A Better Banking Option excellently serving rural towns in West Virginia for more than 100 years
We’ve been writing a lot recently about some small-town banks. They have avoided being bought by mega-banks, perhaps because they serve such small populations that they aren’t seen as profitable. However, we see those small-town banks as community heroes. Without capital circulating throughout local economies by hometown banks, many small towns struggle to keep businesses and farms operating, leading to the dilapidated and nearly-abandoned rural towns you probably passed through on your last road trip.
Small towns in the US are likely to have higher rates of poverty than most cities, and the pressure to migrate to cities results in the people left behind struggling to improve their circumstances. This is particularly true for rural towns in West Virginia, a coal-dominated Appalachian state where nearly a fifth of families live under the poverty line. During his 2016 campaign, Trump promised to bring growth to the region by revitalizing the coal industry and has created around 2,000 jobs in coal during his presidency, but experts say that this hasn’t even begun to address the poverty problem in this state. GDP growth in the state has stagnated in the past two years, because while unemployment has fallen, most of the new jobs pay low wages and offer inconsistent hours and no benefits.
For these reasons, and many others, it’s extremely important for people to invest in strong community banks in West Virginia, and FNB Bank is a great example of a Better Banking Option in this region. Having operated in Romney, WV, for 109 years, they’ve been efficiently and thoroughly serving the community and three other small towns in the area as well. On their About Us website page, they identify their main focus as “invest[ing] in and being part of the communities [they] serve,” and it’s apparent from their glowing Google reviews that they have some longtime and loyal customers. One young woman describes how she opened an account with FNB at age 17, and how they were able to walk her through the process of applying for a car loan, helping her get the lowest rates possible. She goes on to say she still banks with them through their mobile service, even though she moved to Michigan. It’s clear that while they still rely on local-relationship banking, they prioritize providing modern mobile and online banking resources, which makes it possible for those outside this region to invest in this Better Banking Option.
FNB Bank’s lending portfolio reflects that they are committed to fulfilling the banking and lending needs of these rural small towns. 46% of their lending assets are allocated to housing, with three-fifths of this going to low- and moderate-income households. FNB Bank does an impressive amount of small business lending, at 21% of their lending portfolio, and even do a significant chunk of small farm lending at 2.5% of their assets. They’ve achieved a Satisfactory CRA rating and meet our benchmarks for return on assets as well as Net-Loans-to-Deposits Ratio, indicating they’re not just a strong community bank, but a solid banking choice in general.
We would recommend FNB to anyone looking to invest in the health of small towns in West Virginia. Learn more about their products and services on their website.