The butcher, the baker, the candlestick maker. These are the customers of community bankers. And the relationship is symbiotic. Local businessmen can't do without their bankers, and community bankers' well-being depends on the health and prosperity of local businesses.By far, most small banks focus on serving the small businesses in their community, which has stimulated economic growth at the grass roots level in towns across America. This month U.S. Banker ranks banks ranging from $100 million to $373 million in assets, based on return on equity and growth in per-share earnings. The raw data is supplied by SNL Securities. The banks are bunched by asset size in groups of 100. Rankings of larger banks ran in previous issues. There are three sets of rankings for each group, based on year 2000 results, and on three- and five-year results.

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