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Make a Real Impact on Your Community: Be a Community Banker

To say that I love my job is an understatement. I work in an interesting industry, and banking allows me to do so much.

My biggest joy comes from lifting up our community through my work, whether it’s helping business owners with potential get the capital they need to grow and employ more of our people, or just to be a resource to different community organizations.

I believe community bankers must step up and be a resource in the communities we serve, like Hattiesburg and the surrounding area in south Mississippi where I operate.  My team and I are always looking to share our expertise with nonprofits, mission-driven businesses, and faith-based organizations dedicated to meeting the real challenges faced by our people. Sometimes, they need some banking expertise, while at others they need me to be a cheerleader and leverage my network to get exposure for their work.

People have this vision of bankers that maybe we have cushy jobs and that we’re just comfortable in what we do.  But if we really perform in our roles, it transcends what our job descriptions may say on paper.  We give back.

At Merchants & Marine Bank, we’re constantly looking around our community for ways to steward our donations with deserving organizations. Everyone in our organization believes that we’re called as bankers to truly invest in our communities.  When we accept this responsibility and are accountable to it as individuals and as a team, we help these organizations grow their impact and our communities weather adversity better and thrive in the meantime.

But it’s about more than wielding a checkbook. We look for ways that we can get our hands dirty and put our boots on the ground. Our people love gathering as a group of dedicated community bank employees to volunteer and just really be a part of how our community works.

People just don’t realize what an amazing career opportunity community banking is. I can tell you, having done this myself, that this is a wonderful profession for young people. Every year, I have a lot of college students in my office sharing with me as they figure out what they want to do with their careers after graduation. One thing I love about this younger generation is how they really want to make an impact, to be selfless, and put others first.

When those students ask me what a career in banking looks like, I can hopefully guide them to make a good decision on their terms. Sometimes, that’ll be joining forces with us, and other times, I reach out to a friend or another bank to help get them involved there. But what I tell each of them is this: I could ask for no greater opportunity to lift these neighborhoods where I grew up and played with my friends than to be a community banker here in Hattiesburg.

It’s about being the resource that your community needs you to be.

Written by: Greg Hodges, Chief Banking Officer