Officers at Ascent Bank Locally Owned. Community strong.

All of the officers and leaders at Ascent Bank have strong ties to the Helena Community. They are dedicated to providing excellent banking services to customers and strengthening the community through their work at the bank.

Loren Brown President & CEO

As CEO, Loren is the key figure in the execution and growth plans for the organization. He has a deep background in banking leadership, financing, and operations. Loren believes that community banks are an integral part of our communities and is committed to making Montana a wonderful place to live and work. Loren has called Helena home since elementary school days. He serves in leadership roles on the boards of St. Peter’s Health, Sleeping Giant Flying Club, and the Montana Independent Bankers. Loren also serves on the board of The West Mont Foundation and in a variety of volunteer roles for the Boy Scouts of America. When he’s not at work or volunteering, you may find Loren skiing, skydiving or enjoying the outdoors in countless other ways.

NMLS #1700534

Tom McGree Chief Development Officer

A Helena native, Tom began his banking career in 2012. Since that time, he has been engaged in a wide array of bank operations including lending, finance, compliance, management, marketing, and development. When he’s not at work or spending time with his family, Tom serves on boards for the Helena Regional Airport Authority and Montana Community Foundation. He also serves on the loan committee for Montana Business Assistance Connection.

NMLS # 997811

Tyler Armstrong Chief Credit Officer

Tyler is happy to be back in his hometown of Helena to work and raise his family. As Chief Credit Officer of Ascent Bank, Tyler brings an extensive background in consumer and commercial lending, and a knack for helping match customers with lending solutions tailored to their unique needs. In addition to strengthening the community through his work at the bank, Tyler volunteers with the Helena Exchange Club.

NMLS # 759983

Brock Carlson Cashier & Operations Officer

Brock, a Montana native, began his banking career in 1991. Brock manages daily bank operations, oversees bank wires and accounts payables, prepares Call report schedules, performs board reporting, maintains balance sheets, and helps run bank operations for the Ascent Bank team. In his free time, you are likely to find Brock fly fishing in the Montana outdoors or cheering on the Bighorn Hockey team. Brock also volunteers with the local chapter of Ducks Unlimited.

Megan Murgel Consumer Loan Officer & Branch Manager

Megan Murgel has a long work history with First Security Bank of Helena, now Ascent Bank. She started working for the bank on a part time basis while she was in high school. After graduating with a degree from the University of Montana – Western, she became a full-time bank employee. Megan has worked in a variety of positions including Teller, Loan Processor, Credit Analyst, Consumer Loan Officer, and is the Branch Manager of the 11th Avenue location.

For fun, Megan hikes on a regular basis and spends the summer enjoying water sports. She also is the Head Tennis Coach for the East Helena Vigilantes.

NMLS # 1972938

Nicki Jemmings Real Estate Loan Officer

Nicki Jemmings leads Ascent Bank's Residential Real Estate Loan Department. Nicki is a Butte native who has been developing strong partnerships in the Helena and Butte mortgage industries for over 19 years. Nicki keeps her customers in the loop by listening, communicating, and educating them throughout the lending journey. She believes customers need options and enjoys empowering her borrowers to make their best lending decisions. Nicki serves on the Membership Committee of the HBIA and in her free times, enjoys spending time with family, especially her first grandbaby!

NMLS #630564

Cell: (406)-459-7321

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Gary Wagner Commercial Loan Officer

Gary Wagner was born and raised in Havre, Montana. He attended Carroll College, where he helped the Fighting Saints win three National Football Championships between 2005 and 2010.

Gary is excited to stay connected to the Helena community through his work as a Commercial Loan Officer at Ascent Bank. As a lender, he feels he can assist business customers find customized solutions for their needs.

When he is not working, Gary enjoys spending time with family and friends or playing music with his band, Intermission. His wife, Morgan, is a Physical Therapist and they have a beautiful 2 year-old daughter named Harper. In July, they welcomed a son named Hayden. Gary also serves as a Board Member on the Carroll College Saints Athletic Association.

NMLS # 2188591

Darryl Ford Internal Audit Officer

Darryl Ford is a native Montanan. After high school, he spent three years in the US Army before being honorably discharged. In 2015, Darryl graduated from MSU Billings with a degree in Business Administration. Darryl has work experience in the home building industry and he worked for the State of Montana as an administrator and bank examiner.

Darryl is a lifetime member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW). He is interested in causes related to veterans and activities that support those who serve others. In his free time, Darryl enjoys reading, photography, hiking and fly fishing. Darryl also enjoys using his home repair skills in service to those in need of assistance.

Julie Jaksha Market President

Julie Jaksha, Butte Market President, joined the Ascent Bank team in early 2022 bringing over 32 years of work experience in economic development, leadership, financing, and bank operations. Julie assists small business owners, entrepreneurs, and public/private groups to find solutions and achieve success. Her extensive background with complex project execution and management help clients launch, manage, and grow their business.

In addition to receiving national and state awards for her outstanding work, Julie has earned several professional accreditations. In 2017 Julie was appointed as a Montana Ambassador by Governor Bullock. She is an active member of the Montana Economic Development Association (MEDA) and Leadership Montana. Julie serves on the Board of Directors for Our Lady of the Rockies, Butte Food Co-Op, Montana Youth Soccer, Montana Cooperative Development Center, C.A.M.P. Montana Tech, and the Butte Silver Bow Planning Department.

Outside of work, Julie loves to spend her time with her family, at a lake, on a river or sitting around a campfire.