FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
ICBA: Community Banks Are Financial First Responders for Local Small Businesses
Washington, D.C. (April 9, 2012)—As the Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA), state and local governments, and community banks nationwide recognize April as Community Banking Month, the association, which represents nearly 5,000 community banks across the country, is 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, putting 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 they understand the needs and the challenges small businesses 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.”
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 (SBA) loans. In fact, community banks under $10 billion 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.
Gerhart also said that 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. “We encourage local small businesses to ‘go local’ with a community bank if they haven’t already,” Gerhart said. “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 with a community bank.”
He said small business owners and consumers can find their local community bank by visiting ICBA’s Community Bank Locator at www.banklocally.org. “Simply type in your ZIP code and the app will show you all the community banks in your area. You can even download free ICBA locator apps for your iPhone, Android or BlackBerry,” he said.