Notes from the CEO
Who Are Community Banks?
The end of the year seems to bring out myriad lists. I’m sure you’ve heard or seen them in the news. They range from the mundane (i.e. the biggest movies of the year) to the interesting (the top tech products of the year). Many of these lists are created and distributed by news organizations so it’s no surprise that there are many lists that recap the biggest news events of the year. Looking back at 2011 and the lists of top new stories within that time frame, I noticed the common thread of the economy and/or banks and protests about both of them. It’s important to distinguish between big banks and small ones, community banks and regional banks, and to acknowledge the role community banks play when looking at the bigger picture.
William Trezza, CEO of Bank of Agriculture and Commerce in Stockton wrote an editorial that was published in the Central Valley Business Journal on December 1, 2011. In the piece, Trezza noted that of the 260 licensed commercial banks in California, 243 are community banks. The article continues… “The 260 banks operating in California hold approximately $884 billion of deposits, with the largest seven holding $619 billion or 77%. The community banks hold $144 billion or 16%. This degree of concentration replicates itself at the national level where the top 100 banks hold 80% of U.S. based deposits, with the largest 4 banks at 45%. These concentrations leave the community banks (U.S. and California) with 16-20% market share. While this doesn’t sound like much it is significant. In California total deposits held by community banks is competitive with both Bank of America and Wells Fargo.”
Community banks contribute to the California economy in more ways than one. They employ and pay thousands of Californians and they provide benefits to those Californians. They also contribute many hours of service to local communities. By serving on boards, providing free financial guidance, and making charitable contributions, the employees who work for community banks in this state are truly a part of the communities they serve.
I’m looking forward to the year ahead and hope you are as well. I’m also hoping that among the top stories of 2012, is news of growth and prosperity… for all of us.
James E. Beckwith
President & CEO
Five Star Bank