Heartland Bank celebrates ‘Community Banking Month’ each April through our partnership with the Independent Community Bankers of America, the nation’s voice for nearly 7,000 community banks across the country. And, what’s not to celebrate? With more than 51,000 locations nationwide and employing 700,000 Americans, ICBA member institutions hold $3.8 trillion in assets, $3.1 trillion in deposits, and $2.6 trillion in loans to consumers, small businesses and the agricultural community. Have you ever wondered, though, what exactly is a Community Bank?
A Community Bank is not a “little” big bank. As big banks focus on income production for shareholders and owners, the local community bank puts your money to work growing the local economy. Your dollar in a Community Bank will likely underwrite a local home or business or be invested in U.S. government backed securities. That same dollar in a big bank will fund loans across the country and may well buy foreign currencies, corporate stock or other securities.
A regulator, legislator, or banker would probably define a Community Bank as a ‘financial institution with less than $1 billion in assets under management.’ Simply put, ‘assets under management’ means the number of loans and other similar investments a bank controls. This $1 billion rule of thumb is an easy metric for financial gurus to identify, but it doesn’t say much else and it certainly doesn’t speak to the general public.
According to the Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA), Community Banks are the primary source of lending for small businesses and farms. Even though they comprise just 10% of the banking industry by assets, Community Banks with less than $10 billion made 56.1% of outstanding bank loans to small businesses. But, small business owners are rarely concerned about a bank’s asset size. They do care very much about certain bank characteristics - utilization of local management, small business loan decisions made by local committee, and most importantly, personalized service.
Community banks offer a wide range of banking services and products designed to meet the needs of consumers, such as anytime/any-where electronic banking, competitive mortgage and consumer loan products, as well as small business and agricultural lending. According to the ICBA, directors of Community Bank boards are often local citizens who want to advance the interests of the towns and cities where they live and where their banks conduct business. Superior customer service and expanded client relationships are the highest priority of every Community Bank.
This concept is true at Heartland and further evidenced by the fact that we believe a Community Bank provides the best personalized financial services at competitive prices for the economic growth and well-being of individuals and businesses within our communities. According to Scott McComb, Chairman, President and CEO of Heartland Bank, “It doesn’t matter where you bank. It matters who’s at your bank!”
Heartland Bank has established a tradition of service to local communities and attracts customers who share the belief that the bank is an integral part of community growth and prosperity. If things are changing at your bank, maybe it’s time to change banks. Come on over to Heartland!