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Banking with Locally-based Financial Institution Favored by Consumers, ICBA Study Finds

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The Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) has published results of its Survey on “Community Bank Public Opinion and Local Impact.” The study was announced on May 2, 2022, at the start of the organization’s 2022 ICBA Capital Summit in Washington, D.C. New national and state-level polling data confirmed public support for local banking, showing Americans in all 50 states view community banking favorably.

“Americans in all 50 states view community banking favorably — as three in four adults cite the importance of locally-based financial institutions and locally-based lending decisions in how they determine where to bank,” said ICBA President and CEO Rebecca Romero Rainey offered on the Survey. She added, “With ICBA polling showing Americans value community bank leadership in small-business and agricultural lending, ICBA is proud to help community banks flourish so they can continue supporting local communities nationwide.”

Public Opinion and Local Impact Study Findings

The ICBA polling conducted by Morning Consult was a nationwide survey of more than 10,000 Americans regarding public attitudes towards community banks. The survey was conducted March 19-23, 2022.

“Recent ICBA polling conducted by Morning Consult found that 76% of Americans say banking with a locally based financial institution is important when determining where to bank,” said ICBA Chairman Brad Bolton, president and CEO of Community Spirit Bank in Red Bay, Ala. “These 2022 policy resolutions will continue to guide ICBA as we advocate on behalf of the nation’s community banks so they can continue helping their communities thrive.”

ICBA Polling Data

In reporting the findings, the non-profit organization offered a new interactive, online dashboard highlighting the results from its nationwide survey. The dashboard enables users to look at results at the nationwide and state level as well as data on the presence of community banks at the state and district level.

Available on that new ICBA “Public Opinion of Community Banks” dashboard, the polling conducted by Morning Consult found:

  • More than three in four U.S. adults say locally based lending decisions are important when determining where to bank.
  • 69% of U.S. adults cited the importance of banking with a locally based financial institution.
  • 70% cited the importance of personal banking relationships.
  • 89% said it is important that their institution is part of the regulated banking system
  • 61% said it is important that their financial institution does not receive taxpayer subsidies—raising questions about public support for credit unions’ tax and regulatory exemptions.

Regarding the impact of community bank lending on favorability, the ICBA Study found:

  • Adults are more likely to have a favorable impression of community banks knowing that community banks make 60% of small-business loans and 80% of agricultural loans while reinvesting local deposits back into their communities. Fully, 65% of respondents reported to have “much more favorable,” or “somewhat favorable” impressions.
  • Adults are more likely to have a favorable impression of community banks knowing that community banks outperformed the rest of the banking industry in Paycheck Protection Program lending to women-owned, minority-owned, and veteran-owned small businesses. In full, 64% of respondents reported having “much more favorable,” or “somewhat favorable” impressions.

Community Bank Policy Priorities

The ICBA also released its legislative and regulatory policy objectives for 2022 during the ICBA Capital Summit. An ICBA news release noted that the objectives were developed and approved by ICBA volunteer community bankers. As such, noted the announcement, they will “guide ICBA advocacy in the coming year and reflect its unique mission of creating and promoting an environment where community banks flourish.”

Approved by ICBA’s Policy Development Committee and board of directors, comprised of community bankers throughout the country, ICBA’s policy resolutions are:

  • Promoting a balanced and competitive financial services landscape for American consumers and businesses by: Improving community bank access to capital; Defending the bank charter; Supporting de novo community bank formation and mutual and savings institutions; and, among others, Preserving payments access, choice, and governance.
  • Advocating common-sense and appropriately tailored laws and regulations for community banks related to: Accounting and auditing; Bank Secrecy Act and enforcement; Community bank climate change regulation; Consumer Financial Protection Bureau rules; Regulatory capital and tiered regulation; and multiple other key issues.
  • Championing fair and equitable access to the financial system related to: Community development financial institutions and minority banks; The Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) and fair lending; Credit reporting, deposit account services, and privacy; The Federal Home Loan Bank system; and, among others, Mortgage lending regulation.
  • Advancing responsible innovation related to: Core processors and third-party customer data access; Faster payments and payment cards; Technological innovation and deployment.
  • Protecting the safety and soundness of the financial system related to: Cryptocurrencies and central bank digital currency; Cybersecurity, data security, and fraud; Deposit insurance; and The independence of the federal banking agencies.
  • Strengthening the community banking industry’s political voice through: Community banker representation and membership; The Independent Community Bankers Political Action Committee; State and regional partner associations affiliated with ICBA; and Public Opinion and Local Impact in Focus

About ICBA

As noted on the organization’s website, the Independent Community Bankers of America® (www.icba.org) creates and promotes an environment where community banks flourish. ICBA is dedicated exclusively to representing the interests of the community banking industry and its membership through effective advocacy, best-in-class education, and high-quality products and services.

With nearly 50,000 locations nationwide, community banks constitute roughly 99 percent of all banks, employ nearly 700,000 Americans and are the only physical banking presence in one in three U.S. counties. Holding nearly $5.9 trillion in assets, over $4.9 trillion in deposits, and more than $3.5 trillion in loans to consumers, small businesses and the agricultural community, community banks channel local deposits into the Main Streets and neighborhoods they serve, spurring job creation, fostering innovation in communities throughout America.

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