Local Bank Caters to Customers, Community, Small Businesses
Tuesday, January 29, 2019
Cornerstone Community Bank markets itself as “old school in the best way.” A good example of this philosophy in action is demonstrated when customers call the bank during business hours. They’re greeted by a human voice rather than an automated system — and it’s a local person assisting, not someone from a remote call center.
Cornerstone started in October 2006 as a single branch in Red Bluff. In 2011, it expanded and opened a branch in Redding. Today the bank employs 40 people between its locations and it continues to grow.
President and CEO Jeff Finck says the bank works to set itself apart with its exemplary customer service. “A local bank like ours is governed by a higher authority. Customers are our life blood. We pay particular attention to make sure we’re serving them well,” explains Finck. “The level of accountability we aspire to works out well for customers — and we’ve been rewarded with a lot of loyal customers.”
The bank is also distinctive because it has a small footprint and operates in two contiguous counties. This enables a customized approach to banking and lending, rather than the cookie cutter method used by most corporate banks today, according to Finck.
Cornerstone’s local governance is also an advantage. Finck lives in the area and local people serve on the board of directors. This translates to fast decision making, which can be critical for customers.
During the government’s 2013 budget sequestration, a powerful example of this played out. The Shasta Head Start was nearly shut down due to a funding gap. But Cornerstone was able to offer the organization a line of credit within just 24 hours. This fast action helped protect 350 jobs and kept services intact for hundreds of families.
Cornerstone takes its role as a corporate citizen seriously. It regularly gives back to the communities it serves, through donations to area nonprofits. The bank provided a generous $50,000 donation to assist efforts to recover from the Carr Fire last year.
Finck points out that staff members are quick to volunteer or independently organize fundraisers for various community needs as well. “We hire people with good hearts and let them be their authentic self,” he says.
In addition, the company plays a role in area economic development through its business lending. “Seventy percent small job creation is done by small businesses. They’re the lifeblood of the American economy,” says Finck. “We cater to the needs of small businesses and help with their expensive capital needs as well as offer financing to help them expand and grow.”
Cornerstone is also playing a part in community revitalization. When the bank outgrew its original leased Red Bluff location, it made an investment that will benefit the bank and help improve the community.
It purchased a property with an old restaurant that had been vacated for a number of years. The building was dilapidated and had to be demolished but it was a prime site to construct a new branch location, since it’s in the middle of the city at the intersection of two of Red Bluff’s main arteries.
President and CEO Jeff Finck looks over the plans at the Red Bluff construction site in May 2018
“We realized it was a wonderful opportunity to secure and almost change the look of the town’s gateway,” says Finck. “We took a blighted area and gave it quite a facelift.” Red Bluff officers on the patio at the new Red Bluff branch
The new branch opened in October of 2018. The bank occupies half of the 15,000-square-foot building near the river and the rest of the building is available for lease. The intent is to help spur business with this new office and retail space.
Construction on a new Redding office is now underway. The expanded branch should be completed in the spring of 2019.