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Community Banking Expands to Meet Demand

May 05, 2009 09:11PM
Customers tired of robotic answering machines, low CD rates, overdraft fees and megabanks’ lack of personal relationships often turn to a local bank. More than 8,500 community banks—98 percent of all banking institutions—offer a comforting antidote to the “too big to fail” promises of surprisingly vulnerable supersize institutions. They quietly continue to conduct neighborly business in 50,000 U.S. locations. According to the Small Business Association, they also provide 35 percent of all loans under $1 million. The FDIC notes that almost 93 percent of all banks in this country manage assets under $1 billion, with nearly 40 percent having less than $100 million.

“Community banking is coming back to basics” says Bruce Jensen, who, after 33 years of service with the larger financial institutions, left to establish Town and Country Bank, in St. George, Utah. “In the end, it is about customer convenience and understanding customer needs and goals.”

It’s easy to shop for the right bank starting with the Community Bank Locator at the Independent Community Bankers of America website, icba.org. Verify that it is FDIC insured at fdic.gov/deposit/index.html and compare rates at BankRate.com. Then, call and visit to assess how management educates clients and how the bank’s style matches one’s own personal values and needs.

Source: The Christian Science Monitor

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