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INDEPENDENT BANKERS: COMMUNITY BANKS KEEP RURAL AMERICA GROWING
Source: Independent Community Bankers of America news release

Community banks keep rural America growing by lending to local farmers and ranchers, said the Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) and thousands of its community bank members that are celebrating ICBA Community Banking Month this month.

Community banks are able to serve as financial first responders to the agricultural community because they operate locally-knowing their marketplace-and putting local deposits back to work in their communities through loans to local farmers, ranchers, residents and small businesses.

"Community banks are pivotal to the overall health and financial success of rural America because they provide an overwhelming share of credit to local farmers," said ICBA Chairman John H. Buhrmaster, president of 1st National Bank of Scotia, N.Y.

"Many community banks have been serving farmers for well over 100 years. And because community banks are small business owners-like farmers and ranchers-they are better able to serve their agricultural customers because they know both the local market and have highly specialized expertise in the agriculture business," said Buhrmaster.

Community banks have consistently been the largest provider of agricultural credit within the commercial banking sector and are often the catalysts for new and expanded business opportunities within their communities to ensure long-term economic viability and vitality.

In fact, community banks with assets under $10 billion provide more than 75 percent of all commercial bank agricultural loans, and banks with assets less than $1 billion provide nearly 60 percent of all commercial bank agricultural financing.

"Community banks stimulate rural economies in a multitude of ways, including creating off-farm jobs, maintaining the local tax base and facilitating development of the infrastructure and public services necessary to keep rural communities vibrant," Buhrmaster said.

There are more than 6,500 community banks, including commercial banks, thrifts, stock and mutual savings institutions, with more than 50,000 locations throughout the United States. Assets may range from less than $10 million to $10 billion or more. Community banks constitute 96.8 percent of all banks.

To find your community bank, visit ICBA's Community Bank Locator at www.banklocally.org. Simply type in your ZIP code and you will see community banks in your area. Customers can also download the free ICBA bank locator apps on their iPhone, Android or BlackBerry devices.

To follow the conversation on ICBA Community Banking Month, follow the hashtag #BankLocally on Twitter. To learn more about community banks, visit www.icba.org.


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