A small community bank, in a small town in Northern Indiana, making a big difference
Sometimes, a great community bank is exactly what you’d imagine it to be: a local bank providing exceptional lending services to their surrounding neighborhoods. Community State Bank in Brook, Indiana, seems to be a picture-perfect example of a small Better Banking Option that has been contributing to the health of their local economy for over 85 years. While many small community banks with a local focus are bought out by larger banks or eventually end up closing, they’ve been able to continue operating because of their commitments to their customers and their active and balanced lending portfolio.
Brook is an agricultural town with just over a thousand residents. Towns like this benefit enormously from capital being effectively cycled by community banks. When the people who live in Brook deposit their money in Community State Bank, the money is used to make loans to local family businesses and farms, which bring more money into the area, which can then be deposited with the bank. This cycle keeps small town economies and community banks viable in a time when both seem to be struggling, and in many cases, disappearing.
Community State is also very small, with only $61 million in assets. Their website is minimal, as to be expected with such a small banking institution, although they are still able to offer online banking. Not much information is given about their mission or history, but they do note that they are a community owned and operated bank with a focus on personalized customer service and agricultural lending.
Community State’s lending statistics are exceptional and reflect their agricultural area. Fifteen percent of their lending portfolio goes to small farm lending, more than seven times our 2% benchmark for small farm lending. They also do a large amount of small business lending, which totals 26% of their lending. They greatly exceed NCIF’s benchmarks for being a CDBI, with housing making up 44% of their lending and nearly 85% of that going to low-and moderate-income borrowers. With a Satisfactory CRA rating and having met our benchmarks for return on assets and Net Loans to Deposits, it’s clear that even though this bank is small, it’s a solid choice for anyone in the area.
Although it’s difficult to invest in this Better Banking Option if you don’t live in Brook, we wanted to show an example of a small bank still doing good work in a time and industry where exponential growth sometimes seems like the only way to survive.