This month’s Hometown Banker magazine celebrates the many ways that community bankers support their local communities, including reflections from our IMPACT award winners whom we celebrated this month during our virtual region meetings.
While the COVID pandemic prevented us from gathering in person last March, during Community Banking Month, to celebrate the many achievements by banks and their employees who make our communities great places to live, work and raise families, it was great to celebrate these efforts virtually during our region meetings.
SSB earned PACB’s Region 1 Chairman’s Award for involving all of its bank employees in unique activities to support business and economic growth in their communities. Riverview Bank earned PACB’s Region 2 Chairman’s Award for three community service projects involving over 300 employers in 36 offices across 14 counties. Harleysville Bank earned PACB’s Region 3 Chairman’s Award for its annual giving campaign in which 120 bank employees helped to raise $42,886, which was matched 100% by the bank for a total of $85,772 and distributed to 57 local nonprofits in the surrounding communities.
Virtually every Pennsylvania newspaper has covered the extraordinary response by community banks to the COVID-19 pandemic, especially the work community bankers did to process the lion’s share of Paycheck Protection Program loans in our state. Our community bankers work hard every day to help their local entrepreneurs and community leaders build vibrant communities where families want to live, work and play.
Banking is an honorable profession and PACB is proud of the powerful role that our community bankers play year-round to support homeowners, local businesses, schools, charitable groups and houses
This month we also celebrate LINK Bank President and CEO Brent Smith, who recently was recognized among the nation’s 40 emerging bank leaders under 40 by ICBA’s Independent Banker magazine. Brent lives the community bank philosophy every day, and its rewarding to see Brent recognized for his contributions to the community.
Finally, Hometown Banker magazine recognizes Jordan Zook, a recent graduate of PACB’s NextGen“U” leadership program who was promoted to credit manager at the Bank of Bird-in-Hand. Jordan’s participation in the online management training program was made possible by a $1,500 scholarship he earned from the PACB Foundation.
Embedded inside thousands of annual financial transactions, community bank customers know the community bank experience is very different. These loyalists speak of loyalty to people. Customers will wait in line for a specific teller. Daily exchanges involve first names, and the unhurried pace of transaction was appreciated. There is stability in each bank’s roster of employees. Empathy and understanding go beyond a call-center representative or a customer service manual.
While community bank customers know their banks are generous and deeply connected to their communities, sometimes the efforts of their institutions largely go unpublicized. The PACB region meetings are an important moment in time when community bankers can celebrate their accomplishments and learn how others are serving their communities. In the process, we tell the powerful story of the community banking difference.
Turning to policy, Congress is currently debating another relief package coined CARES Act 2.0. PACB has actively engaged Pennsylvania’s Congressional delegation in support of provisions to create an SBA forgiveness calculator and simplify PPP forgiveness forms and the forgiveness process, including a presumption of compliance for borrowers whose loans were $150,000 or less. Among other provisions currently under debate is a liability safe harbor for businesses facing COVID-19-related lawsuits.
Here in Harrisburg, PACB continues its negotiations with the Wolf administration and the Department of Banking and Securities for legislation that would protect the state’s banking fund from future raids by governors and legislatures.
Thank you for your many efforts to make your hometown stronger. PACB stands ready to assist you with education, developing professional opportunities and legislative advocacy to help you make a positive impact on the lives of the customers that you serve.
Kevin Shivers is President/CEO of Pennsylvania Association of Community Bankers.