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Community banks still safe

In these times of financial crisis and billion-dollar rescue plans, there's one financial institution that you can still count on -- your independently owned community bank.

Economic conditions and business cycles constantly change, but independent community banks have proven to be stable and reliable partners with their communities. Minnesota has hundreds of successful community banks, and more than 100 of them have served their markets for over a century.

There is a huge difference between an independent community bank and a Wall Street investment bank, a national mortgage broker, and/or a government-sponsored entity. Independent community banks are based on the philosophy of local people making local decisions in the best interest of their local communities.

Over the past few years some lenders stretched loan underwriting standards which contributed to the current financial crisis. Community bankers didn't stray from commonsense loan underwriting. We didn't participate in predatory or high-risk lending practices, and we don't need a federal bailout.

Independent community banks are highly regulated, safe, and well-capitalized and have strong management teams. We provide our customers with FDIC insurance, and no bank customer has ever lost a penny of a deposit insured by FDIC.

Independent community banks remain safe, secure and committed to the long-term interests of our customers and community. We aren't driven by the greed of Wall Street, didn't participate in the lending practices that led to the current financial crisis, and we're not looking for a bailout.

Independent community banks are the backbone of the financial structure of this country, and we plan to stay that way.

Donald D. Collins