Knowledge Center

The Bottom Line — Banking on Community

Banking on Community

We're Local, and we're invested. Just like you.

From small retail transactions to major purchases, it’s cash, capital reserves and credit that fund our personal and professional lives, and community banks have the privilege and pleasure of being at the center of much of it.

Of course, we’re not involved in every transaction in this community, but we care about each one because it’s our community, too. Just like you, we live, work and invest in the homes, schools and local businesses that are the lifeblood of our city. We’re dedicated to building our hometown and have been for the past 70 years.

Community banking clearly matters to me, but why should it matter to you? Here are four reasons to consider:

1. Access. Community banks make it easy to do business, make decisions and get answers. It’s in our culture. When I get approached by someone who needs assistance, I can confidently say, "I know the right person to help you.” People matter, moments matter and building relationships locally is how you build a business.

2. Ingenuity. Living and working in the same neighborhood or city gives us more information, which allows us to be more inventive and flexible with lending solutions. We know our local community and the unique needs of our families, friends and neighbors.

3. Passion. Community banks take pride in seeing customers grow and succeed, and a city expand with new opportunities and amenities. Community banks are energized by local success stories and inspired to help even more.

4. Philanthropy. Community bank leaders are visible, approachable and involved. They care about local, community-based charitable organizations, so they give more in time, talent and treasure.

Community banks are an integral part of a thriving local economy. And we strive daily to make a positive impact, support local economic development, foster financial inclusion and build meaningful relationships with our customers. From one hometown business to another, we’re dedicated to the growth and well-being of this community, and we’re thankful for the opportunity to live here, work here, play here and bank here.






— PJ Thompson, Chief Financial Officer, Country Club Bank - Member FDIC


Economic Insights

Inflation is falling. Is the Fed done raising rates?

The Fed has raised its federal funds rate rapidly over the past year to fight inflation, most recently to a range between 5% and 5.25%, a 16-year high.

And it just might be working, as inflation fell again for the fourth month in a row, to 4.9% in April, down from 5.0% in March. While it’s not a large move, it is significant for its consistency and there are good reasons to believe it may continue. 

One reason is that increases in Shelter (rent and owners’ equivalent rent) which counts for nearly 35% of the total inflation calculation (43% of core inflation) slowed for the third month in a row to just 0.4% (4.8% annualized), down from 0.6% and 0.8% in March and February (or 7.2% and 9.6% annualized), respectively.

Another correlating data point to support this is that rent growth peaked 12 months ago, and new leasing signings are now reflecting slowing rent hikes. Good news for renters as well as the rest of the economy.

This positive inflation news points to a possible pause in Fed rate hikes, at least for June. On the flip side, the labor market remains strong as 253,000 new jobs were added in April, bringing the unemployment rate back down to 3.4% or a 53-year low.

However, we continue to see the ratio of job openings (JOLTS) to those unemployed fall which now stands at 1.6 or down from 2.0 job openings per unemployed individual last year, which means jobs are becoming less abundant.

Bottom Line: The Fed’s decision to raise interest rates at its meeting next month is shaping up to be a close call. Straw polls of various policymakers seem to be split evenly between those who would support another increase and those who would not.

What would cause a pause? Fed officials are looking for more evidence that inflation is firmly on track to reach the central bank’s 2% target. But inflation hawks simply aren’t convinced the positive inflation numbers are here to stay because much of the recent improvement in inflation has come from falling energy prices. Moreover, tight labor markets could still spur income and spending growth that could in turn contribute to higher inflation.

Marcus Scott photo





— Marcus Scott, CFA, CFP®, Chief Investment Officer (CIO) for Country Club Trust Company

CFA® and Chartered Financial Analyst® are registered trademarks owned by CFA Institute.

Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. (CFP Board) owns the certification marks CFP®, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, CFP® (with plaque design), and CFP® (with flame design) in the U.S., which it authorizes use of by individuals who successfully complete CFP Board's initial and ongoing certification requirements.

The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Country Club Trust Company, a division of Country Club Bank, or any affiliate thereof. Information provided is for illustrative and discussion purposes only; should not be considered a recommendation; and is subject to change. Some information provided above may be obtained from outside sources believed to be reliable, but no representation is made as to its accuracy or completeness. Please note that investments involve risk, and that past performance does not guarantee future results.


Small Business for the Win

Small businesses in the U.S. have a significant impact on our local and national economy.

According to Small Business Administration statistics, small businesses make up 99.9% of all U.S. businesses and employ 46.4% of the U.S. workforce.

And the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows that small businesses created more than 1.1 million new professional and business services jobs in 2022.

These are just two topline stats that illustrate how important it is to shop locally and support small businesses.

The dollars you spend locally also tend to stay local: Small businesses use your dollars to purchase local goods and pay wages to those who live in the community.

Small businesses are also more generous. One SCORE survey notes that small businesses donate 250% more than larger businesses to local nonprofits and community causes, with 75% of business owners donating an average of 6% of their profits annually to charitable organizations.

Read more in our most recent blog post about the significance of small businesses, how you can support them and why it pays to shop local.


Small Business Knowledge Center

Employee theft and fraud can be devastating. Here's how to safeguard against it.

The average loss in cases of employee theft, particularly the embezzlement of funds, for businesses with fewer than 500 employees is more than $350,000, according to a study by insurance provider Hiscox.

Perhaps even more shocking: the average scheme lasts over two years and often involves more than one employee. How does this happen, and what can you do to prevent it from happing in your business?

There are several contributing factors, including lax employee screening, employee financial pressures, disgruntled employees and inadequate internal controls.

Safeguarding against embezzlement requires a multifaceted approach that includes strong internal controls, employee education and regular monitoring and auditing.

Learn more about contributing factors, warning signs and additional ways to prevent it from happening in your business. Read the full article here.


Small Business Education & Outreach

Entrepreneurial Exchange Hosts Flagship Event at Country Club Bank.

More than 100 accomplished and newly minted entrepreneurs alike gathered recently at Country Club Bank to share ideas, resources, and connections at The Entrepreneurial Exchange’s flagship event sponsored by the bank.

The panel of local business icons included some of Kansas City’s most dynamic and well-known entrepreneurs, including Case Dorman, Jack Stack BBQ; Jason Tatge, Farmobile; Thalia Cherry, Cherry Co.; Michael and Brandy Rea, Rx Savings Solutions; Scott Murray, Level5 Tools; and Cici Rojas and Oscar Monterroso, Tico Sports & Productions.

In a lively panel discussion moderated by Kelly Scanlon, panelists shared the ups and downs of their entrepreneurial journeys as well as their most important lessons learned along the way. Here are a few of those lessons:

Persistence. No matter who you are or where you start, entrepreneurship is usually a long and winding road, and very rarely is there such a thing as overnight success. The obstacles are many and the rewards can take time to reap, but staying the course pays off for those willing to work hard and find a way to win.

People. Good people are crucial, especially those with diverse skillsets, experiences and motivations. Hire slow and fire fast. Do everything you can to keep the good ones and be quick to identify those that just don’t fit with your vision and culture.

Adaptability. Be aware and attentive to marketplace needs and opportunities. What got you to a certain level of success may not keep you there or help you advance to the next level. Look for problems to solve, markets to serve and the clues that lead to these findings.

After the general panel discussion, each of the speakers hosted small breakout sessions where aspiring entrepreneurs and attendees could meet with each expert, ask their own questions and go deeper on specific issues.

Special thanks to The Entrepreneurial Exchange, the distinguished panel and everyone who came out to make the evening a success!




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