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Switching Banks? Consider Keeping Your Money in Your Community

Washington, D.C. (January 28, 2010) - Looking for a new bank? It might take time to find the one that meets your needs, but it is well worth the effort. Choosing the right bank can affect whether you get a mortgage for your new home or a loan for your small business. It may mean better rates and lower fees. The Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) and 1st National Bank of Scotia recommend that Americans bank with community banks, which offer better rates and fees, high-quality service and personal attention from members of your community.

“More and more people are turning to community banks because they have seen throughout the economic crisis that we are good stewards of our depositors’ money,” said R. Michael Menzies, ICBA chairman and president and CEO of Easton Bank and Trust Co., Easton, Md. “They’ve seen that in good times and in bad, community bankers make common-sense loans. We stick to the same sound lending principles we always have and only make a loan if it makes sense for the customer. People also like knowing that their money is being reinvested in their community instead of creating greater profits for some large, faceless bank on Wall Street.”

With so many choices available, ICBA and 1st National Bank of Scotia issued a checklist to inform consumers of the advantages in choosing a community bank.

Community bank advantages include:

  • Quality service. Community banks focus on the needs of local families, small businesses and farmers.
  • Local deposits. Community banks lend in the community where their depositors live and work, keeping local communities vibrant and growing.
  • Expertise. Because community banks are themselves small businesses, they understand the needs of small-business owners. Their core concern is lending to small businesses and farms. In fact, community banks make almost half of all small-business loans in cities and towns throughout America.
  • Responsive. Community banks offer nimble decision-making on loans because decisions are made locally. And community bank decision-makers are accessible to their customers in person.
  • Trust. Because their success depends on establishing long-term relationships, community banks always look out for the best interests of their customers. They work hard to deliver only the financial services and loans their customers truly need and want. Many community banks are willing to consider character, family history and discretionary spending in making loans.
  • Civic loyalty. Community bank officers are typically deeply involved in making their local communities better places to live.

“Community banks like 1st National Bank of Scotia have been the bright spot in this economy,” said John H. Buhrmaster, President of 1st National Bank of Scotia, Scotia NY. “We have long differentiated ourselves by the quality of our customer service and our involvement in the community. Despite our size, we have continued to offer the sophisticated products that consumers and businesses want and need, including remote deposit capture and mobile banking. But the bottom line for us is relationships with people, not just transactions and numbers. The best way for consumers and small business owners to learn about community banks is to visit their local bank and talk with their banker.”

ICBA and 1st National Bank of Scotia also offer these tips to remember before switching banks.

  • Make sure all outstanding checks have cleared before you close your old checking account.
  • Open an account at your new bank before you leave your old bank.
  • Do not close the old bank account until you are sure any direct deposits or automatic bill payments have transferred to the new account.

To learn more about 1st National Bank of Scotia,

To find a community bank near you, visit ICBA’s Community Bank Locator, (

And to learn more about community banks, go to

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