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A Place Where Everyone Knows Your Name

by Mark Singleton, President & CEO, CNB of Texas


Imagine your favorite restaurant…one where everyone knows your name. They treat you and your family or your colleagues and clients with respect. You immediately know you are appreciated.

They know where you like to sit and your favorite server brings your beverages without even asking you. The chef knows how you like your steak cooked. Imagine that welcomed feeling of familiarity and comfort. You can almost smell your favorite meal being cooked there!

Now imagine your favorite restaurant selling to an out of state franchise group. All your favorite wait staff are being replaced. The menu offers the same food, but it’s not cooked the same way. They don’t greet you when you walk in or call your kids by their first name or know your voice when you place an order to go.

It’s just not the same anymore.

Restaurants, like your favorite diner or pub, are what makes a community special. Their owners are from here and care about what is happening in our town. They participate in local events, are members of several hometown organizations and make sure that they and their staff contribute in numerous ways to make our communities a better place to live.

Now imagine that same scenario with your local bank or small business. We, at CNB of Texas, are always sorry when community owned businesses become bought out by large, disinterested corporations. We are sorry to lose a partner in our community, not only as a hometown institution, but also as a solid and effective community leader. I understand the business model to build up a company to sell it, but when owners and boards of directors establish and grow a local business that becomes a vital part of the fabric of our community, it is a tragedy for all of us when big business later takes it over.

People will say that all banks are the same. No they are not.

All banks offer checking and savings, ATMs and IRAs, walk in or drive thru facilities. In their body of work all banks may seem the same, but not in their heart.

A community bank makes a difference. It does not back away from support of a city, county or school district bonds referendum. It takes a proactive position with economic development, education, health care and a vibrant government. It is a leader that gets good things done because that is exactly what defines and validates it as a community bank.

The logic is simple. If a bank’s board members, officers and staff contribute goodwill funds and numerous hours of volunteer time, quality growth will occur in the community it serves. Everyone benefits. Being a good community bank is difficult. You have to offer the same or better technology, products and services as the big banks but you must also cultivate and maintain a warm and responsive environment, one that prides itself on giving back to the communities it serves. You can call yourself a community bank, but unless you act like one the designation is meaningless.

People still talk nostalgically about the 1879 Townhouse, Dee Tees, or Francisco’s, as legendary rural restaurants where the doors have been shut. Luckily, not all of the hometown restaurants were sold or closed. There remain a few local eateries that know you by name, offer the best of service, and are continually leaders in the community.

The same thing holds true with financial institutions. If you are looking for a bank where everyone knows your name, knows how you like to bank and gives back to your community, then switch to a local, community bank.