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Apr. 13 – It’s ‘Community Banking Month:’ Local Banks Keep Rural America Growing According to ICBA

Category: Banking & Finance

By Lou Phelps, Coastal Empire News

During ICBA Community Banking Month, the Independent Community Bankers of America® (ICBA) celebrates the nation’s community banks for their unparalleled role in helping America grow by lending to local farmers, ranchers and agricultural enterprises and serving as financial first responders to the agricultural economy, according to the organization.

“Community banks are essential to the overall health and financial success of rural America because they provide an overwhelming share of credit to local farmers and ranchers,” said ICBA Chairman Jack Hartings, president and CEO of The Peoples Bank Co., Coldwater, Ohio. “Many community banks have been serving agricultural enterprises and family farms in their communities for more than 100 years. And because community banks are small business owners themselves, they are better able to serve their agricultural customers because they understand the local market first-hand and have highly specialized expertise in the agriculture business.”

The Community Bankers Association of Georgia (CBA) was created in 1969 as a way to pool community bank resources for political representation, and today the Association has approximately 200 community bank members.

Across the nation, community banks operate 52,000 locations, employ 700,000 Americans and hold $3.6 trillion in assets, $2.9 trillion in deposits and $2.4 trillion in loans to consumers, small businesses and the agricultural community.

Community banks have consistently been the largest provider of agricultural credit within the commercial banking sector and are often the catalysts for new and expanded business opportunities within their communities to ensure long-term economic viability and vitality. In fact, community banks provide $57 billion in agriculture loans.

“Community banks stimulate rural economies in a multitude of ways, including creating jobs, maintaining the local tax base and facilitating development of the infrastructure and public services necessary to keep rural communities vibrant,” Hartings said.

Information to locate a local community bank is available at www.banklocally.org.

The Independent Community Bankers of America® represents more than 6,000 community banks of all sizes and charter types.

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