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2.28.2022 / Gateway in the News

The Tulsa World Discusses How Community Banks Help Strengthen Communities.

Community banks play a significant role in small and large cities throughout the country. The very fabric of local communities is impacted at all levels through a community banks products and services but also through the bank’s involvement in the community itself.

How community banks strengthen the community.

The money managed by a local bank is reinvested into that community through loans and other financial services for area individuals, families and small businesses.

“When you maintain a checking, savings or other type of account with a community bank, you increase the community banks’ ability to offer small business loans and mortgages with better terms to your neighbors and friends,” says Greg Wagner, Senior Vice President/Retail Banking Executive with Gateway First Bank. “Banking local helps local businesses grow and thrive, whether it is an established company or a new startup. When clients bank local, they are supporting and strengthening their local community. What a terrific way to keep your local area vibrant and growing,” says Wagner.

Local banks serve the community at large.

Many local banks are also involved in community service efforts, which can include charitable donations, sponsoring local organizations and events, volunteerism, and offering personal financial education classes.

“Because we are physically in the community, our team can easily build relationships with business customers to better understand local factors, reputation and past history with the bank. These relationships play a large role in ensuring that not just hard numbers and scores, which may or may not tell the full story of your business plan, are considered when deciding to approve a loan. At a community bank like Gateway, you can expect to work with familiar faces who know you and what is important to you, your family and your business,” says Wagner.

The community bank model is successful in strengthening the community, as they are based in your local area where the team is made up of your neighbors and family. While online and mobile banking are a strong feature for all banks, in-person services and relationships are a key benefit for banking local.

Gateway First Bank’s community impact.

In May of 2019, Gateway Mortgage Group merged with a 100-year-old community bank to create Gateway First Bank. The five banking centers in western Oklahoma are cornerstone businesses in those communities. Last Friday, Gateway opened a new 3,500-square-foot flagship banking center in Jenks, Oklahoma, to the cheers of Gateway team members and community leaders. Located on Jenks’ Main Street, the 3,500-square-foot banking center sits near the company headquarters just off Highway 75 at 100 South Gateway Place.

"We are thrilled to open our new flagship location that is also the ‘gateway’ to the city of Jenks," said Scott Gesell, CEO of Gateway. "This is the culmination of a dream to merge a successful nationwide mortgage company with an Oklahoma community bank. We promised that, if allowed to turn this dream into a reality, we would expand access to banking services into communities across Oklahoma and its contiguous states."

This grand opening, along with another in Oklahoma City in April, will bring Gateway's banking footprint to eight locations with more on the way. Other Gateway First Bank locations include Cherokee, Tonkawa, Nash, Wakita, Helena and a microbranch in the Jenks corporate building.

Local families and communities first.

"I am also particularly proud of the work we are doing in North Tulsa," said Gesell. "As a part of our mission of strengthening families and communities, this past December we installed an ATM in the Oasis grocery store next to our new mortgage center in North Tulsa. This community is underserved in mortgage and banking services, and we are proud to be conveniently located to better serve their needs."

In addition, one Saturday a month, the Gateway team provides grocery store customers with financial education and resource materials. The community bank also hosts Financial Freedom seminars for prospective and current mortgage customers.

As seen in the Tulsa World.

About Gateway First Bank 

Gateway First Bank is a leading financial institution that provides banking and mortgage services for consumers and commercial customers. Headquartered in Jenks, Oklahoma, Gateway is a $1.9 billion asset sized bank with a strong mortgage operation.  Gateway is one of the largest banking and mortgage operations in the United States with six bank branches in Oklahoma, over 160 mortgage centers in 42 states, and almost 1,600 employees.  Learn more at www.GatewayFirst.com. Member FDIC, Equal Housing Lender (NMLS 7233)

Follow Gateway First on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/GatewayFirstBank/), LinkedIn (https://www.linkedin.com/company/gatewayfirst/) and Twitter (https://twitter.com/Gateway1st).

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