Lobster fishing had already established itself as a crucial part of Maine life when Machias Savings Bank opened its doors in 1869. For more than a century since, we’ve worked with the lobster industry as it created thousands of jobs in Maine and gained fame worldwide. So, when the industry hit hard times recently, we stepped in to help. That’s what a community bank does.

Community banks are deeply rooted in Maine, understand local economies thoroughly, and provide unshakable support for our partners and neighbors—whatever comes our way. Like when lobster prices started collapsing just as operating costs soared. We provided counsel and reworked loans. Or when new fishing regulations threatened the industry’s future. We donated $250,000 to help lobstermen fight for their rights.

The lobster industry is just one of the many sectors that we know deeply and with whom we have partnered for decades. That’s part of what sets community banking apart from regional and national financial institutions.

Providing unique local knowledge and experience

Community banks are focused on Maine companies, nonprofits, and Maine people, and Maine has more than a dozen of them. Collectively, we have spent decades observing and participating in local markets. We have an intimate knowledge about how local economies, tax structures, government regulation, and business networks operate. In many cases, we have partnered with customers across generations.

This insight helps us provide sophisticated and nuanced advice about how businesses can grow strategically, manage their cashflow effectively, and make smart choices about what financing they need. The Maine branch of a national or global financial institution often can’t or isn’t as likely to be able to offer that level of expertise and insight.

If a developer wants to build affordable housing, we know the communities that offer tax advantages and what affordable housing programs are available. Our knowledge of the regulations and opportunities available for construction projects and real estate development for mid-tier businesses is equally deep. We regularly help scale businesses, based on our deep understanding of communities and Maine-specific issues.

Being flexible and nimble

Because we know our customers and our communities so well, local banks are willing to finance businesses and projects that other institutions may not. A strong foundation of home-grown knowledge gives us the ability to invest with confidence. For us, financing a project or an enterprise is not just about numbers on a spreadsheet.

At the same time, community banks like ours can make decisions quickly because our leadership and loan officers are local. There’s no big bureaucracy to navigate or long list of boxes to check on your way to securing a loan.

We have deep knowledge of the key players in our local economy. Maine community banks connect individuals and businesses with accountants, insurance companies, financial advisors, lawyers, and others to build a support network. Maine bankers are some of the most connected and resourced individuals in the business ecosystem of each local economy. Annually, Machias is ranked as one of the top small business banking lenders by the Small Business Administration and by FAME.

Building deep, enduring relationships

Relationships built over time and through personal interaction are at the core of community banking. Whether the economy is booming or struggling, we stay human. Leaders and lenders at Machias Savings Bank share personal cell phone numbers with customers, so they can reach us personally. We ask our customers about their passions and dreams. We show concern for their families and neighborhoods. Doing business is not just a transaction. It’s much more.

Being there for customers when they need help

Over the decades, we’ve seen the impact of business cycles, natural disasters, family tragedies, and other major events. Sometimes, economic tailwinds or technological innovation help our customers and communities to thrive with relative ease. And sometimes, struggles occur. We understand that and are there to help.

At the start of the pandemic, Machias Savings Bank quickly responded to local need by setting up electronic closing and disbursing over 3300 paycheck protection plan loans. We understood the importance of making those funds available quickly, amid business shutdowns, job losses, and widespread commercial disruption. Our local commitment, streamlined processes, and ability to make decisions rapidly helped us get those funds out the door.

By contrast, large banks have been known to retreat when the economy hits a rough patch. Customers have experienced examples of credit lines being reduced, giving those customers less flexibility just when they need it most. We are here to work with our customers through good times and bad and when times get tough, we show our customers to the Board room and not to the back door.

Helping our communities to thrive

Finally, community banks give a lot of money back locally through donations to nearby charities. Machias Savings Bank donates over $1MM annually to local nonprofits focusing its efforts on initiatives that support economies.  Machias is passionate about workforce development and creating jobs throughout the state, affordable housing, and community wellness through deep partnerships with organizations like Jobs for Maine Graduates, Olympia Snowe Women’s Leadership Organization, and economic development centers.

For us, stronger communities are not only good for our business and employees. Strong local communities are also good for our neighbors, friends, and families. We’ve been investing here for decades and will continue to do so in the years ahead. This is our home.

Meet our Business Services Team.

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