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Community Bank Blogs: Connecting with Customers Online

June 14, 2013
Personal Finance
Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This may influence which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own.

In today’s high-tech world, a well designed website is one of the most effective ways to connect with new customers. Community banks, with their small-business friendly reputation, are uniquely positioned to capitalize on this opportunity. Tech-savvy community banks can connect with their customers in real time through online forums, social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, and our personal favorite, blogs. Blogs allow banks to provide a personal touch to their websites, since they’re a convenient medium for sharing stories, posting news alerts and providing high-quality financial literacy content, all at no extra cost to their customers.

Bringing blogs into the spotlight

Not many community banks have blogs, and truly outstanding ones are hard to come by. They’re also difficult to find, since community bank blogs have a small readership base. They cater to bank customers and often focus on local news. However, in our search for the best bank products and services, we occasionally stumble on fun or informative community bank blogs that catch our eye. We rounded up five of our favorites here for your reading pleasure. Enjoy!

Fabulous Financial Planning Advice – Horizon Bank (Michigan City, IN)

What’s On Your Horizon? This isn’t just the name of Horizon Bank’s blog. It’s a serious question to get you planning your future. We like this blog because the articles are good, plain and simple. In addition to advice for the general consumer and small-business owner, it also offers specialized financial planning advice for women, nonprofits and other groups that sometimes feel overlooked by traditional financial planners. Horizon Bank’s blog is especially good if you’re looking to build a sustainable investment portfolio or retirement plan. Horizon Bank’s team of financial experts can help guide you in making life’s major financial decisions. Horizon Bank has branches in Indiana and Michigan.

Heartfelt Community Focus – Citizens National Bank (Henderson, TX)

Citizens National Bank is community-minded and proud of it. Whether they’re running in Relay for Life, handing out treasure chests to third graders at an “Invention Convention”, or hanging out with locals at the Spring Fling festival, they’re constantly part of the action at local events. We love the way Citizens National Bank celebrates their “true-to-roots” spirit on their blog with fun photos, employee shout-outs, and invitations to upcoming events. Citizens National Bank has branches throughout East and Central Texas.

Funny Commentary – Sierra Vista Bank (Folsom, CA)

Some of us are total nerds (we know who we are), but let’s be honest: most people don’t find bank news to be particularly enthralling. That’s nothing you can’t fix with a little honesty, storytelling and a healthy dose of sarcasm, courtesy of Greg Patton, the Sierra Vista Bank’s president, CEO and chief blogger. Sierra Vista Bank’s blog tackles serious issues like our ongoing recession, changing technology, increasing fees and marketing mishaps, but Greg’s perspective always comes with a good laugh. Why is a bank like Dudley Do-Right? Why is our economy like knee-surgery? And why do those big banks think that a “free poodle” will distract their customers from unreasonable fees? You’ll just have to read the blog to find out more. Sierra Vista Bank has branches in Folsom and Cameron Park.

Serious Business Support – Heartland Bank (Gahanna, OH)

Like all community banks, Heartland Bank supports their local economy by lending money to small-business owners. We were excited to read their blog and learn about the myriad other ways they support business owners and local nonprofits. Heartland Bank is helping to restore local buildings, finance community festivals, and educate community business leaders by hosting summits. Their blog most recently profiled Victory Ministries, a community support organization that provides free food, clothing, counseling, tutoring and health services to anyone in Central Ohio, and Hudson Import Auto Services, a local repair shop. Heartland Bank has 11 branches in Central Ohio.

A Dazzling Layout – MutualBank (Muncie, IN)

A good blog layout isn’t just easy on the eyes. It also makes for a better reading experience, allowing your visitors to find what they need quickly and easily. In addition to providing top-notch content, MutualBank’s blog, The Green Room, does just that. Looking for a post on a particular topic? The tags box has you covered. Need the latest financial news or in-depth financial education articles? You’ll quickly find both at boxes near the top. And don’t worry about having to hunt for their Facebook and Twitter links; those plugins are big, blue and easy to find in the sidebar. The fact that the entire blog looks like an expensive handmade greeting card is just icing the cake. MutualBank has branches in Central and Northern Indiana, plus a loan origination office in Michigan.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.