Community Banks Build Communities

Community banks are an integral part of Main Street; they reinvest local dollars back into the community and help create local jobs. Their relationship banking philosophy is ingrained in the way they conduct business, one loan—one customer—at a time. Local reinvestment helps small businesses grow and helps families finance major purchases and build financial security.

Community banks also are nimble in using new technology platforms, supporting emerging methods of payments and advocating tougher security standards to protect small-business owners and customers from hackers and other criminals.

What Sets Community Banks Apart  

  • Local Focus: Unlike larger banks that may take deposits in one state and lend in others, community banks channel their loans to the neighborhoods where their depositors live and work, which helps local businesses and communities thrive.
  • Relationship Banking: Community bank officers know their customers and may consider family history and discretionary spending in making loans. Megabank loan officers apply impersonal qualification criteria, such as credit scoring, without regard to individual circumstances.
  • Community bankers also work hand in hand with customers to ensure they have access to the best innovations possible to meet their needs—such as the most secure, reliable and convenient payment options.
  • Lending Leadership to Small Business: According to the Federal Reserve’s Small Business Credit Survey: Report on Employer Firms, community banks are the small business lender of choice.
    • 80 percent of independent businesses that used community banks report they were satisfied with their overall experience, compared with 78 percent for credit unions, 61 percent for large banks and just 46 percent for online lenders.
    • Independent businesses that apply for loans with community banks are the most successful and the most satisfied.
  • Timely Decision-Making: Community banks offer nimble decision-making on business loans because decisions are made locally. Megabanks must often convene loan-approval committees located in another state, far away from their customers.
  • Community Engagement and Accessibility: Community bank officers are typically deeply involved in their local communities, while megabank officers are often detached from the communities where their branches are located.

As local small businesses themselves, community banks only thrive when their customers and communities flourish. They answer to Main Street. Megabanks are driven by shareholder value and answer to Wall Street.

Source: Federal Reserve CDFIs defined as financial institutions that provide credit and financial services to underserved markets and populations.Large banks defined as having at least $10 billion in total deposits. Online lenders defined as nonbank alternative and marketplace lenders.

Community Banking Difference Infographic


"There are no 800 numbers. There are no video screens to 'chat' with. Customers and prospects have access to senior bank executives. Decisions are made locally and quickly…"

—Ronald D. Paul, chairman and CEO of Eagle Bank, Bethesda, Md.

Often referred to as America’s Favorite Lenders, community banks:

  • Comprise 99% of all banks
  • Provide more than 60% of all small business loans
  • Make more than 80% of agricultural loans
  • Have 52,000 locations across the country
  • Employ 760,000 people

To find your local community bank, visit ICBA’s community bank locator at

ICBA is the Nation’s Voice for Community Banks

The Independent Community Bankers of America® creates and promotes an environment where community banks flourish. With more than 52,000 locations nationwide, community banks constitute 99 percent of all banks, employ more than 760,000 Americans and are the only physical banking presence in one in five U.S. counties. Holding more than $4.9 trillion in assets, $3.9 trillion in deposits, and $3.4 trillion in loans to consumers, small businesses and the agricultural community, community banks channel local deposits into the Main Streets and neighborhoods they serve, spurring job creation, fostering innovation and fueling their customers’ dreams in communities throughout America.

One Mission:
Create and Promote an Environment where Community Banks Flourish

Learn how ICBA supports community banks across the nation:

Member Benefits for Community Banks Member Benefits for Service Providers