC Board of Trustees established the Tim Koch Award for Excellence in Banking in 2021 to commemorate Koch’s 20-year tenure as the school’s president.

The award aims to honor Koch’s drive for education, passion for community banking and vision for preparing the next generation of community bank leaders. His lifelong dedication to educating bankers and unwavering commitment to the school’s students has led to stronger banks and communities across the country. Koch’s vision for preparing community bankers to take on leadership roles within their banks led to the inauguration of GSBC’s EDI in 2014, which remains the only program of its kind in the country.

Those eligible to receive the award are graduates of GSBC’s EDI program and may be nominated by current and past EDI faculty members, CEO mentors and executive coaches as well as their fellow graduates and supervisors. Candidates must show significant contributions to their communities, their banks’ stakeholders and the banking industry.

Past award recipients include:

  • 2022: Tony Kaiser, president and chief executive officer of Osgood Bank (Osgood, Ohio) – EDI Class of 2019
  • 2023: Carissa Rodeheaver, president, chief executive officer and chairman of the board of First United Bank & Trust and First United Corporation in (Oakland, MD) – EDI Class of 2015