DULUTH, Minn. - Community banks should be more like small-town hardware stores, according to Wayne Finnern, president of Farmers State Bank of Madelia, Minn.

Independently owned hardware stores in small towns often affiliate with big-name hardware companies to market themselves better and to gain a broader range of products. Likewise, independent banks could band together to create a sense of "common identity" while retaining independent ownership, says Mr. Finnern, chairman of an Independent Community Bankers Association of Minnesota task force on the issue.

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