Community Banking Month Spotlight: Royal Bank-USA

Community Banking Month Spotlight: Royal Bank-USA
Today’s Member Spotlight focuses on Royal Bank-USA from Elroy, Wis. In the following interview, Brand Development Manager Natalie Adams explains what is unique about this local community bank.

What is unique about your community bank?
Our employees. We have an extremely dedicated and knowledgeable staff with tenure that almost doubles the industry average. Our team continues to grow, which has resulted in a great balance of youthful energy and valuable experience.

How does your community bank uniquely serve your local community?
We have 15 branches located in rural communities of Central and Southwest Wisconsin with average populations of 1,300 people. Many residents travel to work, school or for shopping, and our geographic footprint allows customers convenient access to any one of our locations along the way. In addition, we’re big enough to invest in the latest technology for convenient banking, but remain small enough to offer a personalized customer experience.

What is the quirkiest, strangest or funniest thing you’ve seen at your community bank?
We found a lost tooth when counting a customer’s coin once; had a 6-year-old boy ‘water the bushes’ outside the front door while his mother finished up banking inside with a teller; and had a car run into the side of our building in Gays Mills. Each day brings a new surprise!

What is your proudest moment from your time at your community bank?
Last year, our presidents were featured on the cover of Northwestern Financial Review magazine. The article highlighted the unique structure of our bank leadership and gave a great voice to the personality of our bank. It was an honor to be featured on the front cover and extremely humbling for the bank and our executive team.

What is your favorite project you’ve ever worked on at your community bank?
After following many banks on social media, we decided to join in on the fun and launched our Facebook page in December of last year. This has given us a great outlet to connect with customers in real-time and has really helped to humanize our brand.

How do you celebrate Community Banking Month?
We have treats in our lobbies from local shops, teach about financial literacy and expand on ICBA’s #GoLocal and #BankLocally campaigns. Each branch has signs that say “I {heart} My Community Bank Because…” for customers to fill out and take a selfie with. There have been so many good ones already, including “because they helped me buy my house 5 years ago today!” We heart Community Banking Month!

Community Banking Month Spotlight: Community Spirit Bank

CommunitySpiritBankCommunity Banking Month Spotlight: Community Spirit Bank
Today’s Member Spotlight focuses on Community Spirit Bank in Red Bay, Ala. In the following interview, Marketing Director Emily Mays explains what is unique about this local community bank.

What is unique about your community bank?
We are our community’s oldest business, opening our doors on June 11, 1908. Community Spirit Bank was originally housed in the southwest corner of the Red Bay Hotel. We were located directly across from the barber shop, which was also located in the entrance of the hotel. Our original vault doors remain on display in the local museum. Our first president of the bank, A.J. Hackett, was one of the original investors and the surveyor who platted the Town of Red Bay. Our history is rich, and our roots run deep in our ever-changing communities. We are proud to continue to serve going into our 107th year!

How does your community bank uniquely serve your local community?
It’s service first, bottom line. We take pride in not just saying we offer amazing service, but showing it in every way possible. Our chairman of the board could just as likely be seen in his corner office or on his tractor scraping snow from the parking lot. When shorthanded on the frontline, our executive vice president/COO steps out of her office and runs a teller drawer if needed. We have a simple philosophy: whatever it takes to get the job done, and do it well. Service to our community is precedent. We serve our families, churches, and civic responsibilities with the same pride we do in banking. Making where we live, work and play a better place!

What is the funniest thing you’ve seen at your community bank?
One of the funniest moments is our very own Harlem Shake video we filmed in 2013. This video definitely brought out the wild side of some of our senior management. What is priceless about this video is our chairman’s role in “not having time for such foolishness.” This was certainly a fun way of showing a different side of our bankers, and for our community members that know our chairman, his depiction of no time for such nonsense was spot on!

One of the bank’s proudest moments?
We received a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity when our small town of Red Bay was selected as the inaugural Alabama city for the Smithsonian Institution’s traveling exhibit, “The Way We Worked,” as part of the Museum on Main Street (MoMS) tour. We were distinctly privileged to get to play many roles in bringing this exhibit to our Main Street. The work spanned 11 months in preparation. The Smithsonian tour was set up in the bank’s Weatherford Centre. (This is a building we took over in 1992 that was previously a bowling alley, snack shop and movie theater and was in need of much repair. The bank’s management had a vision and converted that building into a community banquet and theater facility.)

Well worth the effort, “The Way We Worked” tour explored how work has become a central element in American culture, following the history of the workforce and it’s evolution over the past 150 years. It brought in almost 6,000 visitors from all over the U.S., as well as four other countries, to our little town. This unique mission was an honor, allowing us to engage, educate and inspire far beyond just our local communities.

Favorite Project?
We engage in many local projects, but our favorite would have to be our ever-growing financial literacy program, Community Spirit Bank Money$mart. We started our program in 2013, partnering with the EverFi platform in seven area high schools. Our first year had just shy of 600 students receiving their financial education at an 86 percent certification rate. This school year we are working with nine area schools, have over 600 students registered with 4,045 financial education modules completed to date! Through this program students are taught and assessed in multiple topics of financial education, allowing them to become more informed, responsible citizens. Our hope is to provide our future generations the knowledge of common core finance decisions and skills to manage their finances effectively for a lifetime.

Celebrating Community Banking Month?
April is definitely the month to let that community banking light shine even brighter! We love our communities—they are truly like family. Each year we try to have a variety of activities for our customers and employees. Some of our favorites include spreading the community banking word on social media, giving away local gift certificates and hosting a selfie contest for employees. We also always select one extra special day for Customer Appreciation Day. We give away promotional items, fresh baked cookies, popcorn, cash prizes, CSB T-shirts and more! It’s a really fun day for our customers and employees alike. We celebrated all day this year on April 24!

We feel community banking is a calling, our president and CEO challenged all of us at the beginning of the year with this: “At the end of the day, ask yourself if what you are doing at any point is in the BEST interest of our customers. If it is, then the bank will ultimately benefit as well. Are your actions, words and deeds for you, or for the best interest of our customer? Every action we make should be for betterment of our customers! What is true, what is noble, what is right, is what we should do every day!” And we believe that is truly what makes a community banking different!

Community Banking Month Spotlight: Marine Bank & Trust

Marine_logoCommunity Banking Month Spotlight: Marine Bank & Trust Today’s Member Spotlight focuses on Marine Bank & Trust from Vero Beach, Fla. In the following interview, CEO Bill Penney explains what is unique about this local community bank.

What is unique about your community bank? Our entire staff is rooted in our community. Their passions support the needs and success of our community through their time, efforts, financial commitment, talents, vision and promise. The bank has provided more than $200,000 to more than 125 local non-profit organizations in the market over the last five years.

How does your community bank uniquely serve your local community? We sponsor many non- profits and charities, however, we most recently have directed our efforts toward financial education. We are committed to helping our community grow and prosper and we strongly believe that working with our local schools to educate children on the basics is critical to their long-term financial well-being. In the past six months alone, the bank has provided volunteer manpower and/or corporate underwriting to the Emerson Center, Indian River County Cultural Council, Quail Valley Charities, Vero Beach Opera, Riverside Theater, the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Indian River County Chamber of Commerce, United Way, ORCA, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson Association of IRC, Oceanside Business Association, Exchange Club, Environmental Learning Center and Youth Guidance of IRC. We also host monthly Chariman’s Luncheons to support small business networking.

What is the quirkiest, strangest or funniest thing you’ve seen at your community bank? Our employees found it funny, as CEO, I attended  a community event wearing a long fake beard and walked down the main thoroughfare with Mariner Pete, our mascot.

What is your proudest moment from your time at your community bank? Over the past several years, many Florida banks suffered from the financial crisis. We were able to overcome the financial environment and have gained market share, kept our staff, and grew the bank. We help families achieve the American dream and, in 2014, our mortgage lending team placed more than 139 families in new homes. After our area was devastated by back-to-back hurricanes in 2004, Marine Bank was one of the first banks to reopen and provide banking services to our customers. With limited telephone capability, we personally visited our merchant customers to let them know that we were open for business. They were so pleased to see us. We provided a little bit of normalcy in a very abnormal world. Additionally this allowed them to get their cash out of their business and safely deposited into the bank.

What is your favorite project you’ve ever worked on at your community bank? It’s difficult to name just one; however, some of the favorites we have supported are the Treasure Night Trunk Show, the Taste of Vero, Dancing with the Stars, the Christmas Parades and the Hibiscus festival shopping cart parade. We were actively involved in the building of a Junior Exchange Club (Excel Club) that assists high school students develop leadership skills.

Community Bank Spotlight: First Green Bank

First_Green_BankIn recognition of Earth Day, ICBA is spotlighting First Green Bank in Mount Dora, Fla. The community bank was founded in 2009 with a mission to do the right thing for the environment as well as its customers, communities and shareholders.

According to First Green Bank, it offers discounted interest rates for LEED-certified commercial and residential projects, and its First Green Foundation nonprofit provides assistance for installing solar panels. The community bank’s buildings are built or converted for energy efficiency, it offers charging stations at most branches for electric and hybrid vehicles, and approximately 90 percent of customers receive paperless statements.

This week, First Green Bank is celebrating Earth Day with a Facebook trivia contest and giveaway.

Chairman and CEO Ken LaRoe discussed the ICBA member’s mission and performance in a interview earlier this year.

Community Banking Month Spotlight: Bank of Ann Arbor

BankOfAnnArborCommunity Banking Month Spotlight: Bank of Ann Arbor
Today’s Member Spotlight focuses on Bank of Ann Arbor from Ann Arbor, Mich. In the following interview, President and CEO Tim Marshall explains what is unique about this local community bank.

What is unique about your community bank?
Several things come to mind for Bank of Ann Arbor.

First, we work hard but have some fun at our bank. Our playful marketing efforts have captured the attention of our local community. Our employees enjoy living that brand out in their day-to-day interactions with each other and our clients. We just purchased a 1977 Granny Smith apple green VW bus to drive around town to events and activities. It goes perfectly with our supply of apple green Converse Chuck Taylors.

Second, with the skillful and hard work of our team and the support of our community, we remained profitable during the economic downturn and have set new records of profitability for the last five consecutive years. Guess having a little fun is good for the bottom line.

How does your community bank uniquely serve your local community?
One of the special gifts we provide to our community is our Sonic Lunch concert series. Each summer, we invest time, money and employees to create a lunch time concert in a downtown city park that’s free for all who stop by. Over the past seven years, Bank of Ann Arbor has brought over 70 incredibly talented national and local performers for thousands of people to enjoy. Sonic Lunch has now become an integral part of Ann Arbor summers.

What is the quirkiest, strangest or funniest thing you’ve seen at your community bank?
One of my favorite experiences was from Sonic Lunch. Our performers for the day were none other than Rock and Roll Hall of Famers Martha Reeves and the Vandellas. As I was talking with Ms. Reeves before the concert, she said, “since you’re the bank president, could you cash these postal money orders that I have with me so I can pay the band?” In true community bank fashion, I walked Ms. Reeves over to our main office (which was only two blocks away) and introduced her to our branch manager. Making a little exception to our usual procedures, we made Ms. Reeves happy enough to be “Dancing in the Streets” with all of Ann Arbor.

What is your proudest moment from your time at your community bank?
A moment that I am particularly proud of represents a win for our whole team. In 2012, Bank of Ann Arbor was named as Company of the Year by our local news media. This award represented recognition by our community that we were not just an ordinary bank or company. It recognized the tremendous work that our bankers did to manage expenses, make wise loan decisions and grow banking relationships. It was so humbling yet exciting for our team to be honored with this award.

What is your favorite project you’ve ever worked on at your community bank?
There is a local nonprofit that provides medical services to the less advantaged population in our community. The nonprofit was anxious to provide more and better services to this population and began to expand and renovate its existing facility. Unfortunately, this was a classic case of getting the cart before the horse. No financing had been secured, historical cash flow would not support the size of the project, and fundraising was just getting started. Being true to our community bank roots, we worked closely with the organization in stabilizing the building to get through the winter months, helped them refocus all of their attention on the fundraising effort, and we were able to approve the loan the following spring. The building project is complete, the loan has been paid off, and there are more people using the services of this nonprofit.

How do you celebrate Community Banking Month?
We celebrate by helping to spread the word about the importance of community banking through our social media efforts and by supporting our team of the World’s Best Bankers as they serve our community.

Community Banking Month Spotlight: Provident Bank

ProvidentCommunity Banking Month Spotlight: Provident Bank
Today’s Member Spotlight focuses on Provident Bank from Iselin, New Jersey. In the following interview, Digital Media Coordinator Christine Hamilton explains what is unique about this local community bank.

What is unique about your community bank?
Provident Bank has been around for 176 years! We are the oldest bank in New Jersey and have an amazing history of strength, stability and commitment.

How does your community bank serve your local community?
Provident Bank is committed to supporting the communities it serves. The bank encourages all employees to partner with community and non-profit organizations for charitable activities and events throughout the year. In 2014, Provident made monetary donations to more than 400 community organizations and more than 500 employees donated their time to 32 different projects. The Provident Bank Foundation has awarded more than $19 million in grants and financial support to local nonprofits since it was founded in 2003.

What is the quirkiest, strangest or funniest thing you’ve seen at your community bank?
We participate in a variety of charitable events. We recently had 10 teams of five employees each at the Big Brothers Big Sisters Annual Bowl for Kids Sake, and one of our employees dressed up as a bumblebee (a nod to our “beehive” logo)! Everyone was happy to see the bee there, and the kids loved having a mascot around.

What is your favorite project you’ve ever worked on at your community bank?
My favorite project is actually something I am currently working on. We are in the process of redesigning our website, and I am an integral part of the design process and success of the project.

Do you celebrate Community Banking Month?
As we are relatively new members to ICBA, we look forward to celebrating Community Banking Month this year! We are also big supporters of the ICBA Go Local Initiative.

Community State Bank from Wisconsin

csb_iconCommunity Banking Month Spotlight: Community State Bank
Today’s Member Spotlight focuses on Community State Bank from Union Grove, Wis. In the following interview, Assistant Vice President and Marketing Director Gregory Wall explains what is unique about this local community bank.

What is unique about your community bank?
We have a stated core list of values that we use as a guide when we come to work every day, and when we’re out serving our community, friends and neighbors. As an organization, we ask everyone to live these values every day. We believe that by doing so, we have the ability to make our communities better places to live, work and do businesses. When our communities succeed, we succeed.

We are passionate and dedicated to…

  • Engaging with and building the communities we serve.
  • Creating a memorable experience every time.
  • Making the ordinary “Extraordinary”.
  • Honoring and respecting the trust people place in us.
  • Acting with honesty and integrity.
  • Embracing and driving change.
  • Lifelong learning and striving for excellence in everything we do.
  • Holding ourselves and each other accountable.
  • Encouraging and inspiring each other.
  • Education and financial literacy.
  • Having fun and making a difference every day

How does your community bank uniquely serve your local community?
CSB team members take leadership roles throughout the communities we serve. We have dedicated staff who serve on local school, county and municipal boards in addition to local, regional and national service organizations like the Kiwanis Club and the United Way.

But for an example where we literally “serve” our customers, our Ag team at CSB is second to none (Vice President Dave Moyer, Assistant Vice President Rachael Crane and Crop Insurance Specialist Cory Jones). They are such a large part of the agricultural community in southeast Wisconsin. In the fall, during harvest time when the farmers are at their busiest, our Ag team delivers them lunch in the field. It’s a nice break from the hard work everyone has been doing.  I’ve also seen them close loans on the hood of a pickup truck out on the farm. This is a remarkable group of individuals and only a small example of the team at Community State Bank.

What is the quirkiest, strangest or funniest thing you’ve seen at your community bank?
The Great Duck Rescue of 2014 has to be on the top of that list. The story goes as follows. A mother duck and her ducklings were wandering through our Mt. Pleasant office parking lot on a Tuesday afternoon last spring. They were on the way to the pond across the street. When they got to the other side of the parking lot, the ducklings couldn’t make it up the steep curb with Momma Duck. So, the ducklings walked down the parking lot trying to find a way around the curb and encountered a storm drain…OH NO! The ducklings fell through the grate and into the storm drain…Momma Duck wasn’t very happy! Some of our customers saw what had happened and jumped into action. They coaxed the ducklings through the storm drain to the culvert on the other side of the road, where Momma Duck was very happy to see them. The final challenge for this new family was getting across the highway to the pond. Again, our customers stepped in. They helped stop traffic on the road and then escorted Momma Duck and her ducklings across the street to the pond.  High drama for a Tuesday afternoon! The entire event was captured here.

What is your proudest moment from your time at your community bank?
CSB has developed a comprehensive interactive financial literacy program called “MyLIFE” (My Local Interactive Financial Education). MyLIFE is a program for high school students designed to demonstrate the importance of sound money management skills. It’s a unique learning experience for the students, and an opportunity to promote a partnership between the local business community and local schools.

In 2014 Community State Bank received the Governor’s Financial Literacy Award for the MyLIFE program. Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker presented the award to representatives of CSB. The ceremony was held in the Governor’s Conference room inside the State Capitol in Madison.

MyLIFE has been introduced at four local high schools so far and has benefitted nearly 1,000 high school students. The program has been so successful we’ve developed a MyLIFE Essentials program for middle school students.

MyLIFE Kris Bernstein

What is your favorite project you’ve ever worked on at your community bank?
CSB is very involved in leadership roles throughout southeast Wisconsin. We often ask ourselves, “If not us, who?” and “If not now, when?” One of the core values mentioned earlier was “engaging with and building the communities we serve.” Our recent Business Economic Forum Breakfast Series was a great example of that.

In March, CSB hosted two business economic forums. Business leaders were invited to join us for breakfast, listen to some great speakers, and talk about the economy on a county, state and national level. Day one of the event featured Racine County Executive Peter Hansen and Lt. Governor Rebecca Kleefisch (most of our branch network is in Racine County). Day two of the event featured presentations from Racine Area Manufacturers and Commerce (RAMAC) President Jim Ladwig and U.S. House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Paul Ryan. We had more than 250 guests over the two-day event.

Do you celebrate Community Banking Month?
We like to say at CSB we celebrate Community Banking Month every month! In April we traditionally have banners up at our locations announcing Community Banking Month, and we serve treats that were bought from local businesses.

Want to know more about the Community Bankers at CSB? Check out our “Get to Know CSB” section on our website. You can find fun facts like “Who used to teach disco in college?” or “Who wanted to be a racecar driver when they grew up?” It’s a really personal and fun section on our website.