Life is full of ups and downs.
One day, you’re picking up the kids from school and taking them to soccer practice.
The next, most businesses are closed and need a PPP loan just to squeeze by.
Combine this with the fear that these uncertain times may not end soon and things can be overwhelming. But despite this, community and connection has held us together. These are the bonds allow us to push through this confusion as one. Community bankers play a critical role in creating and strengthening these bonds.
Community banks offer more than just banking services. They offer a relationship that can benefit communities in a variety of ways. Here are four ways community banks can connect with their local neighborhood.
1. Your Bank is a Part of the Story
Think about your neighborhoods’ back to school donation drive – or an annual 10K that raises awareness for a disease. These events bring people together to support worthwhile causes and help the greater good. A sense of accomplishment and pride are felt for helping the community. A key contributor to these awareness events are local banking institutions. Whether it’s monetary donations to a local non-profit, or a day of employees volunteering for a cause, local banks have a strong commitment to those in the community and are, simply put, part of the story in the community.
How can your financial brand become a part of your local neighborhood’s story? Ingraining a relationship-focused philosophy is a great way to foster new connections with members of your community. Encourage participation in events, invite them to learn about the difference you make in the community, or reveal the hidden hand you play in making their neighbor’s dreams come true. Invite them to become more and more a part of the community’s story, focusing on one customer at a time.
See how Community Hero, Amber Farley, plays a part in her local economy in our Community Heroes Episode clip below!
2. Banks Are the Communities They Represent – Product Trust (PPP)
Community banks may not have the well-known brand or logo of a large national organization, but for neighborhood residents, community banks offer incredible value and economic contributions. One example of this is through supporting small businesses. Oftentimes, in this past year especially, these businesses would not be possible without a community bank partner. There were many financial pressures and unexpected expenses that businesses had to face, and financial partners helped them prevail through these pressures.
When community banks lend money to small businesses in the area, they help build a stable economy for our towns. This creates more jobs for you and your neighbors and spurs growth for other locally owned companies. These financial brands are more attentive to small businesses and their needs. They are the source of the majority of business loans, PPP, and many more services. This strengthens the local community for two reasons:
- Small businesses are the backbone of innovation and cater to your local community’s wants and needs.
- Small businesses account for 99.7% of all American businesses, so they are crucial to a thriving community.
Your community bank is the knot in the fabric of these small business communities. You play a crucial part in their journey and serve as an invaluable guide to creating a thriving neighborhood.
Hear from Community Hero, Jill Castilla, and see how she helped small businesses through the crisis by bringing her team together in the clip below!
To watch the full episode, click here!
3. It’s Not a Duty, It’s a Delight
Building community isn’t an isolated effort. It takes a team of passionate and trustworthy employees that represent your brand’s values and mission. Your employees are one of your bank’s most valuable assets. It’s not surprising to hear a local bank’s employee greet a customer by their first name.
Customers will want to invest in a long-term relationship with their community bank if they know that they can count on such service for years to come. This personalized service is only possible with your front-line staff. Your employees are the ones who make this happen. Encourage your employees to get involved, volunteer, and continue to make differences in your community. Help them to think about their service not as a duty, but rather, a delight.
David Lenoir, Community Banker shares how he leads his organization and sets the tone all employees in the clip below!
4. Be the Change You Want to See
Customers are more mindful with their money. “The best deal” is no longer their only consideration when choosing brands to do business. The values, mission, and positions a brand makes is taking more priority. When customers and their banks are both invested in the same interest, their bonds of community are significantly strengthened.
As community bankers, look for opportunities to connect with members of your community on these unique topics. From supporting environmental causes to paving the way for the disenfranchised to improve their education, don’t shy away from the causes you champion.
Instead, lean into them.
Done right, this stance will attract, not repel, potential customers to your band and cement your position in the community.
Thank you, community bankers, for your continued commitment to help customers and communities flourish!
View our full Community Heroes series by following this link: