Why You Should Choose An Independent Bank

The First branch in Newtown, PA in summertime

Also known as a community bank, independent banks are locally owned and operated, with deposits staying in the area as loans to small businesses, charitable donations, etc. Independent banks can also tailor their services to the needs of the local population instead of adhering to a one-size-fits-all, national menu of banking products.

While credit unions can also be locally-based and independent, the biggest difference between these two types of financial institutions is that community banks don’t receive special tax breaks. They also tend to offer a wider variety of personal and business banking services than credit unions.

As for the bigger banks, we’ve all seen the headlines about bad (and sometimes illegal) behavior towards employees and customers. Being nationally or regionally-based instead of truly local usually results in less personalized customer service. When you call, you likely have to talk to an AI “assistant” instead of speaking to a human.

As The First celebrates 160 years of independent banking, we’ll cover the benefits of locally owned banks in this blog.

Benefits of Local Community Banks

If you’re not already banking with an independent community bank, find out what you’re missing!

Local Focus

Community banks take deposits and make loans within the same local area. This supports the local economy and keeps independent banks focused on the specific needs of the people and businesses they serve.


For example, The First has provided billions of dollars in loans locally to the people and businesses of Bucks County, PA. All our deposits and profits are invested into the local economy. We’ve been stable and trusted since 1864, supporting Bucks County through the Great Depression, both World Wars, economic crashes, and everything in between. We’re committed to remaining independent for whatever the future holds next.

Big banks are bought and merged, but The First isn’t going anywhere. We’ve been here for 160 years and we even have a declaration of independence signed by the bank’s directors. Being independent allows us to focus on a long-term strategy that benefits our customers and community, rather than anonymous shareholders. Our entire management team is local and we’re focused on making ethical business decisions.

The First is committed to independence.

True Relationship Banking

The independent banking model encourages long-term relationships between bankers and their customers. At The First, our employees’ average tenure is significantly longer than what you’ll find at national banks. This means you get experience, expertise, local knowledge, and a long-term banking relationship built on trust, flexibility, and availability.

We often serve multiple generations of customers, some of whom have now been with us through six generations of business ownership. At The First, relationship banking also means we consider a lot more than just credit score when it comes to financing personal and business needs locally.

Unlike the bigger banks, we didn’t find success by acquiring other banks to become a thriving and financial institution. Instead, we built a successful bank and acquired our clients by providing great service and solutions for over 160 years.

The First offers a sustainable workplace.

Swift and local decision-making

Because we are owned and operated locally, we can be nimble with processing and approving applications for business loans, mortgages, and more. And we don’t sell your loan to another company–we service our own loans instead. At The First, you can expect to get more than just a loan, but a partnership before, during, and after your loan closes. We also offer unique and flexible solutions, such as single-close construction loans.

A Reliable Partner To Local Businesses

At The First, we’re passionate about small business. In fact, independent banks are well-known for being a good lending partner to local businesses. In contrast, “the largest 20 banks, which now control 57 percent of all bank assets, devote only 18 percent of their commercial loan portfolios to small business.” Community banks also offer a full suite of business banking services.

Everything the Bigger Banks Offer

The First offers a full suite of banking products and services for all business and personal banking needs, including an entire wealth management group with over 200 years of experience in investment management, financial planning, trust services, and estate administration. With 12 local branches across Bucks County, and the latest digital banking technology, you can bank locally wherever you go. We know Bucks County, have deep roots in the community, and understand the dynamics of the economy, business opportunities, and challenges locally. We are proud to be able to offer all the banking and financial resources you need right here at home.

The First offers the technology of a major bank paired with small town service.

Community Engagement

It’s right there in the name–community banks are dedicated to serving and supporting the communities they serve through direct donations, employee volunteering, and more. At The First, that means donating to dozens of local organizations and partnering with St. Andrew Catholic School to provide financial literacy and real-world banking services through an on-site branch operated by the school’s students. We are also committed to making banking more accessible by offering a completely free checking account, a savings account for kids, nonprofit banking options, and more.

Independent banks serve the local community.

Bank locally in Bucks County!

If you’re looking for the best independent banks in Bucks County, look no further than The First. We have been meeting the personal, business, and non-profit banking needs of Bucks County for 160 years and we look forward to the next 160 years. Celebrate our milestone anniversary with us by visiting one of our locations in Newtown Borough, Newtown Township, Doylestown, Warminster, Richboro, Jamison, Langhorne, Levittown, Fairless Hills, Solebury, Washington Crossing, or Wrightstown.