I want you to think for a moment what our country would look like if we did not have community banks? Let that sink in for a moment.
The story of community banking reflects that of the United States as a whole. Both were founded on the principles of independence and decentralization. Like our nation’s economy—the most powerful in world history—community banking has taken root through marketplace competition, entrepreneurship and investment.
I want to remind each of you that Community Banks are a part of a powerful group of 52,000 locations nationwide, community banks employ 700,000 Americans, hold more than $2.9 trillion in deposits, and $2.4 trillion in loans to consumers, small businesses and the agricultural community.
Community banks are exceptional small business lenders. While community banks comprise just 20 percent of the banking industry's assets, A recent study by Harvard Kennedy School, “The State and Fate of Community Banking,” details the risks government overregulation poses to community banks. The study found that America’s community banks, despite the crushing regulatory burden, continue to play a vital role in key lending segments, providing 77% of agricultural loans and more than half of small-business loans. The reality is that viability of our rural communities and small businesses are directly linked to community banks.
As you all know community bank small business lending simply cannot be duplicated by banks based outside the community. The technologies larger institutions can deploy have not proven effective substitute for the skills, knowledge, and interpersonal competencies of your local banker.
Community banking is synonymous with the American traditions of independence, self-reliance and entrepreneurship. Community Banking supports consumers, farmers, small businesses and rural America!
I want to encourage each of you to continue looking for new as of working with each other. Recently I read an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal that stated J.P. Morgan provides correspondent services to 339 community banks. I wondered why? Why would these community banks partner with an organization whose actions have significantly contributed to the regulatory burden you are all facing? Why would these organizations not be working with other community banks?
The community banking industry will be stronger when we work together and partner when needed with other community banks!
I want each of you to remember how important you and all community banks are to the towns you serve. More than ever we need to believe in the community banking model and the power it has to impact our economy.
Challenge your bank to move from a spectator into participant in advocating for this industry. Stand Up, Step Up and Speak Up for Community Banking!
McCurry, a native of MN and resident of Mitchell, SD, holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications / Marketing from the Minnesota State University, Mankato. Prior to joining the ICBSD as President and CEO, he directed the marketing, sales and government relations efforts at Santel