SALEM, Ohio — Both Consumers National Bank and the Salem Community Foundation on Thursday welcomed those in the Salem area to celebrate their newly constructed facility on South Ellsworth Avenue.
“Local banks like Consumers and civic organizations like the Salem Community Foundation are critical to the economic vitality of small towns across the country,” said Ralph J. Lober II, President and CEO of Consumers. “There is a strong correlation between access to local banks and the economic vitality of a city or region. Understanding of a community’s needs and their access to credit and services decreases as their access to local banks decreases.”
According to Lober, community banking starts with shareholders and local deposits, which are invested locally and help strengthen the community. Investors, savers and borrowers in the community with local bank directors and local management make a community successful, he said.
“Consumers has been successfully operating this (business) model for 47 years. It works out. It’s made a difference in this community,” Lober said.
Founded in 1965 as Minerva National Bank, Consumers has grown to 21 locations in six counties in northeast Ohio with more than $950 million in assets.
Lober credited Milt Stuber, the Minerva area architect, with working with Consumers to create a unique design for the new building, and J. Herbert Construction of Salem, who served as general contractor for the project. In addition, Lober led a list of local subcontractors and Eric Walker, Consumers Facility Manager. He also thanked the Salem Chamber of Commerce.
Part of this community focus includes working with the Salem Community Foundation, a public non-profit foundation whose mission is to improve the quality of life for Salem residents, provide grants and scholarships, and maintain community assets.
Salem Community Foundation President John Tonti and Consumers National Bank Director Emeritus spoke about the difficulties the foundation has had over the years finding a home, including two incidents where the space they otherwise use flooded became. Eventually, the SCF found a home in the former Consumers Bank building.
However, when Consumers decided to build a new building, Tonti said he was worried the SCF would be moving again until Lober assured him there would be room for them. Now the SCF has beautiful, modern office space to continue its work in the new building, with access to a conference room for meetings and a separate door on the west side of the facility.
“The foundation feels so fortunate to be here for this celebration today,” Tonti said, noting that the foundation was established a year after the bank. “I cannot praise Ralph and the board enough for their dedication to the foundation.”
Pictured from left: George Morris of the Salem Chamber Ambassadors; Laurie McClellan, bank chairwoman and whose father was an original founder of Consumer’s Bank; John Tonti, President of the Salem Community Foundation; Ralph Lober, President and CEO of Consumer’s Bank; Shelley Bergman and Vicki Hall, both from Consumer’s Bank, surrounded by other Salem Chamber members and bank employees.
Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.