I referenced my bank, Citizens Community Bank (CCB) in a recent blog post discussing how difficult it is to be a bank. Many non-banks wanting to offer financial services find that existing rules and regulations make it difficult to do so. However, CCB performs a wide variety of banking services with a perfect blend of technical acumen. It also makes use of tools, such as mobile banking apps and personal service, that are usually associated with community banks. While being a member of their board of directors may make me appear biased, there is still no doubt that CCB simply consists of good honest bankers who genuinely care about serving their community.
You don’t even have to just take my word for it. Let the media convince you. For 2019, our regional newspaper, The Valdosta Daily Times, has voted CCB the best bank in Valdosta.
Just in case you were wondering, there is a lot of competition in Valdosta when it comes to banking, from large national competitors to other community banks. In fact, all three banks listed in the 2019 Best of South Georgia are community banks. Now, I am not indicting large FIs here; banks such as BofA, Wells Fargo, Citi, and Chase have significantly stepped up their game and are growing fast by offering world class self-service banking options. But while their significant branch presence makes them tough competitors, there will always be a place for small community banks like CCB. Small community banks serve an important role in the business community, often assisting small businesses and farmers who might fall through the cracks at a larger institution.
Banks, especially smaller ones, must work hard to do what they do. The regulations are particularly burdensome for a small FI as the cost of compliance is spread out over a much smaller asset base. There are fewer employees, meaning there’s less specialization and lots of people wearing three or four “hats” each day, but they genuinely love what they do.
I got to know CCB many years ago when I needed a personal loan not long after moving to South Georgia. Although I had just started work at the competitor bank next door, it was not at all strange for me to go to CCB instead. Each bank is allowed to provide loan services to officers from other banks, no matter how odd it may seem.
Because of the hard work that gets put into community banks, I am very proud of their accomplishments and determination to fight the good fight everyday. But I am especially proud of CCB. Star Waldron is carrying on a legacy started by her late father, D.K. Hollis, a man I was proud to know and call my banker. I do my best to provide value to CCB as a director and stay involved, particularly since it provides insight in my area of specialty: electronic banking. Yet, there are millions of millennials and Gen Z’s coming into the workforce who don’t understand the valuable role banks provide. They believe all they need is a credit card and Venmo—a belief considered by many to be a mistake in the long-run. If you fall into this category, I urge you to do some homework and check out financial institutions in your area. Don’t wait until you need a personal banker to begin a relationship with a bank.
If you happen to be in the Valdosta area, check out CCB. Having been in business for over 90 years, they are the most experienced purveyors of the financial services you’ll need. After all, it is 2019’s best bank in South Georgia.