Bethel Building and Loan to get a new name

New name will reflect new products, expanded customer base

Bethel Building and Loan Company President John Essen and Vice President Judi Adams show off a portion of their remodeled building. The oldest bank in Bethel will be called Community Savings Bank as of Jan. 17 and the renovations were part of the switch.
After 122 years of serving the community under the name Bethel Building and Loan, the local company will have a new name starting Monday, Jan. 17.

The company’s new moniker, Community Savings Bank, is designed to encompass recent growth in the company, according to bank President John Essen.

Community Savings Bank began offering checking accounts two years ago and now has a full array of checking options, including ATM and debit card access, and Internet banking that includes free automatic bill pay services, 24-hour activity monitoring, and the ability to make payments to other bank members online.

“These additional services allow us to serve as our client’s primary bank,” Vice President Judi Adams said.

Essen said the replacement of Bethel with Community in the name is an effort to recognize the bank’s customers beyond the village in Tate Township, Williamsburg, Georgetown, and beyond.

The bank continues to be a mutual savings institution, which means each depositor owns a portion of the bank.

“Since we have no stockholders, we are in a better position to support the community,” Essen said.

That community support has come in the form of sponsorship of and leadership in a number of local events over the years. Adams said the company has been involved with Bethel Down Home Christmas, the Bethel 10k Race, and the Bethel Art and Music Festival in recent years.

“Our focus is not on quarterly returns but on returning services and quality products to the community,” Essen said.

In addition to checking, those services include savings, money market, certificates, and IRA accounts in addition to the mortgage, construction, and land loans offered by the bank since a group of Bethel community leaders provided the funds to found the bank in 1889. Essen said Community Savings Bank’s unique focus on its depositors and the community it serves has allowed it to become the second fastest growing small bank in the Greater Cincinnati market with a 53 percent increase in its loan portfolio in the last three years.

“The community has responded well to our efforts and as a result we’ve experienced tremendous growth,” Essen said. “The timing is good because events in the economy have got people upset with large national banks.”

In addition to the name change and expanding product line, the bank building itself has been remodeled. Community Savings Bank moved from their original location on East Plane Street just west of Union Street to their current West Plane Street location in the mid-1970’s, and Essen said the building was largely unchanged until renovations began in October.

“Our renovations have modernized our building and made it more efficient,” Essen said.

The modern interior design includes a number of tributes to the history of the bank and of Bethel throughout the building. Essen said the renovation has created a better floor plan that will allow the customer service space to more efficiently interact with the company office space.

Community Savings Bank will be celebrating the name change with an open house Friday, Jan. 21 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.