Over the past few years, with the world economy in flux, there has been quite a lot of conversation about the state of banking in the United States. Through this, a distinction has consistently been referenced between massive banking conglomerates and Community Banks. The term "Community Bank” is used liberally in the media, but what, actually, distinguishes a "Community Bank” from their national or international counterparts?
One important difference is location. A Community Bank, even one with multiple branches, tends to be locally owned and operated. It focuses on the local community because it truly is a part of that community. Customers of Community Banks, instead of being spread out around the nation, live and work in local neighborhoods. Many Community Banks have long histories in their area, and have developed relationships with their business and individual customers that endure for generations. Often, these banks become a part of the local community in more significant ways; they sponsor local sports teams, help raise money for regional charities, and involve themselves in programs that better their communities.
In these uncertain economic times, sometimes people aren’t quite sure about the solvency of "small businesses” and may opt to patronize a large banking chain instead of their local bank, believing they are being more cautious with their money – the "bigger is better” argument. However, Community Banks are often extremely financially stable, and FDIC insurance is as readily available on a local level as it is for the national chains. The level and number of services available through a Community Bank is not likely to be any less than those you can find at the national level; Community Banks offer online banking, mobile banking, a full spectrum of accounts and loans and investment opportunities for both families and businesses.
As for investment, a Community Bank’s assets are much more likely to remain local. Community Banks invest their capital more frequently in their customers businesses and personal needs; the money you place in a savings account in your Community Bank is much more likely to be utilized to boost a local business or build your neighbor’s home than funds kept in larger banking chains with national and international investments.
Texas Gulf Bank, a Community Bank located in 3 Texas counties, has been serving their community for close to 100 years. Every region in the country has one or more Community Banks just as committed to their local community as the people who live there; because the owners of those banks do live there and are a part of that community. When shopping for a bank to handle your financial interests, consider supporting your local Community Bank!