The last two times John Ketner Jr. started banks, he never worried about finding affordable help.

But when he began hiring for his newest community bank, in Southern Pines, N.C., he searched in vain for experienced tellers willing to move from a large bank. By the time Centennial Bank opened in February, he was offering $25 an hour, including benefits - well above last year's national average of $20 an hour for head tellers and $17 for regular tellers.

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