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Community Banking

Understanding Community Banking

A community bank is a financial institution that is usually locally owned and operated and dedicated to providing lending solutions to its customers. This industry is true to its name in that it is community-focused with an emphasis on open, honest, and transparent practices that reflect a community’s values. Community banks are the backbone of rural Nebraska and its agriculture-based economy.

Community banks encounter and are subject to an array of laws and regulations. Having individualized legal counsel to assist in community banking matters helps make sure community banks can minimize risks, sustain positive growth, and manage necessary strategic and operational transactions.

Peetz Koerwitz & Lafleur as Community Banking Specialists

Our firm has extensive experience in representing community banks. Our attorneys have represented community banks with mergers and acquisitions, regulatory compliance, and creditor’s rights.

Acquisitions and Mergers
Peetz Koerwitz & Lafleur has helped represent numerous community banks during acquisitions and mergers on buying and selling sides. Our team is dedicated to ensuring that all the needs of a merger or acquisition client are met during the process, including:

  • Structuring the form of the transaction
  • Managing an appropriate and effective due diligence investigation
  • Ensuring all regulatory requirements are met at both the federal and state level

Our team works hand in hand with our client’s certified public accountant (CPA) teams to help create a favorable experience during an acquisition or merger.

Federal and State Regulatory Matters
Banking is one of, if not the most, highly regulated industries, and community banks are subject to both state and federal regulations. At Peetz Koerwitz & Lafleur, our experienced team has an in-depth understanding of all rules and regulations governing community banks. Our team can offer professional and knowledgeable counsel to ensure that our banking clients understand and meet compliance standards. Our counsel can help you with:

  • Concerns related to the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) and Bank Security Act (BSA)
  • Regulation O lending requirements and limitations
  • Compliance with respective state banking requirements (i.e., the Nebraska Banking Act)

Strategic Planning
Having the guidance of an experienced community banking law team can be extremely beneficial when mapping out a community bank entity’s strategic and operational plans. Our team can offer a formal evaluation of a community bank and offer professional and informed counsel on best practices the bank can enlist to improve growth, profit, and operational sustainability.

Estate and Business Succession
For family-owned community banks, the team at Peetz Koerwitz & Lafleur can offer extensive estate and succession planning to help ensure the bank has minimized risk, is protected, and won’t suffer from any potential consequences, like tax or financial implications. Our team will assist in developing not only a succession plan but also short-term and emergency plans in the event of the unexpected.


Why do I need a lawyer for my community bank merger when I have already enlisted an accounting firm's help?
While accounting firms can advise you on the tax regulations and implications of an acquisition or merger, you will need an attorney to prepare the agreements necessary to complete the transaction. In addition, your legal counsel will be able to advise you on regulatory issues that may arise from the acquisition or merger.
Can you help me with a customer that is in default?
Our firm routinely assists lenders and their borrowers with workout agreements. When a workout is not possible, we can assist you with deed of trust foreclosures and enforcement of security agreements. If necessary, our firm can represent your rights as a creditor should the borrower file bankruptcy.

Several of our attorneys have been representing community banks for decades. With that much experience, we can provide efficient and effective counsel for your community banking needs. Reach out today to schedule a consultation.

How long should I expect my bank merger or acquisition to take?
Depending on the complexity of your situation, standard community bank mergers can take anywhere from six months to several years. During your initial consultation with your legal counsel, they can conduct a thorough discovery investigation to gain insight into your situation and determine what possible hurdles could be encountered, or what types of additional steps might need to be taken that may affect the timeline of your transaction.