3 reasons to celebrate our awesome community banks
April is one of my favorite months. I get to celebrate the end of winter, the start of the Cleveland Indians’ season and my boyfriend’s birthday. And, of course, it’s Community Banking Month.
This year’s theme for Community Banking Month is “Celebrating Communities.” Community banks across the country have been sharing stories about their communities and promoting locally owned businesses through their successfully popular #BankLocally campaign.
As the month is winding down, I think it’s time to toast not just the local communities, but community banks themselves.
So, here are three reasons community banks across the country should pat themselves on the back:
1. Creating local economic stability
Small businesses depend heavily on local banks for financing. When investors keep their money in local financial institutions that invest in local businesses and people, they are forming a more stable, financially robust community.
2. Providing flexible lending
In addition to standard investment practices, local lenders make decisions using nontraditional criteria. Instead of simply running a credit check, community banks consider a borrower’s overall situation, including history, reputation and potential importance to the community.
That kind of flexibility, coupled with local knowledge, is why community banks are so important. They provide a financial foundation that most large banks can’t because their focus is on larger customers, usually in major cities.
3. Caring about customers and communities
Community banks focus on people and businesses in the area, building relationships. They know customers by name; they know their families. This provides a different, more intimate banking experience.
Since the success of local banks is tied to the fortunes of their communities, the more the community prospers, the more the local bank benefits. Isn’t that what we all want?
Within the US, community banks operate at 52,000 locations, employ 700,000 people and hold $3.6 trillion in assets. They also hold $2.4 trillion in loans to consumers, small businesses and the agricultural community. And they’ve been around for more than three hundred and fifty years. That’s right, even before the United States of America was founded!
Certainly, a call for celebration.