When Banks and Credit Unions Branch Out, Do they Connect with Local History?

History Smiths

Recently, a local bank I know opened a new branch in a historic neighborhood of a historic town – yes, in New England, everything is that closely defined. The bank is not new to the town, but they are new to this neighborhood, and so they have an enviable opportunity to connect with local history.

Residents in this particular neighborhood are very attached to their history. In fact, when asked where they live, residents will refer to the neighborhood and not the town. Again, what an opportunity for this regional bank to show customers they “get it” and really endear themselves.


The history comes first. The bank needs to find a local historian to clue them in on the area’s founding, key families (many of whom are still there), important events, historic buildings, and so on. AND, the bank needs to work with a historian or researcher who can tell them what all of this history means to their customers today.

Armed with all of this information, the bank could:

• Work with the local historical society to include images from local history in their décor

• Work with the local historical society to create a scavenger hunt of local history for kids (forms would only be available at the bank branch)

• Make a special offer to customers who join the historical society

• Support local history projects – and show evidence of this support at the bank branch

• Create a “Did you know?” local history handout for customers

• Host a local history talk or reception for a local history author (and if your branch isn’t big enough, sponsor the talk at another site)

The bank could really have fun with its customers by having fun with local history.

The bank might also consider ALL of the communities it serves, and take steps to learn the history of each one. Staff members are often transferred from one branch to another, and this would help them interact with customers. The bank should also know key historical events in each town so they are prepared with their marketing and community outreach plans (such as the founder’s birthday, town anniversary, and so on).

The bank could also bring in the historians they hire to coach their entire staff about all of this history at a special all-staff meeting or at their annual meeting.

Taking this level of interest in local history really will be noticed by customers. We New Englanders do pay attention to who “gets” history, and who does not!