Community Banks: Innovators in Technology and Customer Service

In an increasingly digital world, finding the right balance between technology and relationships is no small feat for consumer-facing institutions. Thankfully, community banks have mastered the art of seamlessly integrating a personalized, relationship-banking approach with modern technological capabilities. This duality sets them apart in the financial landscape and sets the standard for what a successful banking experience should be—a blend of advanced digital innovation and genuine human connection.

Whether offering solutions that automatically track and analyze customers’ spending habits, utilizing time-saving cloud technologies, deftly refinancing agricultural loans that help farm customers invest in drones, or supporting one-of-a-kind businesses that serve unique market segments, community banks are critical partners to their customer’s success.

While community banks have embraced the digital revolution by adopting and offering online banking, mobile apps, and other advanced technological solutions that consumers expect, their foundation lies in being from and for the community. “Community banks offer high-tech, high-touch service, giving consumers access to modern-day conveniences while maintaining the superior customer service for which community banks are known—all while giving back to the local community,” says ICBA President and CEO Rebeca Romero Rainey.

All of this builds on a foundation of trust that you should have with your bank, Romero Rainey says. In fact, according to the Federal Reserve’s Small Business Credit Survey, community banks are the small business lender of choice. The survey found 80 percent of independent businesses that used community banks report they were satisfied with their overall experience, compared with 68 percent for large banks and just 43 percent for online lenders.

And while a good deal of banking happens online, meeting your banker in person is not a way of the past. A recent banking survey showed that 42 percent of small business owners visit their bank in person more than once per week and 64 percent of small business owners use a small or regional bank. These findings further illustrate the value of community banks for the customers they advise and the communities they serve.

Community banks’ relationship-based business model clearly makes a positive impact on the lives of their customers and communities—something that cannot be replicated by the transaction-based approach to banking of larger institutions.

The bottom line is that consumers shouldn’t have to choose between high-touch and high-tech, or the other way around—that’s what sets community banks apart and helps their customers flourish.

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