April is Community Banking Month!
When asked to identify the quintessential ingredient that makes community banking special, with no hesitation, the answer is “relationships.” And it has never been more apparent than over the past few months when we reached out to the community during the coronavirus pandemic to communicate that the bank was open for business and ready to serve in an hour of need.
It is what we have always done at First Bank where our focuses exclusively remain on delivering the products and services our customers need, while our local roots and accountability ensure our interests remain tied to our neighbors here in New Jersey and Southeastern Pennsylvania.
While helping our customers achieve their financial goals is our main focus, nurturing our communities by donating time and money to important causes and contributing tax dollars that help maintain local municipalities is also of great importance—it all helps keep local neighborhoods viable and vibrant.
We work hard to stay attuned to the needs of this community and relevant to our customers by remaining on their corner and in their corner. This dedication to creating healthy, strong communities has helped the community banking industry flourish and maintained our well-earned reputation as true relationship bankers. Here are the facts:
Community banks are economic first responders, processing more than 57 percent or 2.8 million loans as part of the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program, saving an estimated 33.7 million jobs.
Community banks outpace large banks in their average number of banks operating in both rural and urban markets by a 3:1 ratio.
Community banks are preferred small business lenders, with a 73 percent net satisfaction score, compared with 58 percent for large banks and 37 percent for online lenders.
Community banks have consistently demonstrated their safety and soundness with higher capital ratios and better loan quality than the largest financial institutions.
Community banks operate in areas abandoned by others—serving as the only physical banking presence in nearly one in three U.S. counties.
Community banks focus a relatively large share of their resources on low- and moderate-income tracts.
But it is not just about stats. When customers reach out to First Bank, they have access to personal bankers who are attuned to their needs and empowered to act on their behalf.
Our employees work, live, and play in the communities we serve – they also donate their time in the form of volunteerism to the local non-profits and youth associations that help our communities grow and stay strong.
In an era where bigger is not always better, we pledge to never lose sight of the all-important “relationship” and the personalized service our customers expect. It has been integral to our success since 2005 and is how we will continue to build a legacy that endures.
The Lifecycle of a Community Bank
The idea of “sustainability” is linked to a lot of our local activities these days—whether it’s reusing or recycling products, sampling culinary delights from the local bakery, or choosing to buy American-made products to support our national economy. There are plenty of reasons why eating, dining and banking locally makes good economic sense.
If you’ve ever participated in a career day at a local elementary school, you’ll probably relate to this story. A banking colleague visited her son’s kindergarten class, and while she was explaining the role of a community banker, one eager child piped up and said, “It’s like the lifecycle of a plant!”
He was right. Community banks like First Bank take in deposits and distribute loans that feed into a self-sustaining micro-economy and keep funds right here in New Jersey and Southeastern Pennsylvania.
It’s all part of a symbiotic relationship that community banks have with their communities. When you deposit money at First Bank, those funds are used to support local businesses, homebuyers, and everyday consumers. And the proceeds from those businesses employ residents, fund municipalities, and continue the cycle of locally based economic growth.
We’re In This Together!
April is Community Banking Month, and First Bank wants to thank our customers for putting their trust in us for their banking needs. Remember, we’re all in this together. Community banks are only successful if our customers and communities are, too. That’s why community banks and their relationship business model have thrived for more than 150 years. We know what it takes to create successful local economies. Join us in helping to build a more sustainable, vibrant economy here at home!