“Amish-founded bank” may be a better way to describe the proposal to create a new bank in eastern Lancaster County. Lancaster New Era/Intelligencer Journal reports that operations at Bank of Bird-in-Hand could begin “in the next few months”. The heavily-Amish area is apparently underserved, and the investors see an opportunity there.
The article reports that a “substantial” number of the bank’s 18 investors are Amish. If you look at the last names of investors listed in the piece, potentially 14 of the 18 are Amish (or at least of Amish heritage) with a number of Fishers, Eshes and Millers in the bunch.
People sometimes wonder what Amish businesspeople do with their money. Besides buying land or reinvesting it in their companies, Amish may seek less traditional investment vehicles or business opportunities. Founding banks isn’t typical, but it is an activity with a precedent among the Amish.
Elmer Stoltzfus, who would be the chairman of the proposed bank, helped to found HomeTowne Heritage Bank in the late 1990s, later acquired by a larger institution. I am acquainted with Elmer Stoltzfus and know he has a good reputation for his business acumen in the community.
However I must say I was a little confused by this story, because I thought Lebanon Levi was in charge of all the Amish banking in Lancaster County. Hopefully Elmer and Co. cleared things with Levi. Would not want them appearing on a future episode of Levi’s show.
Amish farmland: UGArdener/flickr