There may be parallels with credit unions in dealing with Bank Transfer Day but small banks have their own special niche relationship with both consumers and small business, a top executive of the Independent Community Bankers of America argued Thursday.
So far, the ICBA, which represents 5,000 small banks, is taking the Nov. 5 social media event in stride and is doing nothing extraordinary to prepare since “we already have a strong bond with consumers who realize we represent a good choice all along for their loans and investable funds.”
That message comes from Terry Jorde, senior executive vice president and chief of staff at the Washington-based trade group, commenting on what one state league described as a viral uprising on Facebook exhorting customers to switch their accounts from big banks to CUs and community banks.
“Unlike credit unions, many of which have a specific demographic or local base, we serve entire communities with a full range of loan products,” Jorde said, adding that community banks cater to small business by holding 60% of the loans under $1 million.
The ICBA membership is composed of members who focus on a “relationship-based” approach to the business as compared to the megabanks, said Jorde, a former North Dakota CEO and chairman of ICBA who took the staffing job last April following a merger of her former employer, CountrybankUSA, in Cando, N.D.
Meanwhile, the Financial Services Roundtable, which lobbies for large banks including transfer targets Bank of America and Wells Fargo, said the current controversy centers on consumer choice.
In a free market, bank customers “have a right to make their own choices,” said Scott Talbott, senior vice president of government affairs.
Over the coming weeks, both CUs and banks have said they will be watching carefully what percentage of accounts actually move out of large banks. One banking industry executive, noted, “We went through this before with Huffington’s Move Your Money and not much happened.”