With all the fuss about Silicon Valley Bank, Signature Bank, and First Republic, i.e., how did it happen, who is at fault, what new regs may or may not need to be put in place, etcetera, I’m convinced this is actually a great opportunity for community banks. After all, community banks are unique.
I’m sure that there are folks out there right now who are wondering… is my money safe in my local bank? So, I did a bit of web surfing, just out of curiosity, to see what the worldwide web has to offer in terms of why community banks are a great place to do business and found this; an ICBA-sponsored website, “Bank Locally.”
It’s a terrific little site and if you haven’t been on it, you really should check it out. I’m also thinking that mentioning this site in your social media marketing might not be a bad idea. It offers great blogs on the advantages of working with a local bank and, given the somewhat turbulent times that we’re currently in concerning bank failures, is a great reminder (via a recent blog, for instance) that a customer’s money is always safe at a community bank.
The site is also a great resource for small businesses which, as we all know, are the backbone of our economy and rely heavily on community bank support and are terrific community bank customers. And, there are lots of them. According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, there are approximately 34 million small businesses in the U.S. and that number seems to be on a pretty significant growth trajectory.
“In 2021 alone, a record breaking 5.4 million new business applications were filed, and nearly as many (5.1 million) were filed in 2022.” In addition, these small businesses are credited with creating nearly 2/3 of the new jobs during that period. And younger generations, Millennials and GenZers, are far more interested in starting their own entrepreneurial enterprises than their parents were. Which means, of course, that community banks have a tremendous growth opportunity with younger customers… provided they can not only provide the personalized service of an in-branch visit (for which they’re known), but also offer that younger customer the online and mobile-app banking experience that meets their needs. Not easy, granted, when you’re up against nonbanks that offer slick digital services, such as two-minute online loan applications, but it can be done.
I believe that the silver lining to this bank-failure cloud is this: An impetus for the smaller bank community to be more aggressive with its messaging; a chance for smaller banks to “state their case,” as Rebecca Romero Rainey did recently in an NPR interview:
“NPR: Now, this week, we've seen the heads of regional banks trying to push back against negative sentiment. They're reaching out to their customers directly, according to Rebeca Romero Rainey, who's the CEO of the Independent Community Bankers of America. And Rainey says this is their message.
REBECA ROMERO RAINEY: Take a breath. Let's have a conversation. Let's focus on the facts.”
Ms. Romero Rainey also contributed to The Hill just the other day, with an opinion piece entitled, Main Street banks shouldn’t pay for Silicon Valley speculation. In it she says:
“SVB and Signature Bank were unlike many other banks, and absolutely nothing like the local community banks that small businesses across the country depend on for capital. The failure of these institutions presents an opportunity for community bankers, who are ready, willing and able to answer questions about the latest developments at larger financial institutions. When depositors ask whether they could be exposed to the risk and mismanagement that took these two firms down, the resounding answer from community banks is no.”
And, just a few weeks ago in the New York Times, Janet Yellen also made clear that while banks of all sizes are important, “smaller banks have close ties to communities and bring competition to the system. ‘Large banks play an important role in our economy, but so do small and mid-sized banks,’ she said. ‘These banks are heavily engaged in traditional banking services that provide vital credit and financial support to families and small businesses.’
As Ms. Romero Rainey recommends: “Let’s have a conversation. Let’s focus on the facts.” She’s right. Now is the time to do just that. Get the facts out there, for both your personal and commercial customers. You can even use the social ads we’ve been working on, like these below, to help you tell your story!
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Here at BankMarketingCenter.com, our goal is to help you with that topical, compelling communication with customers; the messaging — developed by banking industry marketing professionals, well trained in the thinking behind effective marketing communication — that will help you build trust, relationships, and revenue. In short, build your brand.
To view our marketing creative, both print and digital – ranging from product and brand ads to social media and in branch signage – visit bankmarketingcenter.com. You can also contact me directly by phone at 678-528-6688 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. As always, I would love your thoughts on the subject.