Welcome to the first issue of Community Banking Quarterly, a publication dedicated to providing executives at small commercial banks and thrifts with practical professional advice.

Each issue will serve up a mix of stories and graphics aimed at helping you manage your business more effectively at a time when competition from larger financial institutions - both bank and nonbank - has never been fiercer.

Among the topics to be covered on a regular basis: management, marketing, technology, small business, agriculture, and regulatory and legal matters.

Reading through our first issue, you will notice a style of journalism that differs from the community banking coverage found in American Banker, our 163-year-old flagship. While the newspaper focuses on reporting and analyzing news developments, CBQ places the accent on practical insights.

More often than not, these insights will come from other bankers who are ahead of the curve. It is our view that the most reliable sources of banking advice are talented bankers. After all, they are fighting the same fights on a daily basis. But you will also hear from well-informed consultants, customers and other members of the wider banking community.

Please feel free to offer advice on how we can make this publication even better. Eventually, we may well increase the frequency of Community Banking Quarterly, both in print and on-line. And we very much want your feedback. You can reach me by phone at 212-803-8416 or e-mail me at john.kimelman tfn.com.

Community banking used to be a simpler, more carefree business. But the confluence of consolidation, technological innovation, and new layers of competition have multiplied the headaches and the knowledge needed just to stay in the game.

We intend to provide some useful instruction.

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