For his 50th birthday last year, Richard Mount's wife took him skydiving. Little surprise. He'd already developed a taste for bungee jumping headfirst into northern California gorges.

This week, Mr. Mount, president of California's Saratoga National Bank, will take a leap of a different sort. He'll become the 60th president of the Independent Bankers Association of America, placing himself front and center in what promises to be a critical year for banking in general and community banking in particular.

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