Illinois community bankers have the earnings spigot wide open. The state's 624 small banks return 1.20% on average assets for first quarter 1994 and 1.25% at yearend 1993.

The group, all of which have assets less than $2 billion, outperformed the state's eight largest banks, which combined reported a first quarter ROA of 0.49% and a yearend ROA of 1.09%.

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