Thursday, January 26, 2023

The Difference Between a Community Bank and a Big Bank

I recently spoke to a community group, and subsequently a community bank all-staff meeting regarding the definition of a community bank. The FDIC has defined community banks in their December 2020 Community Banking Report that either exclude or include the following criteria:

Seems complicated. Especially when a community bank could have no office with more than $8.24B in total deposits but could have no more than $1.65B in total assets. A pretty small asset size, in my opinion. But the FDIC did confess that a community bank was not easily defined. 

If you ask me, the definition of a community bank is more subjective. Here is how I defined the difference between a community bank and a big bank.

A community bank lends depositor money here.

A big bank lends a little here, there, and everywhere.

A community bank is vested in the success of the communities it serves. When the community(s) suffer, so does the bank.

A big bank is hardly vested in the success of any one or a few communities.

A community bank's risk management practices, such as lending to certain industries, making character loans, deposit availability, etc. are made near the customers most impacted by those practices.

A big bank makes risk management decisions at headquarters in a location far, far away.

Community bank customers get the bank's A-team.

If you're not a very large borrower with eight figure loan needs, you're likely getting a bench player, if you get a player at all. You might end up with a bot named Michele or Michael.

Community bank leaders are at your churches, in your restaurants, at the ballfields, and in your community organizations.

Big bank leaders are not.

Communities are better for having community banks in them. Is that true for big banks?

~ Jeff