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Strategic Connections: The Meaning of Community

In a world of financial options for consumers and commercial business, the community bank has never had a more impactful opportunity. Making a profound difference in the towns that our community banks call home is “food for the soul” of the communities we represent. While rates will always be a factor in lending, it is the on-going spirit of the community bank that nurtures and establishes the relationships that lead to long-standing, repeat business. It’s about giving back to those around us as much as it is about operating the day-to-day business of banking. And, community banking is about doing what is right for the greater good not simply the almighty dollar. We’ve proved that time and time again during this last year of business.

While community banks may not be “hanging their flags” on billion-dollar stadiums and concert venues, we are making a difference where it is needed the most, at home. We’ve taken the time to help our friends and neighbors through, what for some, has been the worst of the worst. Once again, we’ve shown that the beauty of community banking is being able to do the “right thing,” at the right time.

We’ve taken the time to sit and to listen. To understand our customers and empathize with the struggles they have felt during the pandemic. We have done more than write loans and deposit stimulus checks. We’ve been there for our people, internally and externally, making tough, yet thoughtful decisions, every day. In business, this might cost us a little more in both time and dollars, but the extra effort pays dividends many times over as we positively impact our communities, customers and employees. Think about that…fundamentally most banks do the same thing. But it is the gift of being a community bank that sets us apart from everyone else. “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give,” Winston Churchill. How many times in our business lives have we really stopped to think about that? The work of the community bank has the ability to fuel the spark that moves mankind forward. Our words reveal our thoughts but it’s our actions that reflect our character.

Social media has offered us all a platform to share the good work of both the things that we do and who our people are. While many community banks jumped on the social media bandwagon years ago, those more resistant to this form of marketing are now experiencing its tremendous and instantaneous effects. Telling our stories and sharing the success of those around us is literally at our fingertips and has made sharing the good news of community banking more in the moment than ever before.

As we move forward into this next year, it will be the structure within our industry that will continue to set us apart. Recovery from the past year will not happen overnight but together, we’ll continue to shine brighter than ever before. #powerofcommunitybanking. 


By, Alex Paniagua