Wilbur M. Feltner, chief executive of F&M National Corp., can't figure out why the big banks from cities like Washington and Baltimore have been pulling out of the rural communities of western Maryland and Virginia.

"They're just not interested in this area, and I don't understand it," said the 72-year-old Mr. Feltner from his Winchester, Va., office. "You can make more money out here than you can in the cities. And the competition isn't as tough here."

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