Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Small Town Banks

I've been banking since I was able to walk.  I would take my birthday money to our small town bank and put it into my account.  It wasn't until junior high did I learn that you were able to take that money out.  My Dad would tell us we could only make deposits and that we were never allowed to take it out. Thanks Dad!

It wasn't until later in life when I was introduced to chain banks did I realize that you could bank somewhere, where they ask you ridiculous questions like . . . What is your name?

Jake and I started borrowing money together before we were married.  The year we planned our wedding we built our first house together also.  However we worked through a small town bank and a wonderful banker.  A small town banker (from my experience on two different occasions in two different banks) are marriage counselors and honest sound advice givers.  Here are some examples.

Shortly after we were married Jake and I signed a loan with a bigger bank to purchase cows.  I was teaching and meeting to sign papers was difficult and I wasn't really feeding these cows and was not investing in the project.  However I still needed to sign papers. As it was explained to me that we were legally bound by marriage blah, blah, blah.  Fine I will sign the papers.  However when I go to the chain bank to cash a check with Jake's name on it and they can clearly see we have all joint accounts, they say we will need Jake's signature.  I thought we were bound by marriage.

However borrowing money from a small town banker for cows, feedyard, or house, it goes more like this.  The banker greets both of us like a couple.  He asks a series of questions to each of us about why we want to make the purchase.  Small town bankers seem to be very careful to make sure I am on board with whatever the purchase is.  Small town bankers also are more concerned with our personal finances, including if we will have money to buy groceries and make the payments on whatever we are about to purchase.

The icing on the cake for a farm wife at a chain bank is taking your once a year paycheck (with your husbands name on it) to the bank to be deposited in a joint account and they have to go to the back of the bank for a committee meeting. They only come out to ask me preposterous questions like . . .
1. Do you know where this check came from?
 I had to show them where you can tell who wrote the check.
2. Why is the check for such a high amount?
 I then explained Agriculture 100 in 12.5 minutes and then how banks work.

The only solution is for America to move to all small town banks.


  1. Love this post! I am from a farming family in small town Iowa, and I couldn't agree with you more! I even worked a couple of years as a teller at our little bank. I loved getting to know the customers on a personal basis. I think the customers would rather be greeting as "Hi, Bob!" rather than "Hello account 2038423!"

    1. Brooke

      Thanks for reading. What did your family raise?