Differentiating Community Banking

November 19, 2021

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We’re often asked what makes RSI Bank different from other banks providing similar services. RSI Bank is a community bank, which differs from larger commercial banks. But what sets a community bank apart from other banks?

We went straight to the source, asking our own community bankers how they define community banking. We’ve narrowed it down to four defining characteristics that make community banks unique and separates them from other financial institutions.

✔ Relationships are Front and Center

Relationships are a priority for community banks. Typically, due to their local focus, bankers get to know customers more personally.

Amy Krysienski, Senior Business Development Officer, states: “It really is about ‘people first’ at RSI Bank and offering exceptional customer service. All customers are treated equally, whether their account balance is $500 or $5 million.”

She goes on to share how all her customers have her direct phone number. “They have access to me even on nights and weekends.” This lets customers know that their business is important. They aren’t just a number here. “I know all of my customers by first name, a personal service that you don’t typically receive from a larger institution. Customers get to speak with real people in real time to help them with their banking needs.”

Robert Currie, Chief Financial Officer, reflects, “I will never forget the time a customer literally grabbed me as I was walking out for lunch one day. ‘Do you know why I bank here?’ he asked emphatically. Before I could even respond, he said, ‘Because I am not just a number.’

This type of relationship is fostered over time by truly getting to know our customers and listening for future banking needs, not just cross selling the latest product.

Community banks continue to differentiate even after a banking relationship has been established.

Here at RSI Bank, relationships are front and center. Our bankers are soccer coaches, troop leaders or community event sponsors. When someone has a banking need, instead of just doing an internet search, they are much more inclined to think of people who are already members of their community.”

✔ Charitable Donations and Sponsorships

Community banks also reinvest back into the community through charitable donations and sponsorships, which may support local municipalities, educational institutions, and non-profit service-based organizations.

On average, RSI Bank makes donations totaling over $175,000 annually to support civic organizations and programs, such as emergency response services, school sports groups, disaster relief initiatives and local food pantries, just to name a few.

Rachael Faillace, Corporate Secretary and Vice President of Marketing, shares, “Charitable donations are made to organizations within the communities where the majority of deposit holders reside. This creates a feedback loop of sorts, while both building and strengthening relationships – the more customers who choose RSI Bank as their primary bank, the more funds the Bank can reinvest into the community through charitable donations and loans to local businesses and residents.”

✔ Local Decisions for Local Impact

“We work with a lot of small businesses in town and have the unique ability to give individualized attention to small- and mid-sized businesses,” Amy Krysienski shares from her direct experience as Senior Business Development Officer.

“When reviewing commercial loans, community banks don’t simply look at the credit score, bank statements, and tax returns, they also take into consideration a business customer’s relationship with the bank, and their business’s role within the community.”

Alexander Szydlowski, Chief Lending Officer, adds, “As a community bank, we stand out by avoiding a one-size-fits-all mentality when making lending decisions.” By knowing the needs of the individual, along with the needs and demands of the locale, RSI Bank representatives are best able to support their customers and provide unique and individualized service.

✔ Community Involvement

Robert Currie is passionate about the community involvement aspect of RSI Bank.  

“Community banking is about being a part of the fabric of the communities in which we serve. What sets community banks apart from other financial institutions is how we get involved within the community. Getting involved and volunteering is not only the right thing to do, it also has a ‘pay it forward’ effect and cements a bond with community members.

Community banks stand apart for their focus on local needs within the community. From a geography perspective, community banks are typically statewide, regional, or even more locally focused.”

Amy Krysienski agrees. “We have a saturated focus on Union and Middlesex Counties,” Amy exclaims. “RSI Bank is well known for our community participation!” By making investments in their immediate region, RSI Bank and other community banks help to create jobs and support the local economy.

The information provided in this article is meant for educational purposes only and is not advice.