Behind the Business: Community Savings Bank

The staff of Community Savings Bank is pictured.

The staff of Community Savings Bank is pictured.

Submitted photo

It’s an errand that many of us take for granted, but the people at Community Savings Bank have worked hard to continue to offer their services to the community. Their customers aren’t just going to the bank; they’re visiting, talking and laughing. Community Savings Bank has been mutually invested in the community since the late 1800s, and it shows.

The bank, located in a renovated Sohio station in downtown Greenfield, is full of familiar faces. Nearly every employee has been with the bank for over 10 years. Kelley McNeil is one of the long-time employees of Community Savings Bank, and greets customers by name as they walk through the door. McNeil joined the team in 1987, followed by Sandy Olaker in 1992, Charlene Sterling in 1998, and Merri Storts in 2003. The Greenfield group has an average of 27 years experience amongst its employees.

“We do have a loyal crew,” McNeil said.

In 1886, the bank opened as the Home Building and Loan Company. It was started by individuals who wanted their own bank that gave back to the community. As a mutual savings and loan company, it would be owned by the people who made deposits. Many of the deposits made then were under $10, which granted the loans that helped to build Greenfield as we know it. The institution and its values remained virtually unchanged for almost 130 years.

Even until 2012, everything was handwritten. In 2012, the bank finally went digital in order to meet industry regulations.

“We grew with the customers.” said McNeil, assistant vice president and branch manager, who explained that customers of all ages are beginning to use technology for banking more and more.

Recently, to keep up with changing industry compliance regulations, the Home Building and Loan Company had to find a partner — another institution with the same values. That search lead them to Community Savings Bank of Bethel. Just three years apart in age and both highly dedicated to their community, the two institutions merged on Sept. 12, 2014 to form Community Savings Bank. This new partnership provided a strong foundation for the bank and brought about a more rounded banking experience for the customers.

They are now a full-service bank, and where before there was only savings, now there is checking, debit cards, CDs, long-term mortgage loans, and fixed rate mortgage loans.

John Essen, president and director, and James Wilson, vice president, described the incredible amount of time, effort and resources that went into preserving the values of the bank.

“There is so much more [to banking] than taking money and making deposits,” Wilson said.

Through the recent transitions and advancements, Community Savings Bank’s conviction always comes down to the people they serve – as the name implies.

Wilson beamed, “They are the heart and soul of the institution.”

Submitted by Maddie Cupp.

The staff of Community Savings Bank is pictured. staff of Community Savings Bank is pictured. Submitted photo