A community bank serving small towns in West Alabama with a commendable lending portfolio
Alabama, like Mississippi who we talked about in an article last week, is another state whose poverty problems are inextricably tied to the deep south’s racist history. While 16.9% of the state’s general population is living under the poverty level, 27.3% of black households fall below this line. In total, 802,656 people in the state are estimated to be living below the poverty line.
Historically, small towns in West Alabama, and in the deep-south in general, have been dependent on manufacturing factories to sustain their populations as the country continues to disinvest in agriculture. This banking option attributes much of their early growth to the opening of two factories in their hometown of Reform, but many small towns have not been as lucky. Having community bank branches located in small towns can make a huge difference, as they not only employ at least a handful of the residents but also keep the residents’ money invested in their local community.
A mid-size bank that’s achieved the CDFI designation, West Alabama Bank & Trust claims to provide personalized customer service along with modern banking technologies. Although they don’t have a huge number of online reviews, the ones they do have on Google are overwhelmingly positive. Most of their branches are located in small towns with populations of around a thousand people. They even have a branch in Ethelsville, a town with a population of 81 people.
Like BankFirst, who we did a feature on earlier in the week, this bank’s main pull as a Better Banking Option--besides being a CDFI--is their lending portfolio. They do a fair amount of housing lending, with it making up 21% of their lending, but 69% of this goes to low- and moderate-income households. They also devote 5% of their lending to small farm lending, an important allotment as they are in an agricultural region and in small towns which may still economically depend on farming. Small business is a lending priority as well, with it making up almost 20% of their lending.
Although they could be more loaned out, they do a fair job with having 75% of their assets out in the community through loans, and they also have a Satisfactory CRA rating as well as a positive return on assets, demonstrating that they’re a safe banking option as well as a socially responsible one. They offer both online and mobile banking options, so anyone interested in investing in small towns in West Alabama can bank with this better Banking Option. Check out their website for more information.