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Laura J. Hughes Joins Heartland Financial USA, Inc. as EVP - Chief Marketing Officer

A photo accompanying this announcement is available at

Hughes joins Heartland with over 20 years of experience in marketing strategy, branding, public relations and digital communications in the financial services industry. Most recently, Hughes served as the Chief Marketing Officer for Church Mutual Insurance Company, a leading property and casualty specialty insurer based in Wausau, Wisconsin. Hughes has also led Digital Marketing for the Commercial Banking Division of JPMorgan Chase & Co. and has served as Vice President of Marketing for the Federal Reserve System.

"The appointment of Ms. Hughes underscores our continued strategic focus on the fast changing needs of our customers as we position our business for the future," said Bruce K. Lee, President of Heartland Financial USA, Inc. "Ms. Hughes' track record of building world-class brands, delivering customer-focused solutions across traditional and digital channels in the financial services industry, makes her the clear choice to lead our marketing organization and fuel our company's growth.

Down payment funds fulfill need in Great Falls, across Montana

For some in Great Falls, affording a home isn’t easy, and affordability isn’t much better across the rest of Montana and the United States.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the median value of a home in Great Falls reached $160,900 in 2015, up 11.6 percent from $144,200 in 2010. Over the same time, median household income hasn’t kept pace, increasing just 4.8 percent from $40,935 to $42,896.

With statistics like these in mind, the Montana & Idaho Community Development Corporation launched a program to help working Montanans afford a home. Half a year later, we can say it is indeed fulfilling a need.

A private not-for-profit financing company headquartered in Missoula, Montana & Idaho CDC launched its HomeNow zero down payment program across the state in the last quarter of 2016. The program is designed to support those who have a steady income but, due to factors such as lingering student debt or childcare expenses, are not able to save for a down payment. HomeNow offers a grant for eligible borrowers to cover up to 100 percent of down payment and/or closing costs. It isn’t a second mortgage, and there’s no requirement to repay at any time.

Sold house, notified insurance company but they did not cancel, caused me to lose refund, what are my rights?

We sold our house a year ago in Montana. I contacted the insurance company during office hours to cancel the policy, noone answered, so I left a message. I thought that it had been taken care of.

If you can prove with documentation that the house was sold, send written notice directly to the insurance COMPANY, not the agent. This happens all the time and the company should backdate the cancellation and refund your money.