Pennsylvania bank catering to Plain demographic

Amish and Mennonite Banking Options

With so many new technological banking features available, many customers can avoid going to a branch at all, opting for remote check deposit or online banking. But there will always remain a need for some services to require human contact, especially when making loans. And one bank that is well aware of this is a potential new bank near Lancaster, Pennsylvania that will be servicing all community members, specifically their Amish and Mennonite neighbors.

A group in Bird-in-Hand, Pennsylvania is working to create the The Bird-in-Hand Bank to help members of the Plain community, the name for the Amish and Mennonite population, to provide loans for land, farms or to start a small business. Though the bank expects non-Plain customers as well, there would still be some difference in the Bird-in-Hand bank – besides a larger parking lot to accommodate the customers’ horse and buggies.

“Since they don’t really have access to computers or the Internet, they’re not interested in banking online,” Donald Kraybill, author of “The Riddle of Amish Culture,” told American Banker. “They want old-fashioned, shake-the-hand banking. They want to make a deal with someone they know and trust.”

And appealing to the Amish makes good business sense as well – Kraybill explains that the credit ratings of Plain customers are “spectacular.”

The Bird-in-Hand bank would not be the first to cater towards Amish needs, but the report points out the importance and timelessness of trustworthy and personal customer service in the banking industry. When making a loan, even larger banks can use customer management software to keep track of exactly what consumers need. By using case management software to build stronger relationships, banks can attract customers regardless of demographic.

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