Chan Patel and Nitin Shah believe strongly in a tried-and-true banking maxim: lend to those you know and trust.

While the adage amounts to simple common sense for community bankers, it has special meaning for Patel, chief executive of the $715 million-asset State Bank of Texas in Dallas, and Shah, chief executive of the $77 million-asset Embassy National Bank in Lawrenceville, Ga. For those bankers, their communities are defined by hotels rather than geography.

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