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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Don’t Be Spooked: Switching To a Local Community Bank Is a Hometown Investment You Can Be Proud of—Not Scared of

Washington, D.C. (Oct. 15, 2012)—As Halloween approaches, the Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) is once again reminding America’s consumers that their local community bank is a safe haven from scary bank practices that can leave many banking customers spooked. With more than 7,000 community banks across the nation, banking with your local community bank is a hometown investment you can be proud of—not scared of.

“As local small businesses themselves, community banks only thrive when their customers and communities do the same, so taking care of our customers and looking out for the best interest of our community is just the way they do business—no tricks about it,” said Jeff Gerhart, chairman of ICBA and of Bank of Newman Grove, Neb.

This Halloween season, savvy consumers should treat themselves to what a community bank offers:

  • Sweet Service. Community banks are relationship lenders that focus on the needs of local families, businesses and farmers. Because they know their customers and their customers know them, they are able to provide superior, personal customer service. When consumers call their local community bank, they’ll be reassured to know that they won’t be talking to someone halfway across the globe. Instead, they will be talking with their community banker who lives and works in the same community they do.

  • Deposits. Community banks lend locally where their depositors live and work, keeping local communities vibrant and growing. By choosing a community bank, you’ll be putting money where it belongs—back into the community you call home. And since community banks pay federal, state and local taxes, they are also a key supporter of their community’s local infrastructure, making it a better place for all residents to reside. Some tax-subsidized credit unions masquerade as community banks but do not pay any taxes to support their local communities.

  • Expertise. Because community bankers live and work in the same communities as their local customers, they understand their local marketplace and the ups and downs of economic cycles in their community. This is especially helpful in allowing them to serve the needs of their small business customers who rely on them as strategic partners in their small business endeavors. Community banks rely on the health of the local marketplace so they stick with their customers through good times and bad.

  • Local Decision-Making. Instead of being headquartered hundreds of miles away, community bankers are accessible to their customers on site, where they can talk to a real human being—not a robot. Since many community banks are willing to consider character, family history and discretionary spending, they are often able to be more nimble in their decision-making when it comes to loan needs and qualification and in the selection of financial products and services.

  • Trust, not Tricks. Community banks offer relationships you can bank on for years to come. Because many community banks have been around for over 100 years and are often family-owned and -operated, you’ll know that the financial needs of you and your family are being met by local residents running the financial institution that has your best interest in mind. They wouldn’t be in business if they didn’t.

  • Civic Loyalty. Community bankers are typically deeply involved and committed to making their local communities a better place to live. In fact, many community banks across the country donate service hours and money to important local causes. Click here to see the 2012 winners of the ICBA National Community Bank Service Awards.

Whether located in small towns, suburbia or big-city neighborhoods, community banks improve America’s communities. In fact, community banks under $10 billion provide nearly 60 percent of small business loans between $100,000 and $1 million. 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.

To find your local community bank, visit 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. Bank safe, and Happy Halloween!!!




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