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ICBA Community Banking Month recognized in April

As the Independent Community Bankers of America recognizes April as ICBA Community Banking Month, our nation's nearly 8,000 community banks continue to have a far-reaching positive impact on the agricultural and rural economy in cities and towns throughout America.

"Community banks are pivotal to the overall health and financial success of rural America as they provide financing for a significant portion of agricultural credit needs," said Jim MacPhee, ICBA chairman and CEO of Kalamazoo County State Bank in Schoolcraft, Mich. "Even during these challenging economic times, our nation's community bankers continue to serve their agricultural customers. ICBA Community Banking Month gives community banks across the country an opportunity to recognize their agricultural customers and the important role they play within the community."

Community banks stimulate rural economies in a multitude of ways, including creating off-farm jobs, maintaining the local tax base and facilitating development of the infrastructure and public services necessary to keep rural communities vibrant.

"Community banks have consistently been the largest provider of agricultural credit within the commercial banking sector. Community banks with assets under $10 billion provide more than 75 percent of all commercial bank agricultural loans, and banks with assets less than $1 billion provide more than 60 percent of all commercial bank agricultural financing," MacPhee said. "Community banks are often the catalysts for new and expanded business opportunities within their communities to ensure long-term economic viability and vitality."

Community banks often use government loan programs for housing, small business and farm loans to assist borrowers who would otherwise have difficulty obtaining commercial credit. Continuing these programs is vital for rural America.

Each year, thousands of community banks recognize ICBA Community Banking Month in a variety of ways. Whether they host special events with local charities, promote economic development initiatives or offer programs to boost financial literacy, community banks continue to enrich their communities and lives of the customers they serve.

For more information about ICBA and ICBA Community Banking Month, visit www.icba.org. To find a community bank, visit ICBA's community bank locator by clicking here.

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