Putting Community First in Banking

How ICBA’s Bank Locally campaign champions community financial institutions

April is Community Banking Month, a time to acknowledge all the ways community financial institutions provide the foundation for thriving local neighborhoods. A new campaign created by the Independent Community Bankers of America, Bank Locally provides the tools for community FIs to share their pride and spread the word about the vital role they play in supporting small business – and delivers direct ways small businesses can tap into community banking’s power and influence.

“The value of community banking was proven most recently with their outsized role in administering PPP loans to small businesses in response to COVID,” says Rob Birgfeld, EVP and CMO of ICBA. “Helping small businesses in such a unmistakable way helped put community banking on the map for many who may not have considered it as an option. Bank Locally builds on that momentum as a true B2B2C campaign, empowering community banks to tell their story directly to business consumers.”

The story community banks have to tell is both compelling and timely: they consistently make more than 60% of small-business loans and more than 80% of agricultural loans. They also contribute tax dollars that help maintain strong local municipalities and neighborhoods. With nearly 70% of consumers shifting their preferences toward local brands and with a full quarter of businesses planning to switch FIs this year, the Bank Locally campaign is perfectly timed to reach out at a moment when many businesses are making decisions about where their next financial relationship will be.

The campaign itself includes a marketing toolkit made available by ICBA – a flexible framework of marketing materials, tactics and ideas for all channels that community banks can leverage to celebrate their local role, especially in marketing to small business. And the website and Bank Locator tool allows small businesses to find and research community banks right in their own neighborhoods.

“There are well-known movements that celebrate the value of local: Eat Local, Shop Local – we all know them,” Birgfeld says. “What this campaign shines a light on is that community banking invests in the businesses and communities where their depositors work and live. Banking Locally makes eating locally and shopping locally possible – and vice versa. It’s the engine that makes ‘local’ run.”

To find out more about how your community financial institution can tap into the power of community building and smart marketing, email info@adrenalineagency.com.