As the holidays approach we are reminded of George Bailey, a small town banker in It’s a Wonderful Life. His bank, in trouble, is eyed by the wealthy and soulless Mr. Potter. With a transfer of power to Potter, the stores, the homes and the spirit of the small town of Bedford Falls are threatened.

With our own Community Bank of Oak Park River Forest having been recently in the news, we reflect on our community. Oak Park has been named the third best neighborhood to live in the nation by the American Planning Association, and I believe that Community Bank plays a vital role in this designation.

Like the revered Bailey Building and Loan Association, Community Bank has been instrumental in supporting the development of many local establishments and organizations. Over the last 14 years, they financed local families’ home mortgages, local public and private schools, libraries, historical societies, small businesses and entrepreneurs.

Four years ago, my wife and I went to Community Bank with a concept for a new restaurant. Because they believed in the concept, our vision and us, Community Bank put their money behind us to help open Maya del Sol. Small business ventures such as ours are often overlooked by the large corporate banks. We exist as a thriving business today because of Community Bank’s belief in investing in the local community.

Like us, this bank is vested in the community; their values are aligned with those of many of our local institutions in terms of giving back, job creation, customer service and appreciation, and they have a strong desire to make this a thriving community.

From the beginning of our business relationship, they’ve treated us as a partner, not a number. Walking into the bank’s lobby is like walking into a friend’s home; the staff radiates a warm, genuine feel, making a concerted effort to know each customer.

In light of the new regulatory orders that community banks in general are instructed to adhere to, we are calling upon our community to support this local institution. Open an account with this bank and show them your support of their standing and contribution to our community.

In an age where a few national brands have displaced local business and are in control of our lifelines, as consumers, our choices are limited and we are forced to accept their unfair solutions to our concerns. These major brands define us as a process with an account number. They have no desire of building an emotional bond or relationship. Our Community Bank embodies the alternative to these brands. We call on our fellow neighbors and residents to support Community Bank.

We are proud to be friends and customers of this wonderful bank. Let’s pull together as a community and show our support to this institution.

Anan and Margi Abu-Taleb
Oak Park

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