Jump to Content
ABA: The American Bankers Association
Skip Section Navigation

Keep It Local

Howard Bank - Baltimore, Maryland

2020 Community Commitment Awards Submission

  • Entry Category: Community & Economic Development
  • Asset Size: Small

In 2018, when Howard Bank completed its merger with 1st Mariner Bank, Mary Ann Scully, the CEO, had a choice to make. Focus on building the bank in the lucrative Washington, D.C. or in grittier Baltimore. The decision: Baltimore because it is home to hundreds of small businesses. To solidify itself as the “Best Business Bank in Baltimore,” Howard launched a contest in 2019 called Keep It Local asking customers and non-customers to nominate their “favorite” small business for a chance at winning ,000. The contest took off. Howard's Keep It Local contest launched on May 6, 2019 receiving an overwhelming 500 entries from people across the region nominating their favorite business. On Aug. 5, 2019, three months after it launched Keep It Local, Mary Ann and her team walked into a coffee shop in Rising Sun, Maryland, called Rise N Grind and surprised the owner, Angelina Vanderhoef and her family, with a check for ,000. The Howard Bank team interviewed patrons asking what Rise N Grind meant to the community and put together a video that it played on its social media channels. More than 5,000 people commented on the bank's website about the contest and the winner. In May 2020, the bank launched its second Keep It Local contest in spite of the pandemic. This time the bank received 200 entries and on June 30 held Zoom calls with the five finalists.