Taking local banking to the next level
When it comes to finances, you want to trust the people handling your money and advising your decisions. It can be frustrating when you have financial questions but aren’t sure who to ask or have to settle for a phone call about a loan application when you’d much rather talk face to face with an expert.
As Community Bank & Trust of Florida celebrates its 21st anniversary this spring, there are many reasons why it not only survived the recession but actually expanded. The biggest reason: This truly is a local bank that understands what patrons want.
“When we started in 1998, there were several locally owned banks in the region, but we are the only one still standing. Locally owned means that we have shareholders who own the bank—not institutions or venture capitalists—and those shareholders live here in our community,” says President Hugh Dailey. “At the end of the day, it’s about personal service. You can sit down in any one of our 11 branches in three counties and talk to someone in detail about any of your banking needs.”
“We enjoy working with individual clients, and we don’t just offer ‘fit-in-the-box’ products,” says Sharla Greene, who heads up consumer lending and loans.
You would expect a bank to offer such services as auto loans, home equity loans, lines of credit and more, but Community Bank & Trust of Florida takes “Community Commitment” to another level. For example, area young people involved in the Southeastern Youth Fair can apply for a small, short-term agricultural loan to buy their fair animals if they can’t afford to pay for them outright.
“It’s an opportunity to provide financial education to young adults,” says Greene. “Not only can they learn about the importance of credit and budgeting, but they can establish a banking relationship, something that can be hard for many young people to achieve.”
Cindy Van Heyde, a private wealth advisor with Community Bank & Trust of Florida has been in the business over 30 years. She appreciates being able to offer an entire suite of trust and investment management services, something rarely found in locally owned banks.
“We have a boutique department with comprehensive trust and investment management services,” notes Van Heyde, adding that the trust and investment officers and administrators have more than 190 years of combined experience.
“It’s great that clients can meet with their portfolio manager or trust officer, rather than having a video conference or long-distance call to discuss personal matters,” she adds. “While some other institutions have very high balance requirements on what accounts they will manage, we can serve every client and give them individualized service, regardless of their investment amounts.”
A broad variety of commercial loan options are also available at Community Bank & Trust of Florida, and because lending decisions are made locally, loan officers have greater flexibility than large chain banks when crafting loans to fit specific needs.
“We meet with business owners in person, and we have the capacity to help with anything a business needs financially,” notes commercial loan officer Jeff Baker. “Our bank was founded to help build business in our community, and we pride ourselves in taking people from start to finish on their business ventures, while helping them grow and transition.”
Baker points out that the type of industries they work with runs the gamut—everything from doctors starting practices and professional services to manufacturing, contractors and even agricultural equine businesses—a niche market that many banks don’t service.
In this era of technology, it’s also important to know your money and personal information are protected.
“People want safety and security where they bank, without worrying about hackers getting into a huge database and stealing information,” says Dailey. “We’re very progressive about online security, whether you’re filling out a loan application or conducting routine banking transactions.”
The more people understand about finances, the better they can manage their money, but too often money matters seem complicated.
Community Bank & Trust of Florida offers solutions and regularly provides free financial literacy classes at area schools and faith-based organizations. In fact, over 2,300 individuals took advantage of these opportunities in 2018 alone.
This personalized attention is a hallmark of Community Bank & Trust of Florida, where a real person answers the phone in each branch. It may seem a little old fashioned, but it’s one of the things customers love.
They also appreciate that Community Bank & Trust of Florida gives back, typically donating between $30,000 and $50,000 annually to various community organizations. From Habitat for Humanity home builds and Little League to school clubs and teams, the March of Dimes, United Way and more, this is a bank that walks the talk.
“For the last 11 years, we’ve hosted Tee Time for Tots, a golf fundraiser that has raised over $160,000 for homeless children in our school districts. Every dollar goes to the children; nothing is taken out for administrative services,” says Dailey. “We’ve also helped hundreds of local kids learn to swim by sponsoring swimming scholarships through the local Swim America program.”
So whether it’s buying a first home, securing a commercial loan, sending a child to college or investing for retirement, the experts at Community Bank & Trust of Florida are here to guide you through each step of the process. It’s the only way they know how to do business, and for a bank with “community” in its name, it makes perfect sense.
Community Bank & Trust of Florida
Investment and Insurance products and services are NOT a deposit, NOT FDIC insured, NOT guaranteed by the bank, NOT insured by any federal government agency and MAY go down in value.