COMMUNITY BANKS: CLEARING A PATHWAY TO THE AMERICAN DREAM - R. Scott Campbell, President, First National Bank of Frederick and ICBSD Chairman
About this time every year, Americans embark on spring cleaning. That includes clearing away dust bunnies from lamp shades and base boards, determining home improvement projects and, generally, getting their financial affairs in order. After all, April 15th is tax day!
Enter community banks, a patchwork of locally owned and operated financial institutions located throughout small towns, suburbia and urban markets nationwide. Through recessions and economic booms alike, community banks have funded farmers and entrepreneurs (more than half of small business loans). And they've helped countless individuals build financial security and achieve their version of the American Dream, whether it's buying a home, funding college, or investing for their golden years.
As we celebrate Community Banking Month in April, I'm proud to count First National Bank of Frederick among the more than 6,000 such institutions that have embarked on a 250-year tradition of relationship banking. At community banks, loans aren't driven by the amount of fees and income they will bring the bank, but by the specific needs of our customer base and what's in their best interests.
When I walk down the street in Frederick, I can hold my head high in the knowledge that we didn't sacrifice our integrity or the hard-earned trust of our customers on the altar of Wall Street's quest for boundless profits.
Local, community banking, the kind we provide at First National, is built on something sturdier. It's the foundation for a lifelong partnership, where the interests ofall parties are valued. Ours is a bond nurtured through a lifetime of service, whether volunteering at a school fundraiser or spearheading a revitalization of downtown Main Street.
Is there any wonder then that community banks channel most of their loans to their depositors' neighborhoods, helping to keep local communities vibrant and growing? Is it surprising that as residents of Frederick and tax-paying citizens and business owners, we support the local infrastructure, making it a better place for all who live, work or worship here?
As locally based financial providers serving the people we see at PTA meetings and Little League baseball games, community bankers are accountable to our customers. It's fundamental to our business structure and the key to our longevity. After all, more than 2,500 community banks have been in business for more than 100 years!
As we recognize April as Community Banking Month, I want to thank our existing customers for their patronage and urge those who we hope to count as future customers to consider the benefits of banking locally:
Visit www.banklocally.org to find a community bank near you.
About R. Scott Campbell
Scott is the President of First National Bank of Frederick and is a 5th generation community banker. Scott graduated from Frederick High School and received a B.S. Degree in Business Administration from the University of South Dakota. He started working at the First National Bank of Frederick, after graduating from college in 1987. His community involvement includes being a Town Council Member, Frederick Development Corporation, WEB water development director, Elm Valley Community Club, Frederick Fire Department and has been an EMT for Frederick Ambulance since 1992.
Greg McCurry, President and CEO
Independent Community Bankers of South Dakota
Please contact us on issues related to consumer and small business lending, federal regulatory issues, the economy, housing, tax policy, and other financial services topics. We will provide you with information from the community banker perspective including interviews with ICBSD board members to help you with your story.