Your bank holds your money in checking and savings, perhaps offers you a credit card or a decent rate on a CD or a money market account, and may have given you a loan. So why do you care if your bank is community minded?
In the early days of banking, all banking was local. Banks were started by local executives and run by local boards of directors. Staff was hired locally. So when you went into the bank for a job, a loan or a good savings rate, you were dealing with someone who knew you, your family and your business. It was a personal relationship.
Those local bankers knew how important it was to support the success of local businesses that paid taxes to the town to support schools, roads, police and public parks. They knew that families who had financial opportunities were likely to stay and contribute to the overall well-being of the town as well. Bankers supported local charities, civic groups and baseball teams and volunteered where needed. Neighbors helping neighbors made the community stronger.
As banking grew, that community spirit has been disappearing. Larger banks have acquired many local banks and today, your bank may be owned and managed out of a faraway city, or even another country.
But when you need someone to provide a loan to help your business, or a mortgage to help your family buy a home, or set up your child for college, wouldn’t it be nice to work with someone you met at school, or know through the Chamber of Commerce, or volunteer with side by side?
Community bankers and locally run banks still foster a personal relationship with their customers, and still invest in their local community.