The original column appeared in the Tribune-Democrat, written by Eric Renner, CEO and President of 1ST SUMMIT BANK. Click here to see original column.

With the fall of 2021 coming quickly, I sense that the future of our community is very opportunistic and bright. Our society, as a whole, should be extremely proud of how this region collectively managed – and continues to manage – the COVID-19 crisis, head on, with great perseverance and the intent of coming back stronger.

President of 1ST SUMMIT BANK Eric Renner give his take on our community's economy

J. Eric Renner is the CEO & President of 1ST SUMMIT BANK.

Just as all of the challenges we’ve dealt with in the past, we will once again rebuild our community and its economy with similar energy. Fortunately, I don’t believe that the economy was ever truly damaged; it simply went on pause. The economy was fundamentally strong when the virus emerged, and we did what we had to do to get through the initial crisis. Now, in extremely simplistic terms, we are in the process of turning things back on again.

There are, however, businesses that won’t reopen and good people who truly struggled during the pandemic. We grieve for them; yet, we must pick each other up. Be encouraged. What I have seen from our community over the past year has been truly astounding.

Many businesses have found ways to adjust their business models. Hopefully, these businesses can take what was learned along the way and incorporate that into their future plans.

What does this look like from your bank’s perspective?

At 1ST SUMMIT BANK, significant investments were made to give customers a myriad of channels to access money and banking needs. From depositing money through an ATM to advancements in drive-through accessibility, we were finding ways to meet the needs of our customers. Of course, that includes online and mobile banking.

Even before the word “COVID” was a part of our everyday vocabulary, mobile and online banking were on the rise. In 2019, according to FDIC’s annual How America Banks survey, mobile and online banking were already the top two primary methods for customers to access their bank accounts. Then, the challenges of the pandemic forced many more folks to become comfortable and educated with respect to using these convenient digital banking options.

1ST SUMMIT BANK has developed a robust mobile and online banking experience, including a new and informative website with easy accessibility and great improvements to our mobile platforms.

Now that customers have made the switch, we expect many to stick with it. However, that doesn’t mean we don’t want to see our customers in the office anymore. We value the relationships we have with our customers, and it is extremely important to us to have face-to-face interaction. So, even though we have made huge strides in technology that allows 24/7 banking access, we encourage our customers to continue to utilize our community offices, as they are a wealth of knowledge relative to maintaining and expanding financial health.

Ultimately, let’s continue to make progress and improvements as we move into the latter half of 2021. With rates remaining low, now is a great time to access capital and financing. Please do not hesitate to contact 1ST SUMMIT BANK for any assistance that we can provide.

Written By Eric Renner, CEO and President. This column appeared in The Tribune-Democrat’s Business section on 9/11/2021.