Community banking: What does it mean to bank local?

Where's the nearest bank or credit union to you? 

With more than 76,000 branches throughout the United States, you're likely to find a financial institution or two just a short drive from your home. Some might be extensions of larger banks, while others might be a credit union or one location of a small bank with a handful of branches in your state. Not every community bank has the word “community” in its name, but every community bank or credit union has the interest of the community as part of their mission. 

So what is a community bank? Technically, a community financial institution is defined by its total assets, or how many deposits the credit union or bank manages.  Sometimes a community bank may be distinguished from a big bank because its operation happens within a nearby region, like a single state, or a collection of counties in neighboring states. Since members of a credit union own the institution, the local branches may be connected by the members who live in the geographic area or work for a single industry. 

Fundamentally, a financial institution that serves your community has a vested interest in helping sustain and support the organizations and events in your community, as well as loan money to local businesses and assist with family financial needs. Your local community bank or neighborhood credit union feeds dollars back into the local economy by providing everything from a small business loan to financial advice, and from mobile banking to relationship banking. 

A local financial institution serves as an economic cornerstone of the community, and a trusted resource in your corner of the world.

What Is A Community Bank B

A local bank is more than a building at the traffic light: It's an institution that directly supports productive investment in the businesses that exist around it. A community bank offers business loans to the mom-and-pop diners, the two-person realty office, the father-and-daughter accounting firm, and the third-generation embroidery and trophy store all within a short drive of your bank branch. Don't be surprised if the community bank officers who work at the local bank or credit union may also be the neighbor down the street, the wife of your son's little league coach, or members of your church. 

In addition to providing everyday banking services, such as helping a high school student open her first checking account, lending money to a young family to buy their first home or offering financial literacy courses to sixth graders at the middle school, a community financial institution reinvests the assets it receives back into the local economy. A locally owned bank or credit union prioritizes the interests of the small business owners, local families, and community resources much more than large banks. Creating a cycle of sustainable banking strengthens the economic health and stability of every house and every business intertwining throughout your community. 

So where is the community bank near you? It’s not just the nearest place on the corner.  It's in every home and every shop and every vehicle and every one of the local families who belong to the community bank or are members of the credit union. Be sure to wave to all of them as you drive by.


Discover more about Sustainable Banking in our previous blog post, "Community banks and credit unions: How banking locally supports your city or town."

Tags: Community Impact, Banking