Bankers get a bad rep sometimes. They’re uptight. They can’t take a joke. They’re only thinking about money. Maybe there are some bankers who still fit this description, more or less, but it’s unlikely you’d find one at a community bank.
Here’s a look at what community bankers are really like. If you look in the mirror after reading this and start seeing yourself a little differently, maybe you’ve got some family history in community banking that you didn’t realize was there.
People Person People
Self check time. If you answer “yes” to even one of these questions, you might have some community banker genes in your family:
Do you often think in terms of interactions rather than transactions? Are you the one who goes out of their way at parties to meet just about everyone there? Do you keep in touch with lots of friends from high school, and college, and try to find ways to introduce your high school and college friends to each other?
Okay, you get the picture. A good community banker truly enjoys all types of people. And that’s important, because a big part of the many jobs within a community bank is connecting business people to one another so that everyone succeeds.
Whether it’s at the home office or in the local branches, community banks also tend to stress friendliness and openness. This helps provide the welcoming atmosphere that customers expect from their experiences with the bank—in person, at the drive-through, or on the phone.
Yes, it takes more than being the life of the party to succeed in community banking. After all, it is a bank. It shouldn’t surprise you to know that organization, attention to detail, and honesty are three essential keys that all bankers must carry.
Community bankers also understand that numbers, when analyzed and used correctly, can help people or businesses tremendously. They might not need to be the kind of financial wizard who can multiply and divide massive numbers in their head, but they would definitely be able to read financials and recognize the story the numbers are trying to tell.
Strong Sense of Community
What separates the community banker from other bankers is the connection with the city, town, or even the neighborhood where the bank is located. It’s important that the numbers they’re analyzing are for people they actually know and like working with.
Community bankers are committed to serving customers, and they’re also dedicated to serving the community at large through volunteer and civic work. And this is the case at all levels of the bank. After all, these are people people, so they like to get out there and stay involved as much as they can.
Even if you found yourself nodding in agreement at all the skills, traits, and other attributes that make for a great community banker, you don’t need to quit your current job and run to the nearest bank. Of course, if this motivated you to try your hand at community banking, so be it. You’ll probably do well. Otherwise, your takeaway here might be that community bankers seem suspiciously similar to normal human beings—even the ones people tend to like. In other words, the next time you find yourself going by your local bank, stop and meet one of these bankers in person. They will not be shy.