First Northern Bank & Trust

First Northern Bank & Trust

If you’re a typical bank customer, you’ve probably experienced merger after merger after merger.

Take the former First National Bank of Allentown. After it joined with American Bank and Trust Co., it was known as Meridian Bank. That is,  of course, until Meridian was swallowed by Corestates, which First Union bought. A little while later, it merged with Wachovia, and, finally, the whole kit and caboodle was gobbled up by Wells Fargo.

It’s enough to make your head spin.

But customers of family-owned First Northern Bank and Trust, headquartered in Palmerton, have never ridden that merry-go-round.

Chartered in 1907 as the borough’s first financial institution, the First National Bank of Palmerton opened for business in January of 1908.

The boom times of the Roaring Twenties enabled the bank to erect its own custom facility at Delaware and Fourth in 1926 and furnish it with then-modern equipment and conveniences.

Although thousands of banks failed during the Great Depression, this bank survived. It managed to soldier on through the travails of World War II, as well.

The days of doo-wop saw the descendants of the bank’s original customers establishing accounts themselves.

Just two decades later, the bank moved again—this time, to the corner of Fourth Street and Lafayette Avenue, the former site of the Horsehead Inn.

In 2012, the bank began operating under a state charter (instead of a national one) and changed its name to First Northern Bank and Trust. Everything else stayed the same.

A Lengthy Menu of Services

Despite its smaller size, First Northern can hold its own against the mega-institutions.

FNBT offers an impressive package of personal and commercial financial services—everything from checking, savings, mortgages, home equity loans, business loans, and lines of credit through certificates of deposit, commercial mortgages, and merchant services to express banking, letters of credit, and MasterMoney®
checking/debit cards.

If you prefer banking on-the-go? FNBT has you covered with a custom app for iPhone and Android platforms, mobile deposit capability, online bill-pay/cash management/financial management, e-statements, text alerts, and even P2P (person-to-person) transfer services.

But FNBT is also very much a community bank. And that means you’ll be treated a bit differently—in a good way.

Keeping it Local

First Northern’s employees tend to live in the communities they serve, so personalized relationship-based banking is the order of the day.

“Simply put, that means we know you,” says marketing director Anne Davis-Shupp. “You’re not just ‘loan application c41117 with a credit score of 743 and a DTI [debt-to-income ratio] of 1.2.’ You’re our neighbor, the person we see in the grocery store. We know what is unique to our community and what works. That doesn’t mean we’ll finance a million-dollar vacation home for everyone who applies. It means we’ll find the right product for your particular situation. And that’s what we do best.”

Major transactions can happen pretty quickly, because FNBT’s decision-makers are in your own backyard—making them more agile and flexible.

Take loan approval, for example. When you deal with a local branch of a huge bank, your application will probably be evaluated by someone who just considers numbers on a screen and follows a formula.

But Anne recalls a long-standing customer who needed money for an important business transaction and couldn’t afford to wait for a standard loan-approval turnaround.

“The borrower had an opportunity to get a great deal on some new delivery trucks—but he was required to pay for them and take delivery that same day,” she says. That’d be a challenge in itself, but the situation was exacerbated because “that same day” was New Year’s Eve.

No matter. “His First Northern loan officer put the deal together for him, and another officer—who lived in the area—personally delivered the paperwork and payment checks in time to close the deal,” Anne says. “That sort of thing just doesn’t happen in the mega-banks.”

Community First

First Northern supports the community in other ways, too. “We make a difference wherever we can,” Anne says. “A local booster club lost its equipment shed in a severe storm. An employee, who’s active in that club, asked what FNBT might do to help. In the end, we paid for the shed’s replacement. We often get similar requests, usually through our own people, and we support those needs we much as we can.”

First Northern also offers a “Financial Scholars” program to local high school students. The 10-unit course provides up to eight hours of programming to teach, assess, and certify students about the workings of various financial topics—credit scores, student loans, taxes, stocks, and mortgages.

The web-based learning platform mixes video, animation, 3D gaming, avatars, and social networking into an exciting, creative educational stew. It tracks students’ knowledge gain and monitors their attitudes and behaviors on several money-related issues. Upon completion of the course, they’ll receive a certification in Financial Literacy—an asset that could enhance resumes and college applications.

For over 100 years, First Northern has remained an independent, family-owned community institution, and now has 11 branches throughout Monroe, Carbon, Lehigh, and Northampton counties.

During all of that time, the bank has followed a simple philosophy: keeping money in the region, stimulating local economic growth, and providing jobs for friends and neighbors.

And that’s a blueprint for a prosperous community.

First Northern Bank and Trust
800.344.2274 • 610.826.2239

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