Community Bank Spotlight: Farmers & Merchants Bank

During the 2014-2015 school year, Farmers & Merchants Bank (F&M Bank) has provided nearly 1,000 area high school students with critical money management skills via its My Money, My Future financial literacy program. Funded by the bank at no cost to local schools or taxpayers, My Money, My Future is an interactive web-based financial management program that uses the latest in new media technology to bring complex, real-world financial concepts into the classroom.

Last school year alone, students completed 7,901 individual modules, achieving more than 75 percentage points in knowledge gain according to pre- and post-assessment testing. Topics covered included saving, investing, credit scores, and consumer fraud. Students showed the most improvement with the Financing Higher Education module, underscoring the real-world needs the program addresses.

In a recent press release F&M Bank President Dean Withers said, “Farmers & Merchants Bank is very proud of the number of students we have reached with critical financial education as it is just one of the many indicators of our commitment to the community.”

Read more on how Farmers & Merchants Bank educated area students.

Farmers Merchants Bank

Community Banking Spotlight: York Traditions Bank

Community Banking Spotlight: York Traditions Bank
Today’s Member Spotlight focuses on York Traditions Bank from York, Penn. Marketing Manager Suzanne Becker provided insight on the York Young Professionals Event from earlier this spring.

York Traditions Bank held its monthly social at the bank’s administrative headquarters during the middle of Community Banking Month. This particular meeting of York Young Professionals allowed for the group’s members to meet and hear from York’s community and business leaders, but also allowed for the bank staff to interact with younger members, such as millennials and Gen Xers, of the community.

During the York Young Professionals’ event, York Traditions Bank’s Founder, Chairman and CEO Mike Kochenour told them that “your generation is making things happen in York! Continue to take opportunities to lead. Take risks. Every day, strive to be the best you can be. Give back. But most of all, be genuine and always do it for the right reasons.”

YTB-Fall Newsletter_Millennials

During the fall of 2014, ICBA released its “American Millennials and Banking – A Cross-Generational Study” to better understand the perception of millennials, Gen X and baby boomers have of independent community banks. As a generation of nearly 80 million, millennials are changing the face of banking; they are hungry for financial knowledge and are self-styled entrepreneurs.

To learn more about millennials and to view ICBA’s 2014 Millennial Survey, visit http://www.icba.org/millennialstudy/.

Community Bank Spotlight: Heartland Bank

Community Banking Month Spotlight: Heartland Bank
Today’s Member Spotlight focuses on Heartland Bank from Gahanna, Ohio. In the following interview, Kathy Williams explains what is unique about this local community bank.

What is unique about your community bank?
President Scott McComb and our management team truly let their actions speak louder than their words. This was most proudly demonstrated when Scott, several senior managers and local branch staff collectively organized and provided a hot lunch to workers cleaning the premises of a metal finishing company that has been our customer for more than 20 years. As the employees and cleaning crew worked tirelessly to start the lengthy process of cleaning up and rebuilding, the staff at Heartland rallied to provide a cook-out for the workers to boost their spirits and prove that their bank is supporting them through the good times and the not-so-good times.

The strangest component of this story is that the idea started at the top – from Scott himself. While brainstorming with his staff, he very openly admitted that he wanted to do something extra for this customer as the fire at his business nearly took the life of the owner himself. An on-site visit was not nearly enough, so he quickly decided that taking time out of a busy workday was the least he and his staff could do as they grilled burgers and hot dogs to provide lunch for the dedicated workers.

How did you celebrate Community Banking Month?
During Community Banking Month, our marketing department strives to post some fun ‘community bank’ facts on social media. They may even consider a homepage story on our website. Additionally, they include details about the month on our eMoney Matters newsletter.

Community Banking Month Spotlight: The Murray Bank

Community Banking Month Spotlight: The Murray Bank
Today’s Member Spotlight focuses on The Murray Bank from Murray, Ky. In the following interview, Marketing Coordinator Tim Stark explains how his community bank’s school spirit makes it unique.

What is unique about your community bank?
As the only locally owned bank in our community, The Murray Bank is heavily involved with both of our local school systems. We came up with a creative way to not only help, but to allow customers and fans to have a way to show their school spirit and earn money for their prospective school system at the same time. The Murray Bank offers two “Spirit Debit Cards,” one for each of our local school systems. Each card features a logo of the school of choice on the face of the card, and customers can choose which school-themed card they would like to use. For each swipe of the Spirit Debit Cards, The Murray Bank shares the fee income per transaction with that school. In February 2015, The Murray Bank was pleased to present each school with a check in the amount of $5,500. With this year’s donation, The Murray Bank Spirit Debit Card donation totals more than $27,500 to each school.

What is the quirkiest, strangest or funniest thing you’ve seen at your community bank?
One of the funniest things I have seen in my short time here was when we participated in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge last year. The reactions of the president, vice presidents and other officers were priceless. To have more than half of our office staff participating in one way or another, and to be able to have some of our local ALS patients come out and watch, was a very special day. To see them laughing at us freezing as the ice water was poured on us was worth every chill!

What is your proudest moment from your time at your community bank?
One of the proudest moments I have happens every day when I go out into the community and visit with our customers and future customers. I am proud to work for an organization that is community oriented and community supported. And to hear our customers talk about how they are proud to bank with us because of what we do for our hometown every day, makes me proud every day.

What is your favorite project you’ve ever worked on at your community bank?
My favorite project I have worked on so far has been The Murray Bank “Back to School Family Movie Matinee.” We offer an opportunity for our community to come out and have a family day at our local theater, right before the kids start back to school in the fall. We pay the price of admission and offer free popcorn and soda to all who attend. We offer door prizes, free pictures made with props from the movie and an overall fun atmosphere as our staff works the ticket counter and refreshment stand. Last year we showed the movie “Planes: Fire and Rescue” and brought out the local fire department and firefighters for the kids to interact with. The kids could get into the fire trucks, talk with the local firefighters, and have their pictures made with the firefighters.

Community Banking Month Spotlight: First Bank

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Today’s Member Spotlight focuses on First Bank in Southern Pines, N.C. In the following interview, Senior Vice President of Marketing and Digital Banking Hunter Young explains what is unique about this local community bank.

What is unique about your community bank?
We are positioned in the “sweet spot” for serving our communities. We are large enough to invest in the financial tools personal and business customers want today, but small enough to provide highly personalized service.

How does your community bank uniquely serve your local community?
Most of our associates have been invested in their respective communities since the day they were born. It’s easy to serve your neighbors when you have such an intimate knowledge of the history, culture and needs of your community.

What is the quirkiest, strangest or funniest thing you’ve seen at your community bank? Holidays bring out the best in our associates. Whether it’s a leprechaun or Santa Claus, you never know who might be helping you when you walk in to one of our branches.

What is your proudest moment from your time at your community bank?
Hearing the story of a single dad who lost his wife during childbirth and who needed help repairing his credit to afford a first home for him and his child. Our branch staff supported him through the darkest period of his life and helped him build his credit back and get him into a home where he could raise his son. That is the epitome of community banking to me.

What is your favorite project you’ve ever worked on at your community bank?
Working with our customer intelligence team on the largest data project in our bank’s history: a full analysis of every transaction our customers make to understand exactly how clients bank with us. The information was eye-opening for many of our associates and will ultimately help us serve the variety of relationships we have today better.

How do you celebrate Community Banking Month?
April is a month we devote to the future! We spend the month teaching kids about financial literacy.