Against all odds - and the prevailing wisdom of the Internet age - some small-bank executives are still talking like Jimmy Stewart when it comes to marketing mutual funds.

"Bigger does not always mean better," said David Hickman, the executive vice president of United Bank and Trust Co. of Tecumseh, Mich. "We have the same mutual funds. We have the same stocks and bonds available that the big people have. The difference is, in larger organizations you don't know who is making the investment decisions. Here, you know."

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