An Illinois Bank's Holiday Projects Benefit the Community, Reap Goodwill

By Ramos, Elmer F. | Independent Banker, December 1994 | Go to article overview

An Illinois Bank's Holiday Projects Benefit the Community, Reap Goodwill


Ramos, Elmer F., Independent Banker


Sometimes the most effective marketing campaigns are not the result of high-budget, textbook style strategies. Sometimes it takes little more than some old-fashioned goodwill to produce the best bank marketing. Such is the case at the First State Bank of Beardstown, Illinois.

With temperatures falling and the holidays approaching, First State Bank is bringing warmth and joy to needy children in its community. The Coats for Kids and Angel Tree projects, which rely on the support of bank employees and the public, fill important community needs while garnering goodwill for the $42 million-asset bank.

"We're a very community-minded bank," says Doris McKenzie, assistant vice president and corporate secretary. "Our staff and officers are very supportive of the programs. They're great for public relations."

The Coats for Kids program has provided coats for more than 70 children in the past two years. Its success is tied to a trend among many banks: casual days. First State Bank employees must pay a price for the privilege of dressing down--and for dressing up, too--with the proceeds going to the coat fund.

The second Friday of each month is casual day. Employees who comply must pay $1; those who don't owe $2. The bank also holds theme dress-up days, such as Wild West Day, '50s Day and Occupation Day (employees dress as workers other than bankers). The theme days coincide with bake sales, in which staffers contribute the goodies. Those who fail to either bring baked goods or dress up owe $1.50; those who fail to do both must pay $3.

This year, staff "fines" and bake sale profits amounted to more than $800. A $500 donation from the bank, a $100 gift certificate from the local Wal-Mart, and donations from the public brought the total to more than $1,500--enough to buy coats, hats and mittens for 40 children. …

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