Reporter Fred Hiers of the Ocala Star Banner interviewed CBTFL president and CEO Hugh Dailey for a story on the decline of community banks in Marion County. Community Bank & Trust of Florida is now the “only Marion County-based bank,” a situation Dailey attributes to the burden of post-2008 banking regulations and low interest rates. In the article, Dailey explains why customers are the biggest losers when bank choice decreases and how communities benefit from locally-owned banks. How has CBTFL thrived while other Marion County community banks have been lost to mergers and acquisitions? Dailey points to CBTFL’s original intention “to serve the local community and ensure its leadership remains here.” That purpose guided the bank’s founding through sales of $10 shares. Even with a seven percent limit on how much of the bank any group or individual could buy, CBTFL raised seven million in the span of a month. CBTFL’s swift success demonstrates the strong appetite for community banking in Marion County. Watch our 20 year anniversary video to discover how we’re building a community we can all be proud of:

Today, CBTFL has around 200 shareholders and most live locally. Board members also live in Marion, Alachua or Sumter counties. There is little turnover among the bank’s 135 employees and customers know the people behind the counter from their own communities. Besides the friendly rapport between employees and customers who are also neighbors, Dailey describes several concrete ways in which towns benefit from locally-owned banks. These include the flexibility to approve loans at the local branch and work with customers and communities during hard times. Community banks also make the majority of America’s small business loans, and the article features two small business success stories who received funding from CBTFL. Read the rest of Dailey’s interview in the full article.