Don’t Be Spooked: Switching To a Community Bank is Never Scary! Oct 30, 2012, 11:09 am By Heidi Carmack Pfaffroth

Courtesy of Independent Community Bankers of America

Consumers are increasingly tiring of financial tricks and are considering switching banks, but often don’t make the switch because they believe it will be a hassle. The Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) and Bank of American Fork are reminding them that their local community bank is a safe haven from scary bank practices that can leave many banking customers spooked.

As local small businesses themselves, our nation’s more than 7,000 community banks only thrive when their customers and communities do the same and are treated with satisfaction. Taking care of their customers and looking out for the best interest of their community is just the way they do business. No tricks about it.

“By going local with your community bank, you can rest assured that your banking needs will be taken care of and that your money will be put to work where it belongs—in your community in the form of loans to local residents and small business owners. It’s a hometown investment you can be proud of—not scared of,” said Sal Marranca, ICBA chairman and president and CEO of Cattaraugus County Bank, Little Valley, N.Y.

This Halloween season, savvy consumers should treat themselves to what a community bank offers:

Sweet Service. Community banks are relationship lenders that focus on the needs of local families and businesses. Because they know their customers and their customers know them, they are able to provide superior, personal customer service. When consumers call their local community bank, they’ll be reassured to know that they won’t be talking to someone halfway across the globe. Instead, they will be talking with their community banker who lives and works in the same community they do.

Deposits. Community banks lend locally where their depositors live and work, keeping local communities vibrant and growing. By choosing a community bank, you’ll be putting money where it belongs— back into the community you call home. And since community banks pay federal, state and local taxes, they are also a key supporter of their community’s local infrastructure, making it a better place for all residents to reside. Some tax-subsidized credit unions masquerade as community banks but do not pay any taxes to support their local communities.

Expertise. Because community bankers live and work in the same communities as their local customers, they understand their local marketplace and the ups and downs of economic cycles in their community. This is especially helpful in allowing them to serve the needs of their small business customers who rely on them as strategic partners in their small-business endeavors. Community banks rely on the health of the local marketplace so they stick with their customers through good times and in bad.

Local Decision-Making. Instead of being headquartered hundreds of miles away, community bankers are accessible to their customers on site, where they can talk to a real human being — not a machine. Since many community banks are willing to consider character, family history and discretionary spending, they are often able to be more nimble in their decision-making when it comes to loan needs and qualification and in the selection of financial products and services.

Trust not Tricks. Community banks are a relationship you can bank on for years to come. Because many community banks have been around for over a hundred years, and are often family-owned and operated, you’ll know that the financial needs of you and your family are being met by local residents running the financial institution that has your best interest in mind. They wouldn’t be in business if they didn’t.

Civic Loyalty. Community bankers are typically deeply involved and committed to making their local communities a better place to live. In fact, many community banks across the country donate service hours and money to important local causes.

Whether located in small towns, suburbia or big-city neighborhoods, community banks improve America’s communities. Despite challenging economic times, community banks continue to fund nearly 60 percent of all small businesses under $1 million. They also use local dollars to help families purchase homes, buy a car, finance college and build financial security.

To find your local community bank, visit ICBA’s community bank locator at Simply type in your zip code and the app will show you all the community banks in your area. You can even download free ICBA locator apps for your iPhone, Android or Blackberry. Bank safe and Happy Halloween!

What quality or service is most important to you in a bank?

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