Local bank focuses on community engagement
Woodlands Bank, located on East Third Street, has been working for nearly 30 years to bring a community aspect to banking in the Williamsport and surrounding areas according to Jon Conklin, president and CEO.
The bank’s doors opened on Oct. 10 of 1990 after a group of locals got together to discuss the banking industry at the time and how they wanted to get back to “community banking.”
At the time, there were local financial institutions in every community, but now that is hard to come by.
Today, the bank is successful and growing in the industry as smaller community banks are merging to meet the demands of commercialization.
“It was just a small building here with only nine or ten employees,” Conklin said. “The building has been added onto and we have seven branch locations from Lock Haven to Hughesville.”
Conklin had a background with public accounting and got to know Woodlands and other local banks through his history before starting at Woodlands in 2010 as the Chief Financial Officer.
He stated that he found what he really enjoyed about banking within Woodlands and soon became the CEO and President in 2013.
“This is where I wanted to be,” he said.
No matter the growth, Woodlands’ goal has always been to remain an independent, “community focused financial institution” according to Conklin.
“We continue to do what we do, which is a true community bank business model,” he said. “Woodlands still exists because the goal that still remains today is to do what we can to remain independent in the community. That desire still exists.”
The bank does traditional banking with small business lending as well as commercial lending, home equity loans, mortgage loans and regular accounts for deposits, saving and checking.
Though using traditional methods of banking and lending, Woodlands also works to remain relevant with Apple and Samsung pay, person to person payments and other means of mobile banking options.
Conklin believes that Woodlands sets itself apart from other banks in the local area due to its “proximity to its customers and communities”.
“The folks that make those (financial) decisions are here, you see us at the grocery store, you see us out at community events and organizations,” he said. “It’s our ability to take some more risk with customers that might not look stellar on paper, but we know pieces of them and we know their character because we know them personally. It allows us to provide that financing for businesses and residences. We know our customers, their businesses and we know how they fit in the community and the prospects for success.”
He added that the bank contributes to a lot of local schools with donations, helping with stockmarket games and even financial literacy curriculum. The bank also sponsors Little League teams, Uptown Music Collective and local universities with labs and programs.
“It’s part of our main focus,” he said. To be intertwined with our communities. We encourage our employees to get involved in their communities on a personal basis”