Community bankers pride ourselves on our connection to the communities we serve. During this difficult time, they need us more than ever.

Though we engage in a variety of service and engagement efforts throughout the year, April is a special month for community commitment. It is both Community Banking Month and Financial Literacy Month, in Wisconsin and nationwide (we have the Governor's Proclamations to prove it), and there are many ways your bank can get involved, even while social distancing. 

April 24 is Teach Children to Save Day, a campaign which encourages bankers to visit local elementary classrooms to teach kids about saving and spending wisely. To facilitate this campaign in Wisconsin, the Wisconsin Bankers Foundation is distributing over 5,000 free books for WBA member banks to use as a classroom activity. Visit www.wisbank.com/readingraisesinterestkits to see a list of ideas for how to participate even with schools closed. You can help support this program-along with many other financial education projects-with a tax-deductible donation to the Foundation. Visit www.wisbankfoundation.org or contact Foundation Executive Director Mike Semmann (msemmann@wisbank.com, 608-441-1206) for more information. 

In conjunction with Community Banking Month, the WBA is once again encouraging member banks to participate in Power of Community Week, April 20-25, by engaging in one or more community service activities. The goal of the campaign is to highlight how much Wisconsin's banking industry supports the communities in our state. During the 2019s Power of Community Week, over 2,400 bankers spent more than 2,700 hours volunteering all across the state. Visit www.wisbank.com/BanksPowerWI for remote-volunteering ideas and to report your planned activities. 

Most community banks don't contribute millions (or billions) of dollars to massive economic and social impact missions—the kind you see in news headlines from global corporations. Instead, we do something I prefer: we work to directly improve the lives of our customers and fellow community members, day after day. That persistent, personal service is one of our biggest advantages over online and other non-bank competitors. We know our customers and impact their lives, not just their wallets.

Meloy is CEO of First Business Bank, Madison and WBA Chair.