The Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) have declared April as Community Banking Month, and Local First Arizona is celebrating with an event to connect local business owners to the local financial institutions in their own communities. On Wednesday, April 29, from 6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. at the Hotel Valley Ho in Scottsdale, local business owners are invited to attend a casual meet and greet with a variety of local banks and credit unions, where business owners will have the opportunity to connect with banking representatives and gather information, ask questions, and decide which bank or credit union is right for their business.
“The goal of this event is to help local businesses understand that it is easy to do business with a local bank or credit union," said Kimber Lanning, Director of Local First Arizona. “The level of customer service you get with a community bank is unparalleled. I recently had my community banker call me to let me know a check had been presented and the signature didn't look like mine. I was amazed at that level of customer service and would not consider leaving my community bank!”
At last year's meet and greet with local banks and credit unions, Venue Projects, a local redevelopment and construction firm, was matched up with Gateway Bank. "We attended the banking event last year and met James Christensen, president of Gateway Bank," said Lorenzo Perez of Venue Projects. "James has personally come out to see our projects and is excited to lend us the funds for our next development. Community banks understand the local climate and are much more likely to fund infill projects for local companies. We bank locally and have been very pleased with our relationships.”
Beyond high levels of customer service, another benefit to banking with a local bank or credit union is the effect on the local economy. According to the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, “small businesses, which create the majority of new jobs, depend heavily on small, local banks for financing. Although small and mid-sized banks control less than one-quarter of all bank assets, they account for more than half of all small business lending.”
“So not only is it incredibly easy to do business with a local bank or credit union, but the positive impacts on the economy are huge,” said Lanning. “We can put our money to work growing our economy and creating jobs by putting our money in local banks and credit unions, who will in turn take that money and invest it in other local businesses.”
Participating banks and credit unions for this year’s meet and greet with local financial institutions include MariSol Federal Credit Union, Pinnacle Bank, RepublicBankAZ, Gateway Bank, Desert Schools Federal Credit Union, Alliance Bank of Arizona, West Valley National Bank, and others. There is no cost to attend, attendance is restricted to business owners and representatives. Valet parking is $6. Free parking is available in some lots and along the street. More information and registration is available at bit.ly/MeetNGreetLFI.