Does where I bank really matter?

Jocelyn Lane

Jocelyn Lane, VP, Commercial/Consumer Loan Officer, Missoula

All banks are the same – right? They all offer similar products and services.  A business loan is a business loan. A checking account is a checking account. What could possibly be different? A lot!

Like with many industries, banks also have varying sizes and areas that they cover.

  • National/international banks which literally can be found in pretty much any part of the United States or the world for that matter.
  • Internet only banks accessed solely by the means of a computer or a phone.
  • Regional banks which cover a particular region that involves typically several states.
  • Community banks which focus on just a targeted area with a smaller footprint.

With the national and regional banks, they create efficiencies by consolidating pretty much all of their employees within a certain area. These jobs typically include the call center, admin/executive roles, marketing, compliance, operations and loan processing. So while you bank with them where you live and work, most of their behind-the-scenes folks are not in your community but instead are in a different state and may even be located in a different country (for example, a call center located in Costa Rica). The same is definitely true of the internet only banks but even on a larger scale because they don’t even have a local representation of any kind.

Why does this matter?  Well, it matters for a lot of reasons.

Level of Service

My best friend since 7th grade is a controller at a regional hospital in the Alabama area. Her company moved away from a national bank because their banker was never local and was difficult to reach. They selected a community banker because they saw this person regularly in the community and knew the responsiveness of this person/bank would be different. They had concluded as a company that’s what they valued and needed most. Her exact words to me were “I feel like I have another business colleague in my banker. You can’t put a value or price tag on that.”

Brenton and Bos Hay

Local Economy Support

Another area to think about is how much more a community bank drives your local economy where you live. While national, internet only and regional banks consolidate their employees into hubs likely in a location not in your community, community banks instead have all those jobs and salaries locally. Further, the bank’s own dollars generated from profit are also spent locally too. So a dollar earned in your community, stays in your community.

Giving Back

A final reason evolves around the benefit a community bank brings to the community.


Community banks and bankers are committed to giving back to the community where they work and live. They volunteer countless hours and personally donate funds (remember those salaries). In addition, the community bank itself gives additional charitable contributions (remember those dollars earned).

Old MC Bank Nefsy


For the most part in Montana, we are not a Metropolitan hub benefiting from consolidated and large companies placing their administration and operations departments here. Rather, we benefit most from the companies who originate here, stay here and keep all their employees here.

I recently moved to Montana. Deciding to work for Stockman Bank was an easy decision for me. The headquarters of the bank are in Montana and all the jobs and profits are retained here.  As such, a dollar earned here, stays here. In terms of giving back to the community, I’ve never been involved with a company so generous with their employees’ time to support non-profits as well as with the dollars given.

So to my earlier question, does it matter where you bank?  I have the answer for you. Absolutely! 

Are you interested in working with us? Contact your nearest Stockman Bank today.

Bank Disclosures

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