Why We Need Community Banks

A vital component of local economies.

Anna Burgess Yang
10 min readApr 18, 2023
A small bank on the corner of a street, pop art
Image created via Midjourney

My first job was as a bank teller at a small-town bank. The bank sat on the corner of one of the town’s main intersections, and when I say “main intersection” I mean one of two stoplights in the small community of 3,500 people.

The bank opened in 1906 and the first loan made was to buy corn for spring planting. It was the only local bank to survive the Great Depression, when many banks failed. The bank has remained small over the years, with only three branches today. Even as many, many other banks have swelled to dozens of branches, and national banks boast thousands of locations.

The busiest time of the week was Friday afternoons after 3:00 p.m. when two of the local businesses paid their employees — via check — and those employees came to the bank to cash their checks. I’m not that old, and direct deposit was common, but these two employers still used the old-school check method.

I worked at the bank for almost six years, until I graduated from college. I knew many of the regular customers by name. Eventually, I became a loan processor and worked to approve home loan applications. The bank was also well-known for its small business lending. I felt like this work was important: the bank truly worked with customers to make their dreams come true.



Anna Burgess Yang

Freelance Writer. Practical Tips for Solopreneurs. Career pivots are fun. 🎉 https://start.annabyang.com/