Covid-19 Pandemic shines light on benefits of banking locally: In recognition of Community Banking Month in April, Heartland Bank and the Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) are reminding consumers of the benefits of banking locally with an institution committed to their financial success and that stands with them through life’s ups, downs and everything in between.
Community banks take in local deposits and redistribute them back into the community—consistently making more than 60 percent of small-business loans and more than 80 percent of agriculture loans. They also contribute tax dollars that help maintain local municipalities and keep local neighborhoods viable and strong because serving the best interests of their clients is fundamental to their business philosophy. Community banks:
- Are highly favored by small businesses, earning a 74 percent net satisfaction score compared to 60 percent for large banks, 46 percent for finance companies and just 25 percent for online lenders, according to a Federal Reserve study.
- Are committed lenders with loan growth that has outpaced noncommunity banks for eight years.
- Demonstrate safety and soundness with higher capital ratios and better loan quality than the largest institutions.
- Offer high-tech, high-touch service, giving consumers access to modern-day conveniences while maintaining the superior customer service for which community banks are known.
- Have a strong track record in helping underserved Americans by focusing a relatively large share of their resources in low- and moderate-income tracts.
“Community banks are relationship lenders that stand by their customers and communities, and the pandemic has only emphasized their vital role in our financial system,” ICBA President and CEO Rebeca Romero Rainey said. “During ICBA Community Banking Month we are proud to recognize community banks as financial first responders who continue to demonstrate their flexibility to address unique financial needs while performing acts of community service that create healthy, resilient and vibrant communities, which benefit Americans nationwide."
During the first phase of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) initiated by the CARES Act, Heartland Bank processed 1,067 loans for a total of $128 million. Heartland not only assisted its own clients, but also community members and business owner seeking help. Word spread how Heartland bankers were assisting non-customers, ultimately bringing new clients to the bank. The community banking model was an asset to clients during this rare, unfortunate event unfolding around the world, and it became a lifesaver to many small businesses that were not prepared for the drastic changes that nearly swallowed their businesses.
ICBA pays tribute to community banks for their ongoing contributions to their communities with ICBA’s annual National Community Bank Service Awards showcasing the unmatched role community banks serve by reinvesting their customers’ hard-earned dollars to support urban, suburban and rural communities throughout America.
The Independent Community Bankers of America creates and promotes an environment where community banks flourish. ICBA is dedicated exclusively to representing the interests of the community banking industry and its membership through effective advocacy, best-in-class education, and high-quality products and services.
With nearly 50,000 locations nationwide, community banks constitute 99 percent of all banks, employ more than 700,000 Americans and are the only physical banking presence in one in three U.S. counties. Holding more than $5 trillion in assets, over $4.4 trillion in deposits, and more than $3.4 trillion in loans to consumers, small businesses and the agricultural community, community banks channel local deposits into the Main Streets and neighborhoods they serve, spurring job creation, fostering innovation and fueling their customers’ dreams in communities throughout America. For more information, visit ICBA’s website at www.icba.org.