As the Independent Community Bankers of America and BCBank Inc. in Philippi recognize April as Community Banking Month, they are reminding everyone about the critical role community banks serve in supporting local small businesses.
Community banks are able to serve as financial first responders to small businesses because they operate locally, which puts local deposits back to work in the community through loans to local residents and small businesses.
"Small business lending has always been the bread and butter of community banking, and because community banks are small businesses themselves that operate in the same community as their small business customers, they understand the needs of small businesses and the challenges they face better than anyone else in the marketplace," said Jeff Gerhart, ICBA chairman and chairman of Bank of Newman Grove, Neb. "Plus, community banks are able to take on an even bigger role as local job creators by fueling so many of the small businesses within their community - driving economic growth and prosperity on Main Street."
Gerhart also said because many community banks have been around for more than 100 years, they have played a pivotal role in helping to establish and grow their local economies.
For their size, community banks are prolific small business lenders - providing a substantial number of small business loans across the country, including Small Business Administration loans. In fact, community banks under $10 billion in assets provide nearly 60 percent of small business loans between $100,000 and $1 million. By driving local economies and creating local jobs, community banks are an integral part of our nation's financial system. Representing more than 24,000 locations nationwide and employing nearly 300,000 Americans, ICBA members hold more than $1.2 trillion in assets, $1 trillion in deposits, and nearly $750 billion in loans to consumers, small businesses and the agricultural community.
"We encourage local small businesses to go local with a community bank if they haven't already," said Jeff Rogers, president/CEO, BCBank Inc. "I have no doubt that they'll be satisfied with the superior customer service, market knowledge and common-sense products that come with banking locally at a community bank."