ABA Banking Journal - June 2012 - (Page 21)
PaSS The aSPiRin
The BAnkeR-TO-BAnkeR exChAnge
The headache: are you still relevant?
We asked prescribers if they thought community banks were still relevant, and, if so, how they expected their bank to remain so. You can see three more answers—and join the conversation—at http://tinyurl.com/aspirinrelevance
Remedy 1: Being the “good local restaurant” Paul Siebenmorgen, president and CEO, Farmers & Merchants State Bank, $923 million-assets, Archbold, Ohio Well-run, progressive, independent community banks are very relevant and able to survive in towns across this country. I like to compare our position to another service industry. For decades national restaurant chains have crisscrossed America just like the “golden arches” of banking expanded coast to coast.Yet each small town still has a good, successful local restaurant that serves a good product with “hometown” service. I believe banks with good progressive products and “hometown” service will continue to compete against the large national banking chains with the same success. Remedy 2: Telling public our story John Bothof, president, Northwest Bank, Omaha, Neb. We have evaluated our marketing efforts and reallocated them to provide for more image advertising. We emphasize our commitment to service, strength, and the expertise of our talented staff. We have, in the last six months, completed one acquisition and are in the process of acquiring five offices of Bank of America in northwest Iowa. Our ownership is committed to the community bank model that provides top-level personnel as close to the customer as possible with the centralization of processes that do not have direct contact with the customer. Staff must stay involved within our communities and be seen.
Remedy 3: Joining nonprofit boards Brian Thomas, president and CEO, Clear Mountain Bank, $444.7 million-assets, Bruceton Mills,W .Va. As a community bank, we encourage our officers, and other staff, to become personally involved in a community non-profit board. At last count, our bank was represented on at least 20 different non-profit boards of directors. We see this as making a personal commitment to the community that many of our larger bank competitors and credit unions do not. While we may not have the capacity to make large monetary donations as a megabank does, we have the ability to provide human capital to solve local problems. To me, this is being relevant—making a difference. As an example, as a result of our community involvement, we learned of the needs of a local homeless shelter. We financed a new four-story housing facility for homeless families within the community. One of our senior officers also agreed to chair a new capital campaign for that organization as well. Remedy 4: Teaching business, more ways than one Wesley Sturges, president and CEO, Bank of Commerce, $145.2 million-assets, Charlotte, N.C. Clearly there’s still a place for community banks. Only community banks provide immediate access to senior lenders who can serve as advisors to our clients. These lenders give clients direction and guidance and also share
financial analysis. At our bank, we emphasize this service through our radio commercials, which are testimonials from businesses that we have helped be successful. We have also offered and advertised our “School of Commerce,” a program where we invite experts to teach classes to small business owners to help them run their business more successfully. Remedy 5: Serving firms that serve our towns William Grant, chairman and CEO, First United Bank & Trust, $1.4 billion-assets Oakland, Md. There is nothing in today’s economy more relevant than a vibrant community banking system. We focus on our communities every day. While our bank has a commercial focus, we avoid the label of “small business.” Rather, we strive to serve what we call the “Community Oriented Business Owner.” This could be a business of any size, but would be one where the owner recognizes the community and attempts to serve it through his or her business. The owner is a member of the community and is civically involved—just like First United. This emphasis enables us to remain closely connected to our communities. We also go an extra step. Recognizing that communities enjoy a high level of personalized service, we endeavor to bring our community-oriented business owners an entire team of bankers dedicated to meeting their needs and goals. We also look for opportunities to serve the employees of our community oriented business owners as they, too, are valued members of the communities we serve.
june 2012 | ABA BANKING JOURNAL |
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of ABA Banking Journal - June 2012
ABA Banking Journal - June 2012
ABA Community Banking: A purpose-built bank
Pass the Aspirin
Science of the complaint
Top-performing community banks
ABA Banking Journal - June 2012