Local Community Banks Build Lasting Relationships | Sponsored Features

Why should someone consider using a local and community bank rather than a regional or national bank?

Community bank customers generally don’t have to worry about trying to navigate a maze of corporate contacts or out-of-state offices to get their questions answered or issues resolved quickly. . Often times, they’re friends with their local banker – or even the CEO – who lives, works, worships, volunteers, and raises a family in the same community as them. They feel comfortable contacting their banker directly when they need help.

Many community banks are owned by families or large groups of local investors who care about their communities and want them to prosper. Oklahoma’s early bankers, for example, knew the heartbeat of the local community, understood its economy, and made all decisions locally.

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Thomas E. Bennett Jr.

“When you buy from local merchants or bank from a local bank, the money stays in your community,” said Tom Bennett Jr., president and co-CEO of First Oklahoma Bank. “Deposits made in a local bank are in turn used to provide loans to more local businesses and individuals. Whereas if you make deposits in an international bank, you don’t know where the money is going.

Community banks are also a lifeline for small businesses, which are the backbone of Oklahoma’s economy. This was particularly evident during the COVID-19 health crisis, as community banks have become the lender of choice for thousands of small businesses struggling to survive and pay their employees. Up to 60% of loans under the federal government’s Paycheck Protection Program (P3) were processed by smaller banks with less than $ 10 billion in assets.

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Tom bennett iii

“It’s probably 6% or 7% of the total assets of the banking universe. Small banks with less than $ 1 billion accounted for 20% of all PPP loans, ”said Tom Bennett III, president and co-CEO of First Oklahoma Bank.

Community banks worked day and night to help their clients understand and apply for PPP loans, and it was this people-to-people connection that set community banks apart from big banks during the public health crisis, Bennett III said.

Exceptional personalized service

Lack of communication and / or frustration with service are the main reasons customers move from one bank to another. Smaller community banks know the names and faces of their customers, which may include several generations of a family.

Often, small banks can offer personalized service that goes beyond the norm, such as meeting clients at their workplace or home to do business or taking personal calls after hours or on weekends to answer. to a client’s needs. When customers call First Oklahoma Bank, for example, they’re greeted by someone – not a pre-recorded message – who can answer their questions or put them in touch with the right banker.

For more information, visit firstoklahomabank.com or call 918-392-2500. FDIC member