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    Facebook and Custom Bobble Head Show Community Spirit Every Day

    Apr 28, 2016

    No one at First Bank Financial Centre is more active in philanthropy and community building than its president and CEO, Mark Mohr.

    Named ICBA 2015 Community Banker of the Year, “Mark has created an environment where community involvement and volunteerism is encouraged and supported,” said Jeff McCarthy, First Bank Financial Centre’s vice president and marketing director. “He leads by example and because of our culture hundreds of organizations and individuals are impacted positively each year in the communities we serve in southeastern Wisconsin.”

    In fact, eighty percent of First Bank Financial Centre’s employees, including all management, have been involved in some kind of volunteer work over the past two years contributing an incredible 10,000 volunteer hours to approximately 400 organizations.

    So when the bank relaunched its Facebook page, they decided to highlight the CEO’s volunteer efforts – and show that FBFC is a fun and personable community bank. Heather Koltermann, senior marketing representative, noted, “We wanted something to create buzz and increase engagement with our customers and employees on social media.” Now whenever Mohr’s volunteer efforts take him out of the office you can find him (or his bobble head) by following the bank’s Facebook page.

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    At the John Roebling Bridge, Cincinnati, Ohio

    At the Wild Horses Monument
    (also known as “Grandfather Cuts Loose the Ponies”)
    in Central Washington
     

    Clinton Savings Bank Helps High School Sophomores Get a Reality Check

    Apr 27, 2016

    The Clinton Savings Bank partnered with the Rotary Club of Nashoba Valley, Mass. and the local high school for a fun, interactive Reality Fair about financial management as part of its Community Banking Month activities. It’s an annual event for 10th grade students.

    After researching a career and related salary, the students received a monthly paystub, complete with taxes and student loans. The students then had to use their net earnings to purchase housing, utilities, insurance, transportation, food, clothing and other personal items. They also had to deal with 401K contributions, entertainment and recreation temptations, and a spin on the Wheel of Fortune, which represented life’s unexpected windfalls and financial fortunes or misfortunes.

    Nearly 60 volunteers from local businesses, the community, and various Rotary Clubs participated.

    “This is our fourth year of sponsoring the Reality Fair, and I am delighted this event is now a tradition at the high school, said Rotary Club president, Jim Stone. “I really appreciate our partnership with the high school and Clinton Savings Bank to make this life-changing program a success.”

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    Nashoba Regional High School Sophomores pick up their paychecks and open Savings and Checking accounts before purchasing housing, transportation, and other necessities at the fourth annual Reality Fair, organized by the Rotary Club of Nashoba Valley with support from Clinton Savings Bank.


    Theme-Filled Event Permeates Community Banking Month Celebration

    Apr 26, 2016

    Community Banking Month is a highly anticipated and special month for Bank of the West employees. Each week in April the staff select a fun-filled theme for the week for each branch with many of the bank’s employees spending personal time to make decorations and costumes. On Monday morning before the bank opens the staff decorates their lobby with that week’s theme, concluding with celebratory refreshments and a weekly drawing on Friday for the bank’s visitors and customers. Many customers return for Friday’s finale with their young children. “Not only is it fun, it is a great opportunity for us to meet our youngest potential customers — and promote financial literacy to the next generation,” says Christy Bair LaZear, senior vice president & cashier at the Grapevine, Texas-based bank.

    “We are always excited to show our appreciation for our customers and to celebrate how proud we are to be a community bank,” says LaZear. “It’s a wonderful experience for everyone — customers and members of our bank family — to celebrate being part of our community.”

    To follow the ICBA Community Banking Month conversation on social media, follow the #BankLocally hashtag on Twitter.

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    BAC Community Bank Uses Newsletter as Story Vehicle

    Apr 22, 2016

    BAC Community Bank put a fresh spin on its traditional newsletter as part of a special outreach in honor of ICBA Community Banking Month. The Stockton, Calif.- based bank used the special communication to highlight its role as a job creator and supporter within its community.

    In a recent newsletter to customers, BAC Community Bank revealed that it employs 115 individuals, supports 91 families, and provides a full slate of benefits to 174 people. The bank also noted that its employees contributed over 350 hours towards non-profit activities and that the bank made contributions of $134,850 to 155 organizations in 2015.

    In that same communication, the bank also shared its long-standing ties with Visionary Home Builders (VHB), a prominent leader in the development and renovation of affordable housing in California’s Central Valley region. Thirty-three years ago the bank helped fund a project to improve living conditions for workers residing in public housing. Today, in addition to providing seed financing for many of VHB’s projects, the bank also provides a line of credit to help the organization with a project for veteran and family housing in the downtown Stockton area.

    Royal Bank: I Heart My Community Bank Because

    Apr 21, 2016

    ICBA Community Banking Month provided an opportunity for Elroy, Wis.-based Royal Bank to showcase its community involvement. Highlights from its month-long celebration included:

    • “I heart My Community Bank Because…” signs,
    • Reality Daz events promoting financial literacy; and
    • Cash Mob events in its Dickeyville and Adams locations.

    The bank also leveraged social media to engage with customers.

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    Unity Bank Ads Inject Humor with Celebrity Cameo

    Apr 20, 2016
    Unity Bank uses humor to make a case for consumers’ banking business with a short video featuring actor Gary Busey. The Hollywood celebrity, known as much for off-screen hijinks as his on-screen performances, impersonates bank president Jim Hughes and is ultimately shown the door so the banker can get down to business doing what’s best for his customers.

    First Green Bank –A Year in the Life of a Regenerative Bank

    Apr 19, 2016

    Orlando, Fla.-based First Green Bank is a community bank on a global mission—to support environmentally sustainable businesses. In support of its value-based mission, the bank embarked on a “Year in the Life of a Regenerative Bank,” project to chronicle its efforts to construct a living building with minimal impact on the environment. The bank also provides special interest rates for commercial and residential projects that qualify for LEED certification and offers a Solar Loan program, which encourages customers and employees to install solar panel systems for energy use.

    The bank also runs the non-profit First Green Foundation, which supports local start-up farming projects as well as projects that better manage water resources.

    “Favorite Bank” Touts Community Involvement

    Apr 15, 2016

    For the 14th consecutive year, The Murray Bank has been named “Favorite Bank in Calloway County,” an honor reflective of the bank’s long-standing ties to the community, according to bank president and CEO, Bob Hargrove. A new video showcases this involvement and is one several communications being promoted via social media in celebration of ICBA Community Banking Month. The bank is also using its Facebook page to introduce members of its staff through short Q&As, promote its local chamber of commerce with a lunch and learn, and advertise its sponsorship of the Murray Half Marathon this weekend.

    The bank also has several ongoing campaigns in support of local-area youth including its “Student of the Week” spotlight and its “spirit debit card” program, from which a portion of the generated fee income is used to support its two local high schools. In January, bank presented each school with a $10,000 check, bringing its total donations under the program to over $38,000 per school.

    Follow the bank on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TheMurrayBank or on twitter @TheMurrayBank. To follow the ICBA Community Banking Month conversation on social media, follow the #BankLocally hashtag on Twitter.

    Tioga State Bank Uses Testimonials to Promote Small Business Services

    Apr 14, 2016

    Throughout the month of April, ICBA is showcasing submitted videos and images from community banks highlighting their ICBA Community Banking Month activities. Today’s video spotlight showcases Tioga State Bank’s personal approach to small business banking with a testimonial from Dave Jones, general manager at CSI, a custom manufacturer of test systems. “They brought a team and asked good questions. [They were] the only bank that took the time to understand what we do,” said Jones of the Spencer, N.Y.–based bank.

    Video Offers Top 10 Reasons To Bank Locally

    Apr 13, 2016

    Looking for a good reason to bank locally during Community Banking Month? New Tripoli Bank offers its own Top 10 list for banking at one of its two branches in Lehigh County in Pennsylvania. As with former The Late Show host David Letterman’s famous listings, there are a few tongue and cheek entries like #5—Open an account and get a free puppy. But it’s top reason to bank with a community banker--because they believe people are more valuable than money—is representative of relationship banking for which community banks are known.

    Colorado Backdrop Sets Scene for “Unique” Banking Message

    Apr 12, 2016

    Skiing on snowcapped mountains and whitewater rafting through Colorado’s rocky mountains are two of the prominent backdrops depicting life in the Centennial State as part of a media campaign by Bank of Colorado to promote its unique style of banking for its one-of-a kind residents.

    “There’s only one Colorado. And there’s one bank dedicated to help you make the most of living here,” according to the colorful ad series depicting how the bank helps Coloradans not only live but thrive through its network of branches in Durango, Estes Park, Fort Lupton, Grand Junction and Windsor, Colo. The ads also tout Bank of Colorado’s commitment to educating, advising and partnering with customers to create stronger communities all across Colorado.

    Paying it Forward

    Apr 11, 2016

    Every now and then it’s nice to be reminded that a good deed can impact far more lives than the intended recipient. It’s the basis for the 2000 film “Pay it Forward,” and it’s what community banks do every day as they work to build stronger communities and energize local economies.

    ICBA, as the nation’s voice of community banks, wants to do its part, too. This April, in recognition of ICBA Community Banking Month, we’re shining a light on community banks’ altruistic efforts and providing customizable marketing and communications resources in support of our bankers, who serve as agents for positive change in their communities.

    From their role as prolific lenders for the nation’s small businesses and farmers (community banks fund more than half of all small business loans under $1 million and 90 percent of all agricultural loans) to their active participation in small towns, suburbia and big-city neighborhoods, community banks are proof that guiding principles, not asset size, is the true mark of a successful banking relationship. Incredibly, 20 percent of counties throughout America would have no physical bank presence if it wasn’t for their local community bank. This is just one more reason why we say community banks are the lifeblood of their communities!

    Here are some great examples that show us how community banks are stepping up and making a real difference in their communities. 

    Bank of Luxemburg, Wis., made headlines with its plan to set aside $1 million to fund low-cost business loans as part of a revitalization effort. “It is our hope that these improvements will help to retain and attract local businesses, increase property values and create a stronger sense of community,” said Executive Vice President Tim Treml. The fund supports loan amounts ranging from $5,000 to $50,000 and includes a fixed interest rate and special repayment terms. The fund's long-term aim also includes improved landscaping, parking lots and pedestrian amenities.

    Meanwhile, Marshfield, Wis.-based Forward Financial Bank and its employees continue to amass an impressive donations tally totaling more than $673,000 over the past four years. Not only that, but community bank employees logged nearly 12,000 volunteer hours over a three-year period. One of its more high-profile projects—a $150,000 pledge towards a new Stanley-Boyd Orioles sports field—was “part of our mission to give back to our community,” said Andrea Hazard, Stanley office manager for the bank.

    If the motivation for a community bank is to change the footprint of a community, consider First Green Bank’s value-based mission to support environmentally sustainable businesses in Central Florida while meeting the bank’s profit goals. The bank has also embarked on its “Year in the Life of a Regenerative Bank” project to chronicle its efforts to build a living green building.

    These are just a few of the examples that show us how community banks are stepping up to make their communities a better place for all who call it home. These community banks serve as inspiration and a reminder of the important role community banks serve in supporting Main Street and being true economic engines of prosperity.

    Check out ICBA’s Go Local Blog daily throughout the month of April, which is ICBA Community Banking Month, for more inspiring stories about how community banks are making a difference!

    Community Pride Award Showcases Civic Contributions

    Apr 08, 2016

    Pipestone, Minn.-based First State Bank Southwest awarded their 42nd annual “Community Pride Award” this week as part of its Community Banking Month celebration. This year’s honor was bestowed to Gary Hoffman, a former banker at a competing institution who gifted his $1,000 award donation to the St Mary’s Grade School where he volunteers in the reading class four days a week.

    “Our selection sent a strong message to the community that even though we competed against Gary for years, our award recognizes the personal commitment he made to the betterment of Worthington", said First State Bank Southwest president and CEO, Gary Raymo.

    The bank’s entire staff of 32 employees stayed late to execute the event, Raymo says, which featured the nonprofit organizations and sponsorships that the bank contributed to during 2015 totaling $110,000, and food and beverages from some of the bank’s small business clients. 

    “Our customers truly enjoy the opportunity to showcase their products. It truly emphasizes the community bank relationships,” Raymo said.

    During the event the bank announced a challenge match fund for up to $50,000 to the local YMCA to help retire their remaining construction debt related to a 2009 facility and community aquatics center project. To round out its Community Banking Month celebration the bank will run a series of articles and pictures every Friday in their regional newspaper noting additional contributions planned for the month of April before finishing off the month with its annual Shredding Day.

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    Bank Uses Celebrity to Promote Local Lending

    Apr 07, 2016

    Minnesota Lakes Bank created two video spots—one featuring its president John Poling and another Minnesota Vikings Cornerback Captain Munnerlyn. That video showcases the football player’s community involvement and why he chose to bank at a community bank. It also offers a plug for the bank’s social media presence.

     

    Video Puts Face to Bank Employees

    Apr 06, 2016

    Throughout the month of April, ICBA is showcasing submitted videos from community banks highlighting their Community Banking Month activities. Today’s video features employees at Community Financial Services Bank and how their involvement and passions in their communities impact the way they approach their jobs and serve their customers. From Nancy Adams who expounds on CFSB’s community efforts to aid underprivileged youth to Maggie Darnall, who was introduced to the sport of kickboxing by her colleagues now goes the office feeling more prepared and focused.

    Video Showcases Bank as Community Lender

    Apr 05, 2016

    A series of videos produced by The Community Bank speaks to the role of community banks as a funding source for America’s small businesses. Featuring the tag line, “Not on our Watch,” the video’s political bent stresses the benefits of banking locally and takes aim at misguided policies that protect Wall Street’s interests to the detriment of Main Street.

     

    Stay tuned to the ICBA Go Local blog page and follow the #BankLocally hashtag on Twitter for continuous Community Banking Month coverage throughout April. 

     

    The Community Bank Story

    Apr 04, 2016

    Minnesota Vikings Cornerback Captain Munnerlyn banks with a locally owned and operated financial institution. So does NFL Hall of Famer and former Washington Redskins player Darrell Green, who sits on the board for MainStreet Bank in Fairfax, Va. 

    These cornerback brethren share more than a love for America’s most watched sport. They’ve also found a home with their local community banks, which the players praise for their work in the community and personal relationships with customers.

    “I’ve appreciated the strong relationship with MainStreet because they stand for everything that is right in community banking,” says Green, a founding shareholder of the bank. “They work with their customers through good times and hard times, and they don’t give up."

    “Our culture is about accountability,” explains John Poling, the president of Minnesota Lakes Bank, where Munnerlyn banks. “It’s about embracing change and … providing exceptional customer service.”

    Both Green and Munnerlyn clearly see the benefits of relationship banking, which is what the community bank business model is all about.
     
    But community banks don’t stop there. They also pack a powerful punch when it comes to small-business lending.
     
    After all, community banks fund more than half of the nation’s small businesses. Not only that, but a recent Federal Reserve Bank study also found that community banks had the highest satisfaction scores among small-business lenders. According to the study, 75 percent of small businesses reported that they were satisfied with their overall experience with a community bank, compared with scores of 56 percent for credit unions and 51 percent for large banks.
     

    This is further proof that that community banks make a huge difference in their communities and in the lives of their customers. 

    As ICBA Chairman Rebeca Romero Rainey said during her speech at the ICBA Community Banking LIVE® national convention last month, “Our work matters!” 

    Romero Rainey, a third-generation community banker and chairman and CEO of Centinel Bank of Taos, N.M., also highlighted why it’s important for community banks to tell their positive story and explain why their work matters. 

    “Tell your story; tell it to potential customers; tell it in your community; tell it to your lawmakers,” urged Romero Rainey. 

    ICBA is helping community bankers tell their story throughout ICBA Community Banking Month with a variety of custom resources, including a news release, op-ed and sample social media updates. 

    Whether it’s the story of helping a small business get started or a first-time homeowner live the American dream, ICBA is encouraging community bankers to get the message out. By making their voice heard by the news media, customers and local communities, community bankers can spread the word about the importance of community banking.

    For more information and to get started, visit the ICBA Community Banking Month resource center today.

    Still time to Go Local for the Holidays!

    Dec 22, 2015

    Still have a few items left on your holiday shopping list? Don’t panic – you can still find last minute gifts for the pickiest people on your list at a locally owned and operated small business.

    Many small businesses that are owned by your very own neighbors offer exceptional products and services that are unique to your area. A lot of these one-of-a-kind items that can only be found in person at local stores make for great gifts year-round – even for that hard to please mother-in-law or particular niece!

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    What is your favorite local purchase you’ve made this holiday season? Tell us here, on Facebook or Twitter by using the hashtag #GoLocalHolidays.

    Want to find out more about ICBA’s Go Local initiative and how community banks support local small business throughout the year? Visit www.icba.org/golocal.

    Go Local Wednesday

    Dec 16, 2015

    Need to find the perfect ugly sweater or want treat the kids to dinner out? Plan to shop or dine local TODAY to celebrate Go Local Wednesday!

    Today, ICBA employees, community bankers and consumers from across the nation will visit locally owned and operated small businesses and restaurants to support community entrepreneurs. Share your photos with us at @ICBA on Twitter and use the hashtag #GoLocal.

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    Can’t get enough of shopping, dining and banking locally? You don’t have to limit yourself to just today! ICBA will continue to host Go Local Wednesday on the third Wednesday of every month throughout the year.

    Want to find out more about ICBA’s Go Local initiative and how community banks support local small business throughout the year? Visit www.icba.org/golocal.

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Community Bankers: Difference Makers 

Community Bankers: Difference Makers

Although April is Community Banking Month, we see Community Banks and their employees giving back and making a difference all year long. Take a look at just some of the many examples of how community banks impact their communities! 

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