Bank forms outreach program

February 17, 1994|By Amy L. Miller | Amy L. Miller,Sun Staff Writer

Rather than guessing what Taneytown Bank and Trust can do for its community, bank officials have decided to ask directly the people they want to help.

The bank's new 10-member Advisory Committee on Community Outreach Programs, created this month by President Frank W. Neubauer, will meet quarterly with residents to discuss how Taneytown Bank can support business growth and homeowners.

"Banks have the moral responsibility and legally must reinvest in the community," said Assistant Vice President Michael L. Barrett, referring to the federal Community Reinvestment Act, which states that banks must help support their own areas as well as investing in sound projects elsewhere.

"Banks on their own usually decide how to do that," he said. "We thought it would be wonderful to go out to the community and have the community tell us what they need."

At the group's first meeting, discussion turned to affordable housing and supporting local industry, Mr. Barrett said.

But members also mentioned nonfinancial ways Taneytown Bank could assist residents.

Taneytown Bank already provides telephone numbers for and information about county senior centers in a newsletter for members of its Club 50, a banking program for senior citizens, he said.

"I really thought the first meeting would be more of a social thing," Mr. Barrett said.

"But the conversation got really interesting. We can do more than just lend money.

"I hope they will hold us to task and help us channel our resources into projects that make sense. They'll give us a lot of good feedback."

Taneytown Bank also sponsors Small Business Development Center consultant Michael Fish's weekly visits to help entrepreneurs develop business plans and comply with the regulations associated with starting a business.

Since the second week of January, Mr. Fish has been meeting with clients on Fridays, although he is available at other times by appointment, Mr. Barrett said. Mr. Fish also provides the same services twice a week for the Carroll County Economic Development Office in Westminster, he said.

"We realized that anyone from Taneytown could have always gone down to Westminster," Mr. Barrett said. "But, we felt he could be even more credible if he was actually up here working with Taneytown businesses."

Taneytown Bank provides office space, clerical support and help in arranging Mr. Fish's appointments. Taneytown's Chamber of Commerce and the city government contributed $1,250 to the Maryland Small Business Development Center for Mr. Fish's services for the year, Mr. Barrett said.

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