Small Bankers Go Above and Beyond in Bruce

Your friendly hometown bank is Richland State Bank, manned by a team of just five, who all wear many hats to serve their customers. Twenty-seven-year veteran of Richland State Bank, Pennie started as a compliance officer and assistant VP after working as an FDIC bank examiner. Tiffany joined the bank in 2015, drawing on her experience as a teacher and property manager to connect with customers as a personal banker. Despite their varying backgrounds, the team meshes perfectly when it comes to their motto: “Your friendly hometown bank.”

What makes Richland State Bank unique is the way the team takes time to visit with each customer to ensure they walk out the door having a better day. “Family and community come first in everything we do here,” says Tiffany. This community-centric focus makes sense, given the history of the bank’s involvement and commitment to the town.

These two Bruce bankers live out this commitment through active participation in the Bruce Community Club, a group formed 35 years ago to organize town events. Four of the club’s members hail from the bank. Their crowning achievement is the coordination of Bruce Honey Days, the annual three-day summer festival that attracts people from near and far.

The weekend packs in activities for people of all ages and interests – basketball, a car show, burger feed, 5K, craft fair, parade, inflatables, street dance, pancake breakfast, community church service, cow pie bingo, pork feed, music in the park, yard games, and even a friendly softball game between country people and town people to name a few! Leading up to the festival weekend, Tiffany and Pennie volunteer countless hours of their time on the planning committee, securing sponsorships from area businesses like their bank, and spreading the word to neighbors near and far.

Pennie explains their dedication to events like Honey Days: “It is our responsibility to provide the base for the community to help it thrive. We are part of the community, and we only do well if the community is doing well. Giving back helps the community grow and become better.” She adds that giving back through volunteering time and monetary support “is a way for us to show our appreciation.”

That appreciation drove them to spearhead a new summer concert series featuring local musicians. What began as a bank customer appreciation night with live music was such a hit that the community club decided to organize regular Wednesday night concerts and farmers markets once a month throughout the summer. Richland State Bank, Adee Honey Farms, and the City of Bruce are now proud to sponsor this concert series and farmers market. Townspeople of all ages turn out with their lawn chairs and golf carts to enjoy the free shows. The concerts also provide a platform for community groups to fundraise and businesses to reach customers from in and outside of town. (Funny note: Last September was open mic night for their last summer concert. Some friends decided to joke around and form a band called, “Noisy Neighbors”. What once was mostly a fun joke has turned into them performing at Bruce’s Brr Fest this past February.)

Bruce sure seems like the buzzing place to be. Thanks to Richland State Bank and the passionate community they support behind the scenes, Bruce remains “the honey of a place to Bee.”