Do Amish People Use Banks?

The Amish Use Banks Regularly

amish bankingAmish use banks often to handle everything from making deposits to taking out business loans and mortgages. Amish often live in close proximity to small towns, giving them access to local bank branches.

Banking, loans, and credit cards

Amish will typically maintain checking and savings accounts, and use banks just as any other Americans do. Amish typically patronize smaller, local banks.

HomeTowne Heritage bank is an institution that was popular among Amish in Lancaster County, with a high percentage of Amish clientele. HomeTowne Heritage was started with the help, in part, of Amish founders.

After it was acquired by a larger corporate bank, Amish investors helped found the Bank of Bird-in-Hand to provide a banking option that retained a more “local touch” in the community. The Bank of Bird-in-Hand has become quite popular and successful, helping Amish and other customers fund home purchases and get business loans, among other services.

Mobile bank in Lancaster County
The Bank of Bird-in-Hand even offers mobile banking, making it easier for its Plain customers

Amish & Credit Unions

Amish also make use of credit unions. Three examples are Everence (Lancaster County), Geauga Credit Union (Geauga County, Ohio), and Brewster Credit Union (Brewster, Ohio). An article (now offline) in the Credit Union Journal described a very Amish-specific type of loan offered by one of these credit unions:

Geauga offers a product that may be wholly unique in the financial services industry — a Horse & Buggy Loan. Since the Amish do not drive automobiles or trucks, they do not need auto loans — but they do travel in old-fashioned horse-and-buggies and they don’t come cheaply.

Briggs said that a new horse-and-buggy can range in price from $6,000 to $8,000 from local manufacturers, and are quite popular with young Amish gentlemen. For the older Amish who already own their own horse-and-buggies, the credit union has a hitching post in their parking lot as a convenience.

Just like you and I might take out a car loan, Amish people do the same with their horses and buggies. In some communities, Amish-run funds provide capital for homebuyers. But it’s also quite common for Amish families to take out a regular bank mortgage to buy a home.

The Amish are good bank customers

amish bank
An Amishman takes care of bank business in Lancaster County

Amish enjoy a good reputation when it comes to financial matters. An employee at a local Lancaster County bank commended Amish customers for never being delinquent on payments.

Amish are generally regarded as reliable bets when it comes to making loans, whether for personal or business purposes. A loan officer in an Amish community commented that “in the last 10 years, we never had any of our Amish clients go into foreclosure, nor have we had to force a sale” (“Enterprise Success in Amish Communities”, Kraybill/Nolt/Wesner).

Amish themselves do provide capital for business and other loans within the community in some cases, but continue to rely in large part on commercial banks.

Amish typically use checking accounts to make many transactions. Some Amish will use credit cards as well.  All in all, Amish people of all stripes – progressive and more traditional groups included – appreciate the convenience and security of banks, and make wide use of them.

For more, see:

  • “Sources of Enterprise Success in Amish Communities”, Journal of Small Business and Entrepreneurship, Donald B. Kraybill, Steven M. Nolt, Erik J. Wesner
  • Amish Enterprise: From Plows to Profits, Donald B. Kraybill and Steven M. Nolt

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    4 Comments

    1. Mona Greer

      Very interesting, I did not know that…….

    2. Serena Miller

      Do the Schwartzentrubers (the most conservative branch of the Amish) use banks? Or is it only Old Order and above?

      1. yes

        Yes, my parents used a checking account. I remember when I was a teen, and Dad got paralyzed, and Mom and i went to the bank to cash the 15,000 dollar insurance check. It was not enough.

    3. Marlene

      Banking

      Amish also use Everence FCU, which used to be Mennonite Financial FCU, started by some employees of Scotsdale (Herald) Press.