For 14 consecutive years, Citizens Financial Services, Inc., the bank holding company for First Citizens Community Bank, has been recognized as one of the nation’s top-performing community banks by the American Bankers Association. For their 2020 performance, FCCB ranked second for banks in the state of Pennsylvania where they are headquartered and 44th overall, up 15 places from the previous year.

The American Bankers Association ranks community banks based on a three-year average return on equity. According to the organization, in 2020, fees generated from the Paycheck Protection Program and a mortgage refinancing boom bolstered bank revenue, resulting in better performance than what was expected in the year of the pandemic. FCCB lenders refinanced over $88 million in mortgage loans that year, which was an all-time high for the organization. They also provided payment relief to 539 customers and PPP loans to business customers totaling $54.3 million.

Amid the whirlwind of COVID-19 and the mortgage refinancing boom, in the first half of 2020, FCCB completed the acquisition of MidCoast Community Bancorp, Inc., headquartered in Wilmington, Del. This added $236 million in fair value assets and three additional offices, bringing their total locations to 31.

“An acquisition is one of the most challenging projects we undertake,” noted CEO & President, Randall E. Black. “It involves a highly synchronized team effort from both organizations involved. This was quite a feat for our team, considering the two banks’ headquarters were 250 miles apart, in the midst of a global pandemic where travel restrictions and health safety concerns were on everyone’s mind. But the determination and experience of our employees made it possible.”

In addition to the ABA financial-based performance ranking, FCCB’s customers appreciated their bank’s response to the pandemic. In early 2021, a Rivel Banking Benchmark study surveyed customers, allowing them to rate their banks pandemic response in comparison to competitors. FCCB’s customers ranked their bank fifth out of the 200 banks that operate in Pennsylvania for the quality of their response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Customers rated banks on up to 92 different metrics, including responsiveness, electronic delivery channels, and flexibility on rates and fees.

“Our team worked so hard to remain strong, resilient and well positioned to support our customers, communities and each other throughout 2020,” said Black. “In a time when we needed it most, we came together and aligned with our shared values. These rankings are proof that our efforts made an impact.”

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