Community Banks, still banking for community - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Community Banks, still banking for community

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By Karen Cohilas - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Banks across the country are fighting to stay open. Many have taken millions of dollars from the federal government to help them stay afloat. With all the talk of bank failures and bailouts, getting a loan for a house or a car has become more difficult, but it's not impossible. Some community banks are remaining successful without taking handouts.

We've all heard about those multi-million dollar bailouts banks across the country have taken to stay afloat, but not everyone is interested in the government's money.

"We haven't taken any of the bailout money," said James Brown, who manages the Albany branch of Capitol City Bank, a bank he says is committed to the community.

Brown said, "We're out here everyday with the community, we're out there with the people. We're seeing so that hands on definitely been a plus for us here at the community level."

Brown says knowing the people his bank is lending to, and not relaxing lending standards has allowed them to continue lending even in tough times. "Opportunities do exist. People can still borrow money. Mortgages are available here at Capitol City Bank, FHA applications, VA applications, conventional home loans all are available."

They're available at Flint Community Bank, too. President Scott Tomlinson says a person's word and a handshake are back in style.  Tomlinson said, "People are concerned with the economy and with their money and with their finances and they like being able to sit down and talk with someone and I think they see that and feel that with community banks."

Flint Community Bank also isn't taking any of that bailout money. In fact, since the bank began in 2006, it has only grown. Tomlinson says that's why his bank will continue to loan to people and businesses with good credit.

"If you tout yourself as a community bank, then you have to bank your community. That sounds over simplified, but it's a fact. Good economy, bad economy, we have to be here for our community."

Good credit is still important in order to get a loan. If you pay your bills on time, and have a responsible lending history, most banks will still extend financing.

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