(1) How is the local economy?
It appears that it is improving. We are seeing an increase in both new consumer and commercial construction/investment.
Real estate prices have stabilized and are increasing. Loan delinquency is also improving.
(2) Are businesspeople confident? Why or why not?
I think with the recent election there is more confidence in the business community. Specifically, the idea of lower personal and corporate taxes, potential reduction in medical expenses, potential increase in manufacturing sector and minimum projected increase in interest rates all have had a positive effect on the confidence.
(3) How do you connect with the community?
There are numerous ways we try to connect with the community. In addition to traditional marketing such as print media, we have also utilized radio and TV. We have also been increasing the use of online marketing including Facebook and LinkedIn.
We actively encourage our directors, management and staff to become involved in the community. Whether it is through church, business councils, nonprofit organizations or simply taking the time to meet with the customer, direct contact and word-of-mouth have been one of the major contributors to our over 90 year-history of success.
(4) What changes do you see in the banking industry in the next year or two?
Hopefully, there will be reform within the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which would eliminate or modify the enormous amounts of compliance requirements. While these were supposed to be levied at the “mega” banks, they unfortunately have adversely affected the community banks.