Nine Ways to Celebrate Community Banking Month

During Community Banking Month, some banks trim the celebration to a week, others celebrate all 30 days. Whatever your bank’s choice, Neal Reynolds with BankMarketingCenter.com offers some ideas for celebrating your bank’s positive role in the community. In addition to these tips, there’s a link at the end to download free resources that can help your bank celebrate the occasion.

Like a concierge at a five-star hotel, small-town banks, with their “Main Street” focus, offer their customers personalized financial services. Customers know their bank, from the CEO to the part-time teller in the drive-through. And bankers know their customers and their families—and quite often, they have known them for generations.

New retail stores, new residential homes and subdivisions, and improvements to a local school or church, may have their financial foundation at your bank. All of this deserves a celebration.

Here are nine ideas for celebrating Community Banking Month.

Getting to know you: During the month, or part of it, have the bank’s officers move into the lobby and try to meet as many customers as possible. In the early part of the past century, it was not unusual for bank presidents or branch presidents to occupy a desk in the lobby so that customers could go right to the top with their needs and concerns. It’s a great way for the bank leadership and customers to develop a relationship and, in turn, celebrate what’s at the heart of community banking.

Take me out to the ball game: High school and college sporting events draw big crowds and it’s a great opportunity to get exposure for your bank’s brand. Need a promotional idea? Stuff a large jar with change and currency and give every spectator a chance to guess how much is in the jar. The closest guess not only wins the amount, but gets an equal amount deposited in a new or existing account.

Piggy Banks and Ice cream: Community banking has a great opportunity to provide financial education at local schools. Send an army of volunteers to talk to fourth-graders in your town about how to handle money. Give away piggy banks and tuck a $20 bill in random porcelain porkers. It’ll spark interest in healthy financial practices and start a buzz at your local schools. And another treat: Team up with a local dairy or ice cream shop—preferably, a bank customer—to scoop up free ice cream for potential customers.

Lunch With the CEO: Pick a random customer, or perhaps your longest-tenured customer, to have lunch with the CEO. This is the stuff of a great business story for the local paper or TV station, or at least a photo or brief online clip.

Serving our military: If a military base is in or near your town, offer financial education and help to our fighting men and women and their families. Most of them wrestle with tight finances and the bank can help. Try “Big Pizza and Budget Priorities.” Another tip: Ask some of your employees to help babysit at these session venues so that Mom or Dad can attend.

Colors for Caring: Allow employees to wear their favorite team’s sweatshirt, T-shirt or colors each Friday for a small fee to benefit a local charity.

Come in, Cook Out: After closing, team up with a local civic club to grill burgers and hot dogs for present and potential customers. Or you could take a more local approach. Community banks in Texas could serve chili; in Louisiana, muffalettas.

Customer of the Day/Week: Choose a customer to honor for the day or week. Treat him or her to lunch, a manicure or haircut, or coffee at a local spot. Rewards for this special customer are limited only by your imagination.

Dancing for Dollars: Host an old-fashioned dance marathon or block party featuring local talent, food and soft drinks. It’s fun, and provides another opportunity to market your bank outside the traditional confines of the office or advertising. Winners in the dance contest win $100 for a new or existing account.

These are just nine fine ways to celebrate Community Banking Month. The bottom line? Have fun.

BankMarketingCenter.com is giving away free creative content to help banks promote Community Banking Month/Week. Create personalized ads, web banners, flyers, posters and Facebook posts. Visit goo.gl/igyVpa to download these resources today. If you have any questions, contact Neal Reynolds at nreynolds@bankmarketingcenter.com.

Published in Bankers Digest, April 9, 2018