A community bank in southern Oklahoma working in small towns with large Native American populations
Oklahoma is a unique state in that it has no Indian reservations or territories, but the second highest American Indian population of any state in the U.S. The name of the state itself comes from the Choctaw language, meaning “red people,” as when the Oklahoma territory was formed in 1866, it wasn’t open to white settlers and the Choctaw chief who named the area wanted it to be a place where all displaced Native Americans would be welcome, regardless of their tribe. Today, 8.2% of Oklahoma residents are American Indian.
The following alarming statistic shows why it’s particularly important for financial institutions to invest in areas with large Native American populations: “More than 40 percent of Native people have limited or no access to mainstream financial services (one of the highest rates in the nation), 26.8 percent of American Indian and Alaska Native households are underbanked (have a bank account but use alternative financial services), and an additional 14.5 percent are completely unbanked.” As three of AmeriState Bank’s five locations are in Atoka, OK, which is 10% Native American, we can see how important it is for the banks there to be investing in the economic development of their community.
Since opening in 1906, even before Oklahoma achieved statehood, AmeriState has been exemplifying their slogan, “a bank that friends built,” through giving excellent service to their customers, some of which have been banking with them for decades. In their mission statement, they say they “strive to enrich and improve the communities in which [they] live,” and this is evident not only through their lending portfolio, but through the wealth of photos on their Facebook page that show them participating and sponsoring community events. It’s also a family owned and run bank, and there are currently three generations of the family working there.
About a quarter of AmeriState’s lending goes to housing loans, and of that quarter, 60% is loaned to low- and moderate-income households. Another quarter of their lending is devoted to small business lending, essential in towns where jobs are needed and the economy is still growing. Also contributing to the local economies of the small towns where they work, a whopping 9% of their lending goes to small farm lending, blowing our benchmark of 2% for rural banking institutions out of the water. With this excellent lending portfolio and a return on assets of 2%, as well as a net loans to deposits ratio of 92% and a Satisfactory CRA rating, you can bet that this is bank is as safe as it is effective at investing in their communities.
As this Better Banking Option has both online and mobile banking options, we would recommend it to anyone looking to invest in small towns in Northern Oklahoma and underbanked Native American populations. Get started on their website today.
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