Bangor, PA – Merchants Bank has received an “Outstanding” rating, the highest possible rating, on their most recent Community Reinvestment Act exam from the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC). The Community Reinvestment Act (CRA), enacted by Congress in 1977, encourages depository institutions to help meet the credit needs of the communities in which they operate. According to the FFIEC website:
“The CRA requires the federal financial institution supervisory agencies, in connection with their examinations of certain depository institutions, to assess the institutions' performance. A financial institution's performance in helping to meet the credit needs of its community is evaluated in the context of in-formation about the institution (capacity, constraints and business strategies), its community (demographic and economic data, lending, investment, and service opportunities), and its competitors and peers. Upon completion of a CRA examination, an overall CRA Rating is assigned using a four-tiered rating system. These ratings are: Outstanding, Satisfactory, Needs to Improve, and Substantial Noncompliance.”
Proud of the Bank’s latest rating, Anthony Biondi, Chief Executive Officer of Merchants Bank, commented, “With very few banks with this elite rating, this is the first ‘Outstanding’ rating we received since my tenure here and I suspect that it may be our first ever. I applaud the Merchants Bank team for a job well done and for harmoniously aligning our business strategy as a Community Bank with the needs of the local community.”
Along with lending practices, loan-to-deposit ratios and investments and services, the FFIEC also evaluates the qualified philanthropic activities the bank, including employees’ volunteer hours for qualified organizations. In 2012, Merchants Bank employees volunteered 1020 hours to CRA-eligible organizations and programs and are on pace to beat that statistic for 2013. “For an organization with less than 100 employees, we are very impressed by the volunteer efforts of our employees. These hours do not even reflect the volunteer time to organizations and projects that do not qualify under CRA,” said Richard Hotchkiss, Chairman of the Board of Directors. Bank management estimates that employees donate over 2,000 hours of their time every year to not-for-profits.
As further evidence of their community support, Merchants Bank won two volunteer awards this year: Greater Lehigh Valley of Chamber of Commerce’s The Spirit of Forks Award as well as the Volunteer Center of the Lehigh Valley’s Spirit of Volunteerism Award. Videos about the Bank’s activities to win these awards can be accessed here: Spirit of Forks and Spirit of Volunteerism. For more information on CRA ratings, please visit the FFIEC website at: http://www.ffiec.gov/craratings/ratings_faq.htm.
Established in 1890, Merchants Bank is a locally owned and operated community bank. Headquartered in Bangor, PA, Merchants has two branch offices in Bangor and additional offices throughout the Lehigh Valley, including Mount Bethel, Wind Gap, Nazareth, Forks Township, Martins Creek, Easton and Bethlehem, PA. MNB Investment Services is a division of the bank and offers investment and wealth management financial services. For more information, please visit www.merchantsbangor.com.