Consumers Bank and Salem Community Foundation Open Doors at New Branch

SALEM, Ohio – Both Consumers National Bank and the Salem Community Foundation welcomed those in the Salem area to celebrate their newly constructed facility on South Ellsworth Avenue Thursday.

“Local banks like Consumers and civic organizations like the Salem Community Foundation are critically important to the economic vitality of small towns and cities across the country,” said Ralph J. Lober II, Consumers president and CEO. “There’s a strong link between access to local banking and a town or region’s economic vitality. An understanding of a community’s needs and its access to credit and services diminishes as its access to local banking decreases.”

Lober said community banking begins with the shareholders and the local deposits that are invested locally and help make the community stronger. Investors, savers and borrowers in the community with the local bank directors and local management make a community successful, he said.

“Consumers has successfully executed this (business) model for 47 years. It works. It has made a difference in this community,” Lober said.

Consumers was founded in 1965 as Minerva National Bank and has grown to have 21 offices in six counties in northeastern Ohio with more than $950 million in assets. 

Lober credited Minerva area architect Milt Stuber with working with Consumers to produce a unique design for the new building and J. Herbert Construction of Salem, which served as the general contractor for the project. Additionally, Lober credited a list of local subcontractors as well as Eric Walker, Consumers facilities manager. He also thanked the Salem Area Chamber of Commerce.

Part of that community focus includes working with the Salem Community Foundation, a nonprofit charitable trust, with a mission of improveing the quality of life for Salem residents, providing grants and scholarships and preserving assets for the community.

John Tonti, president of the Salem Community Foundation and director emeritus of Consumers National Bank, talked about the difficulties the foundation has had finding a home through the years, including two incidents where space elsewhere flooded. Finally, the SCF found a home at the previous Consumers Bank building.

However, when Consumers decided to build a new building Tonti said he was concerned the foundation would be on the move again until Lober assured him there would be space for them. Now the foundation has beautiful, modern office spaces to continue their work in the new building with access to a conference room for meetings and a separate door on the west side of the facility.

“The foundation feels so fortunate to be here for this celebration today,” Tonti said, noting the foundation was established a year after the bank. “I can’t say enough about Ralph and the board of directors, just how great they have been to the foundation.”

Pictured from left: George Morris of the Salem Chamber Ambassadors; Laurie McClellan, bank chairwoman and whose father was an original founder of Consumers Bank; John Tonti, president of the Salem Community Foundation; Ralph Lober, President and CEO of Consumers Bank; Shelley Bergman and Vicki Hall, both of Consumer’s Bank, surrounded by other members of the Salem Chamber and bank employees.

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