No Tricks, Just Treats: Community Banks Win by Doing Good


As we think about Halloween costumes and trick-or-treaters, the Independent Community Bankers of South Dakota is focusing on the “treats” that set community banking apart, and keep our customers coming back for more.

First, let’s look at some facts. Community bank customers are more successful and satisfied than those of other institutions, outperforming mega banks and online lenders, according to a Federal Reserve small business credit survey. And they do it by staying focused on our customers’ needs, not their transaction levels.

They won’t jeopardize their hard-earned reputation by peddling goods and services their customers don’t want or need. And they don’t rely on impersonal credit scores or lend by committee, either. They bank the old-fashioned way—one customer, one loan at a time. It’s been a shared core value throughout all independent community banks in South Dakota since their founding, and it continues to help them serve the unique needs of our customers today.

It’s not just their proximity to customers that have won them repeat business. Unlike credit unions and the Farm Credit System, community banks effectively serve individuals of modest means and agricultural borrowers without taxpayer-funded subsidies. Independent community banks throughout South Dakota are proud to put our tax dollars to work right here in our state, helping to support local police and fire departments, schools and other municipal services.

Community banks help fortify local neighborhoods in other ways too through philanthropic outreach and civic service—providing much needed resources and attention to worthwhile causes and events.

The treats don’t end there. Nearly one in five U.S. counties are only served by a community bank. And, community banks as a whole fund more than 60 percent of the nation’s small businesses, which account for two out of three new U.S. jobs annually.

A Minneapolis Federal Reserve fedgazette article also recognized the role of the nation’s community banks as first responders in serving the agriculture segment, noting that when the agricultural economy takes a downturn, as it has in recent years, it’s a call-to-action for banks that provide credit to businesses and households in their local communities.  In fact, community banks provide approximately $180 billion in agriculture loans.

Through it all, just know your independent community bank will remain on your corner, in your corner—for the long haul. So, when playing “bobbing for apples” at your next Halloween event, consider where that apple originated and if a local community banker played a part in bringing it from farm to plate. Doesn’t it taste all the sweeter?