Despite Wall Street's failure and bank bailouts, all is well in Alabama's Calhoun County. That's the message that four community banks are sending their customers. Cheaha Bank, Farmers and Merchants Bank, NobleBank and Trust, and Southern States Bank teamed to create an ad campaign emphasizing the banks' security, strength and ability to lend. All four of the banks, located off Interstate 20 in between Birmingham, AL and Atlanta, have less than $200 million in total assets.

Southern States' president and CEO Stephen Whatley initiated the call for a cooperative response among local community banks last autumn as the negative news continued to snowball. "We wanted to seize...a real opportunity to get the message out to perspective customers and clients that we are safe; we're lending money, which a lot of banks aren't; we are going to be open for business."

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