Our Local Bank Is More Important To Our Community Than We Realize

Our Local Bank Is More Important To Our Community Than We Realize

Our local community bank is a key pillar in our community’s prosperity and quality of life. Even though we can perform so many transactions electronically from our homes or smart phones, most individuals and businesses find great value in being able to walk into a bank for transactions or to meet a financial service need. We rely on the convenience of numerous payment services (checks, debit cards, online payments), cash availability at the bank and ATM’s, and a safe place to hold and protect our money. Our community bank gives us knowledgeable employees to help us choose from and structure a variety of accounts (individual, business, trust or retirement account) and offers us choices in types of accounts to maximize our interest income and/or lower our costs.

The community bank is also our primary source of funding for our cars, homes and businesses. Although we may get turned down from time to time, if it really is smart for us to borrow the money and we can predictably pay it back on time, the bank usually lends it to us. In particular, our community bank is the best source for our business loans since they know us better than anyone. It has always been a source for reliable financial advice.

What is probably most overlooked are the rewarding and desirable jobs the community bank provides our neighbors and friends. Quality jobs in a community lift all other businesses and preserve property values. The community bank’s educated and skilled employees routinely give their personal time to local civic, educational and charitable organizations. Local banks not only encourage their employees to serve their community, but the banks also allow employees time off to do so. In addition, community banks are consistently among the highest financial contributors to local events and charitable needs. Whether it is the little league team or the largest local foundation, when we make a list of donors, who doesn’t put the community bank at the top of the list?

Yes the local bank gets paid by us, the customer, and they appreciate having our business, but this goes deeper. A family banking heritage that dates to the 1920’s, having been a banker for over 20 years and now working as a banking consultant have allowed me to see dozens of banks from the inside out. I have first-hand knowledge of bank employees and owners personally lending or giving money out of their pocket when they knew a customer in extreme need would not be able to pay the bank back on time or at all. I have seen bank employees and owners personally fund and personally labor to remodel an indigent customer’s home. Bank trust officers are notorious for meeting customers’ personal needs in the middle of the night or over the weekend when no family was available. I have seen community banks give and raise substantial sums of money for schools, hospitals, recreation and the under privileged.

If you really think about it, our local bank is one of our community’s most valuable assets. It is said that what is rewarded is repeated. If we believe this, then maybe we should tell our local bank employees and owners how much we appreciate what they contribute to our community. It just might make a difference to our on-going quality of life.

About the Author

Kelly Karns is President of Karns Profit Improvement®, an independent Oklahoma-based financial consulting firm that has specialized in growing the profits of community banks in a multi-state area since 1986.