Bailey Building and Loan may be the most famous community bank that offered mortgage loans and knew its customers by name. Customer service was the number-one priority for the small fictional bank owned by George Bailey in “It’s a Wonderful Life.”
Building and Loans no longer exist, as they’ve been replaced by banking institutions that now provide FDIC (Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation) protection. While the credibility of FDIC protection is a little more comforting than the honeymoon money “owner insurance” offered by George Bailey, some institutions rely on their credibility at the expense of genuine care for their customers.
However, just as Bailey Building and Loan was the heart of the community in the 1947 movie, 75 years later FDIC-insured community banks like Guardian Savings Bank are still playing that role by making customer service their highest priority.
What is a Community Bank?
The “community” classification is generally assigned to a bank if its assets are less than $10 billion. But what really sets community banks apart are the streamlined, personal services they provide to customers.
Guardian Savings Bank is privately owned and includes a dozen regional branches located in Cincinnati, Northern Kentucky, and Lexington. Each branch is part of a close-knit community where customers’ banking needs are both met and serviced locally. Within the branch, customers can talk one-on-one with a real person about opening an account, securing a home loan, or getting advice on the best banking options. And when a new question arises, the same person will be there to take your call or meet with you face-to-face.
Community Bank Benefits
For customers, the overall benefits of a community bank like GSB include:
- Personal Attention: You’ll know our team and they’ll know you by name. Customer service at community banks cannot be beat.
- Lower Costs: At GSB, our closing costs on a home purchase are generally $500, and $250 on a refinance.*
- Better Access to Loans: If you don’t check all the boxes to qualify for a loan, a community bank loan officer can identify options to get you on the right path.
- Standard Services Simplified: GSB offers free checking and traditional savings, free online/mobile banking and bill pay, and easy CD and IRA set up.
Community banks represent 91% of insured institutions, according to an FDIC quarterly analysis published in December 2021. Community banks have fewer branches and are regionally or locally focused, compared to large, national banks.
Without national, big-budget marketing campaigns to get them on your radar, your community bank is often the best bank you’ve never heard of.
They also offer financial support for civic and community organizations, schools, and causes in the neighborhoods where their customers live, work, and raise their families. A community bank is defined by its values, personal attention to customers, and local impact. Think “bank local” in the same way you might think “shop local.”
How to Find a Community Bank
Doing your research and identifying a smaller bank that’s locally owned and operated in your community could result in a personal relationship that makes all your banking needs simpler and your banker more accessible.
Visit one of our GSB branches or give us a call to discuss your needs with one of our community bankers. We’re here for you, and we’re here for our communities.