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BLOG: Community Banker or Community Developer?

What’s In A Name:
Community Banker or Community Developer?

Prior to joining River Valley I spent more than 10 years dedicated to sustainable community development work. Be it environmental, educational or economic in focus, I was a Community Developer through and through.

It came as some surprise to me then, that most of my friends and family members were caught off guard when I told them I was leaving the non-profit sector to work for a bank. “You… a banker?” “I just can’t picture it” they would say quizzically. “Balderdash!” I’d reply with a smile. “Community Bankers are Community Developers.”

Just think about it. Bankers grow our communities by helping businesses create jobs. Without start-up capital or funding for day-to-day operations, very few businesses would ever get off the ground – not to mention have the ability to hire employees.

Bankers are job creators,
neighborhood stabilizers, and
champions for change in
our communities.

Bankers stabilize our communities by making homeownership possible. According to TJC Mortgage, Inc., in its article on “Why Home Ownership Matters? It Increases stability within the community”, data shows that homeowners reside four times longer in a community than renters do. Along with that stability come greater civic awareness and involvement; the type of involvement which ultimately leads to stronger communities, schools and lower crime rates.

Bankers also solve community problems and support charitable causes. They spend their evenings at non-profit board meetings collaborating with community partners on how to best meet unmet needs like hunger, while their weekends are spent passing out water at 5K fundraisers.

And so, Bankers are job creators, neighborhood stabilizers, and champions for change in our communities. All of this puts Community Bankers among the finest Community Developers I’ve ever met. In fact, River Valley’s team of Bankers have made the last four years I’ve spent in banking some of the most fulfilling years of my career. Take a look at River Valley’s Community Impact page here.

Keep your eyes peeled for my upcoming blog posts featuring River Valley’s finest Community Developers and the impact they’re making on our communities.


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Headshot Image: Dawn Follendorf
Dawn Follendorf
Community Reinvestment Act Officer
River Valley Bank
327 N. 17th Avenue
Wausau, WI 54401