This week we put Cheryl Tanenbaum, vice president and chief financial officer of Intracoastal Bank, On the Spot to talk finances.

In an economy that moves quickly, is becoming more automated and less personalized, it’s easy for consumers to feel they have few choices when it comes to banking and borrowing. This week we put Cheryl Tanenbaum, senior vice president and chief financial officer of Intracoastal Bank, On the Spot to talk finances. 

What's the difference between a community bank and national/international banks? How are you similar and different?

Community banks are locally owned and operated. Decisions such as loan approvals are made quickly. Big banks often have rigid processes and may not always be easy to work with. Community bankers are engaged in local matters. Customers receive personalized service and are not treated like a number. Community banks focus on establishing long lasting relationships with their customers. Because we are part of the local community, we are able to give back by contributing money to local charitable agencies and by volunteering. Money that is deposited in a community bank helps the local economy. We can use those funds to loan to businesses within our market. Big banks have branches throughout the country, so your deposits may go to help an economy that is out of state. We are similar to national banks because we all offer similar products and services such as loans, checking and savings accounts.

Intracoastal is a supporter of financial literacy starting at a young age. How does teaching financial basics in youth help with financial management in the future?

It is so important that our children learn about the basics of financial management so that they can grow up and be financially sound as adults. Children should learn the basics, such as how to build up your credit rating, budgeting, the importance of saving for the future, how to balance a checkbook, and even how to write out a check.

For people looking to make big-ticket purchases, what are some of the things lenders look for when making a decision to approve a loan or line of credit for an individual or a business?

Lenders look at the 5 C’s of credit: credit, capacity, capital, character and collateral. Every bank has its own method for analyzing a borrower’s creditworthiness. Typically, applicants that are strong in these areas will more than likely be approved and may receive a lower rate.

What approach are you taking with your customers to be prepared for a possible recession?

Recessions are a normal part of the economic cycle. It is important not to panic and make rash decisions. Have an emergency fund built up and try to reduce debt. Now is the time to reduce spending if possible.

What drew you to community banking?

I love creating long-term relationships with our customers and being able to give back to our community. Being able to make local decisions so that our customers can have quick turnaround is so important.