As we celebrate our nation’s birth this Fourth of July, I’m proud to represent our country’s independent spirit as a community banker, contributing to our nation’s economic well-being through service to our customers and communities.

At The Farmers Bank it’s the relationship, not the transaction, that governs our practices and interactions with customers and distinguishes us as independent lenders. Because we are locally owned and operated, we understand the funding needs of our area’s small business community, and we diligently strive every day to earn their patronage as the primary and preferred small business lender in the community.

As small businesses ourselves, community banks understand the unique needs of our small business customers. A study from seven Federal Reserve Banks found that small businesses that apply for loans with community banks are the most successful and most satisfied. According to the study, small businesses that apply for loans with community banks were more likely to receive financing (78 percent versus 63 percent from large banks) and were more satisfied with their borrowing experience (80 percent versus 61 percent for large banks).

The role of community banks as trusted lenders and our desire to help more Americans gain financial independence is what drove policymakers to heed our concerns regarding unnecessarily overzealous regulation, resulting in the passage of the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act. This landmark law will allow community banks across the nation to redirect precious resources from pushing paperwork to funding dreams, which is good for all consumers and local communities.

No other country has as rich and robust a community banking infrastructure as the United States. And only in America can independent banks like The Farmers Bank flourish alongside captains of industry by doing what we do best—serving our customers with distinction.

I’m proud of the work The Farmers Bank does to make our community stronger and more vibrant by making the American dream possible for families, entrepreneurs, farmers and those who depend on us to meet their financial needs and goals.

Just as independence matters, what we do matters. Thank you for letting The Farmers Bank serve this community for over 100 years and for helping our bank retain our independence by supporting an environment where community banks and Main Street flourish. Happy Fourth!