Community Banks Tell an Updated Story

By Kate Young

What happens when community banks band together?

Two years ago, a group of bank marketers got to talking with each other about Community Banking Month. It started out as a low-key conversation about how individual banks planned to observe this industry promotion, which takes place in April. But their discussion sparked an idea that caught fire—and led to a whole new vehicle for communicating the value that community banks across America bring to the marketplace.

The idea: For community banks to work together to create a video that would make a succinct yet highly personal case for banking at the community level.

Then, over the course of just a few weeks, 20 different banks filmed enough footage to fill out not just one, but two videos. One of the nation’s leading financial marketing firms volunteered to do the technical and post-production work, free of charge. And the resulting videos were so successful that two years later, it made sense to do it all again.

The 2019 video, released this week, paints a picture of advanced technology paired with an unchanging commitment to investing in the local community.

2019 Community Banking Month Video   

What’s different this time around…and what’s not?

David Kreiman, EVP at Glenview State Bank in Glenview, Ill., shepherded the project from concept to completion this year, as he did in 2017. The original idea, as he explained it at the time, came to him because, “Video—if done right—is the most compelling way to get a message across.”

Has that changed? Jim Pannos of Pannos Marketing, the agency behind both the 2017 and 2019 productions, answers that question with an emphatic “no.” What has evolved, he says, is the way video is consumed. To promote a video two years ago, he points out, you might have said, “let’s post it on our website and put it on Youtube.” These days, consumers encounter video almost everywhere.

Marketers need to strategize how to make the most of so many opportunities. Not only has video exploded on all of the social media channels—but video screens have continued to crop up in bank lobbies everywhere. When customers catch a glimpse of a video spotlighting the value of community banking, Pannos says, they may “come to the realization that, ‘oh, my money’s not going to be invested somewhere far away…it’s staying right here.’” He adds, “When someone deposits in a community bank, the dollars are invested in the communities the bank serves. That’s an eye-opening thing that the public isn’t always aware of.” And hearing it from multiple banks at the same time compounds the message.

Time to talk about technology.

Kreiman notes that when he reached out this year to the community bankers who wanted to participate in the video, there was one new topic that resonated among many of them: “Being able to offer the same type of technology as the big banks.” He says, “You read ad nauseam about how millennials want to bank with community banks,” but then they don’t because they assume that community banks don’t have the same technology as big banks. Kreiman argues that in many cases, “That’s not true. We want to break down that perception.”

Here’s a list of the participating banks.

Glenview State Bank, Glenview, Illinois
Sutton Bank, Attica, Ohio
First National Bank of Steeleville, Steeleville, Illinois
Northview Bank, Finlayson, Minnesota
Citizens Independent Bank, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Bank of Cleveland, Cleveland, Tennessee
First Security Bank, Charles City, Iowa
Franklin Savings Bank, Franklin, New Hampshire
Merchants Bank, Winona, Minnesota
5Star Bank, Colorado Springs, Colorado
Two Rivers Bank, Blair, Nebraska

Kate Young is the senior editor of ABA Bank Marketing. Email: [email protected]