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Community Banks Offer Consumers the Best Protection

Washington, D.C. (March 7, 2011)-As part of the 13th annual National Consumer Protection Week, being held March 6-12, the Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) wants consumers to know the many ways that community banks protect their customers.

"Consumer protection is the hallmark of community banking," said Jim MacPhee, ICBA chairman and CEO of Kalamazoo County State Bank, Schoolcraft, Mich. "Community banks are relationship lenders that work one-on-one with their customers. Our mission as community bankers is simple-we strive to serve our local customers and safeguard their best interests."

ICBA wants consumers to know that community bank advantages include:

  • Quality service. Community banks focus on the needs of local families, small businesses and farmers.
  • Local deposits. Community banks lend in the communities where their depositors live and work, keeping local communities vibrant and growing.
  • Local Expertise. Because community banks are themselves small businesses, they understand the needs of small-business owners. Their core concern is lending to small businesses and farms. In fact, community banks make almost half of all small-business loans in cities and towns throughout America.
  • Responsiveness. Community banks offer nimble decision-making on loans because decisions are made locally. And community bank decision-makers are accessible to their customers in person.
  • Trust. Because their success depends on establishing long-term relationships, community banks always look out for the best interests of their customers. They work hard to deliver only the financial services and loans their customers truly need and want. Many community banks are willing to consider character, family history and discretionary spending in making loans.
  • Civic loyalty. Community bank officers are typically deeply involved in making their local communities better places to live.

"It's also important for consumers to know that community banks are good stewards of their depositor's money," MacPhee said. "Our customers' deposits, insured by the FDIC, are safe in community banks. No one has ever lost a penny of deposits insured by the FDIC."

National Consumer Protection Week is a coordinated consumer education campaign to encourage individuals across the country to know and take advantage of their rights. Go to http://consumer.gov/ncpw/ to learn more. To find a community bank, visit ICBA's community bank locator. For more information about community banks visit www.icba.org.