Community banks have a new way to find potential employees.

The Independent Community Bankers of America this month launched the Community Bank Career Center, a national database of resumes and job postings.

Though a number of state banking groups host online job mailing lists and several national Web sites focus on banking jobs, this is the first site of its kind devoted to small banks on a national level, said Chris Lorence, the ICBA's senior vice president of marketing.

"It just opens the door a little wider for a better selection process," Lorence said.

The site, which went live March 1, had 13 job listings last week, along with a couple of dozen resumes posted for free by community bank job seekers. Members can pay from $250 to post a single job for 30 days to $1,895 for a package of 10 job postings and access to the resume database.

Turnover at community banks tends to be low, especially in management positions, Lorence acknowledged. "But I think what is happening, because there have been so many big banks or other financial institutions that have restructured and laid off, there are now a lot of people who are high quality in the marketplace looking for a job," he said.

The group conducted an informal survey of its members asking if they would be interested in using such a site. "What we got was an overwhelming response of 'we need new blood, we need new people,' " Lorence said.

Despite recent downsizing, the banking industry is expected to add jobs in coming years.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics' 2010 "Career Guide to Industries" projects that employment in the banking sector will rise by 7.9% from 2008 to 2018. (That is less, however, than a projected 11% increase in jobs across all industries surveyed.)

Karen J. Hartnett, the principal of KJH Consulting and a former bank recruiter, called the Web site "a brilliant idea." She said job candidates who have not been on the sales side of the industry have a tough time networking, and could benefit from an online forum.

Hartnett said a large number of those employed in the community banking industry have worked for one institution for a long time and are "not accomplished at looking for another job."

"They haven't done it in a long time, or if they have changed jobs it's because someone tapped them on the shoulder and said, 'Hey, Sam, why don't you come join us,'" Hartnett said. "But Sam never had to put his hand in the air and say, 'I'm looking.' "

Banks already using the site say it is especially useful as a source for specialized candidates.

Finding qualified applicants for specialized banking jobs near Burley, Idaho — population 9,105 — is no easy feat, said Audra Lloyd, manager of human resources at D.L. Evans Bank in Burley.

So the $890 million-asset bank posted a job on the ICBA site March 17 for a senior internal auditor. It has used sites such as Monster.com, CareerBuilder.com and Bankjobs.com, Lloyd said.

"This job is probably going to be harder to fill and more specialized, and those are the ones that we post nationally, with the exception of our own Web site," she said.

First Bank Financial Centre in Oconomowoc, Wis., also posted a job on the site last week for an internal auditor.

Sue Dorgan, a corporate recruiter for the $670 million-asset bank, said she has typically filled specialized positions with the help of a headhunter — an expensive undertaking — but plans to also post those jobs on the ICBA board.

Dorgan said she hoped the ICBA might eventually lower prices for posting more common types of jobs, such as personal bankers and branch managers.

"It's been a new venture for us and I haven't seen the results yet, but I expected that," she said. "We thought we'd give it a try and see where it led to."

Subscribe Now

Access to authoritative analysis and perspective and our data-driven report series.

14-Day Free Trial

No credit card required. Complete access to articles, breaking news and industry data.