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The Role of the Community Bank

Community banks are quite unique in the nation’s financial infrastructure. In the United States, we have all different types of financial companies, from the mega banks (including a few at more than a trillion dollars in assets), to regional banks, community banks, and credit union, which are nonprofit institutions set up to serve their members. Community banks are quite unique in our American banking ecosystem.

Merchants & Marine Bank and other banks like us are called community banks for a reason.  We are chartered to be a bank that’s for the community, of the community, and about the community. Unlike many national banks and even some regional institutions, community banks are very closely connected to the wellbeing of their local communities. They have a symbiotic relationship with their communities. What this means is that the success or failure of our business model is aligned with the health of our communities. If our local communities perish and suffer, so do we. When they do well, we do well. There’s something fundamentally fair about that, isn’t it?

With this dynamic in mind, you routinely see community banks lean into areas of community need to provide additional support, donations, services, and even extensions of credit to bolster the communities where they operate. We do these things while carrying the hope in our hearts that our neighbors can prosper and that we will prosper, too.

Merchants & Marine Bank’s approach as a community banking institution is something you can see materialize in the locations where we choose to place our offices and branches. We go where other institutions may not. In fact, we have locations that are in areas that many would look at and think, “Those are rural and underserved areas, why would any bank want to go there?”

So, why do we go to and serve these communities? We go because building stronger communities and brighter futures for our neighbors who live in them is the bedrock of our business. In fact, Merchants & Marine Bank is one of fewer than 200 banks in the entire country to be recognized by the US Department of the Treasury as a certified Community Development Financial Institution. This certification validates what we have in our DNA, a commitment to service, no matter where we are needed. You can expect to see us treat our communities in the same ways that the people who live in them treat them, and to always consider their needs in our own plans and actions.

Our bankers–every last one of us–care about our communities. That’s the job here, providing the services that help these communities–urban, suburban, small towns, and rural areas alike–find sustainable success. We want them to thrive, and as an institution, we’re willing to put our money where our mouth is, to make that happen.

Written by: Clayton Legear, President & Chief Executive Officer