Ever notice the spike in good news this time of year? Perhaps it’s a biproduct of the holidays and the charitable acts and general merriment that abound during the season. Maybe we’re just conditioned to take stock of our works as we embrace the new year and the promise it holds.
Whatever the reason, positive press is about more than tooting one’s own horn. It’s about positioning your community bank as a responsible local business leader, drawing attention to key issues, and ultimately strengthening banking relationships within the community.
Here are a few examples of community banks that have gotten the word out—in the press, on social media and through various outreach initiatives. They serve as a testament to the vital role community banks serve in their communities and a poignant reminder that no good deed should go unrecognized.
Kicking off the year with good news was Clinton, N.J.-based Unity Bank, which announced plans to award approximately 200 employees with a $750 one-time bonus on the heels of the passage of the federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which reforms the tax code for individuals and businesses.
“Unity’s employees constantly demonstrate their commitment to our customers and the community, not only in their work responsibilities, but by donating their personal time and resources to benefit those in need,” James Hughes, president and CEO of the $1.3 billion-asset bank, said in a statement. “We foster an entrepreneurial culture at Unity where the employees and bank can grow together and this decision fits perfectly with that philosophy.”
Palm Coast, Fla.-based Intercoastal Bank has used social media for the past five years to help build its reputation as a trusted advisor. In addition to creating a blog post to cover various topics from cybersecurity to debt repayment, the bank uses YouTube videos and a community news page on its website to spotlight various community events and promote its commitment to various United Way and Take Stock in Children initiatives.
“We’re a group of bankers who care about our community,” Cheryl Tanenbaum, president of the $314 million-asset Intracoastal Bank, told Independent Banker. “That’s what it boils down to.” And customers have taken note. Intracoastal has won the Flagler/Palm Coast News-Tribune Readers’ Choice Award every year since 2010.
Tompkins Financial Corp. also leverages social media to promote charitable works. The $6.4 billion-asset financial services holding company in Ithaca, N.Y., posts quarterly contests on the Facebook pages of each of its four community banks. In each Community Minute Challenge, six nonprofit organizations submit 60-second videos about their work. The public votes, and the winner receives a donation of between $1,000 and $5,000.
Independence Bank in Owensboro, Ky., ranked 29th in American Banker’s Best Banks to Work For issue, which highlighted the bank’s “Green Acre” initiative through which employees harvest crops to donate to local food banks. The initiative has drawn high praise from its benefactors. “We’re just doing good for our community,” staffer Cathy Peyton told American Banker. “It’s a good feeling to know you’re helping people.”
And coming in at No. 36 on Independent Banker magazine’s 50 people, places and things community bankers love was Glenwood Springs, Colo.-based Alpine Bank’s debit card donation program. For every debit card swipe, the $3.2 billion-asset bank donates 10 cents to nonprofit organizations in the cardholder’s community. Last year’s tally yielded donations of nearly $1 million!
Have a feel-good story to share and need pointers on how to get the word out? Make getting the word out one of your New Year’s resolutions and stay tuned for details about our upcoming webinar filled with tips and tricks to help get your newsworthy items noticed.