I recently had a conversation with a customer who was upset that Biddeford Savings donated money to local non-profits. The customer’s reasoning was that those monies should go to customers of the Bank in the form of higher deposit rates and/or lower loan rates. While I do not agree with this customer (the customer is not always right, you know) the comment got me to thinking. Why do we donate over $100,000 a year to local non-profits? And to be clear, all the community banks I know of in Maine (and many of the big banks) are active supporters of local non-profits.
So, why do we do this? For me it goes back to one of our core values, citizenship. For Biddeford Savings Bank that means helping our customers along their paths to prosperity but also working to improve the quality of life in the communities we serve. Our work in the community takes on a couple of forms – many of us serve on agency Boards and Committees and we also make direct donations to over 30 worthwhile agencies. Those of us who serve on Boards and Committees follow our hearts and support causes important to us. The Bank’s giving targets agencies supporting youth initiatives, education, mental health, and senior citizen programs. I think our time and money help make Maine a better place to live.
Back to our interest rates for a moment – the rates we pay on deposits and charge on loans are determined by market and competitive forces. We do pay and charge in line with economic conditions and the local market, whether or not we donated to charity would not change our rate structures. So, we will keep on giving and I hope you share my view that this is a good thing.