Story by Barbara Elizabeth Graf
“I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the community, and as long as I live it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can.” This sentiment, famously expressed by George Bernard Shaw, is shared by Community Bank of Tri-County CEO Michael Middleton and the bank’s entire staff of 150 employees.
“We have a clearly defined, codified culture of excellence within the bank,” said Middleton, who describes the bank’s staff as one of “community-based” employees. He affirms this culture when, at evaluation time, each employee is asked, “What did you do for your community?”
Serving Southern Marylanders since 1950, Community Bank of Tri-County is the oldest independent financial institution headquartered in Southern Maryland. “It was challenging to get home loans in rural Southern Maryland at that time,” said Middleton, whose father, Charles County accountant Leo Middleton, along with other business leaders, established Tri-County Building and Loan in Waldorf to meet the needs of working class families after World War II.
More than 60 years and three name changes later, Community Bank of Tri-County has grown from one location in Waldorf to 10 branches and five ATM locations throughout Calvert, Charles and St. Mary’s counties, all striving to meet one unified mission: “To exceed the expectations of our community, today and tomorrow.”
The results of the bank’s employee volunteer efforts can be both seen and felt throughout each of Southern Maryland’s three counties. For the past seven years, employees have volunteered through United Way’s Day of Caring by providing services such as a much-needed paint job for a group home in Calvert County, a much-appreciated visit to Spring Dell Center for a picnic and outdoor activities in Charles County, and a much-enjoyed planting of annuals and perennials at Greenwell State Park in St. Mary’s County.
Since 2004, when a tornado devastated La Plata, Community Bank of Tri-County has been an active partner with the American Red Cross Southern Maryland Chapter. “It was then that we learned that local disasters are funded locally,” said Middleton. In response to the need to raise funds for the Red Cross, the bank developed the “Relax for Red Cross” program. Employees who donate are eligible to wear casual dress to work between Memorial Day and Labor Day each year. The bank also matches a portion of the proceeds raised from this annual event, all to benefit the Southern Maryland Chapter’s Local Disaster Relief Fund.
Whether an employee participates in the Potomac River Watershed Cleanup, spends the night at The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Light the Night Walk, helps plant trees for the Port Tobacco River Conservancy, or drives a stranded customer home, Community Bank of Tri-County makes sure that each employee has an opportunity to be recognized for his or her contribution. “We are focused toward every employee knowing that what they do benefits someone,” said Middleton.
Last November, it was Middleton who was recognized when the Archdiocese of Baltimore, in partnership with the Maryland Chamber of Commerce and the Baltimore Business Journal, presented Community Bank of Tri-County with a 2010 Business Philanthropy Award. “It was a highlight of a career,” said Middleton, who accepted the award on behalf of the bank. The award recognized the bank’s positive contribution to Maryland residents through financial support, in-kind donations or volunteer efforts, and the bank’s impact on the community and commitment to the community over time.
“We have a winning formula,” said Middleton. “I don’t think anybody can think of a better way to do it. We meet the bank’s needs and the community’s needs and we just keep refining it.” ✦
Contact Community Bank of Tri-County at 1-888-745-BANK. For a full list of locations, visit www.cbtc.com.