Community banks play a very different role than large national banks. Both offer incredible value, but a community bank’s overall impact to their local area is a significant differentiator.

The money managed by a local bank is re-invested into the community through loans and other financial services for area individuals, families, and small businesses. When you maintain a checking, savings, or other type of account with a community bank, you increase the community banks’ ability to offer small business loans and mortgages with better terms to your neighbors and friends. Banking local helps local businesses grow and thrive, whether it is an established company or a new start up. When clients bank local, they are supporting and strengthening their local community.

Many local banks are also involved in community service efforts, which can range from charitable donations, sponsoring local organizations and events, volunteerism, and offering personal financial education classes.

Because community banks are physically in the community, their teams can easily build relationships with business customers, to better understand local factors, reputation, and past history with the bank. These relationships play a large role in ensuring that not just hard numbers and scores, that may or may not tell the full story of your business plan, are considered when deciding to approve a loan. At a community bank, you can expect to work with familiar faces who know you and what is important to you, your family and business.

An obvious benefit to national banks is the larger network across the country. However, as history has shown, their physical footprint is more subject to change resulting in the closure of local retail branches across the country—leaving many customers to rely on mobile and online banking exclusively.

The community bank model is successful in strengthening the community as they are based in your local area where the team are your neighbors and family. While online and mobile banking are also a strong feature for all banks, in person services and relationships are a key benefit for banking local.

Supporting the community banks that stand behind your community is a terrific way to keep your local area vibrant and growing.

About Author:
Greg Wagner, Senior Vice President/Retail Banking Executive, Gateway First Bank