Bank presidents should not expect headhunters to come calling anytime soon.

An annual survey by Christian & Timbers, a Cleveland-based executive search firm, named bank president as one of the jobs for which candidates were least in demand in 1997.

In fact, it trailed only Asian emerging markets portfolio manager for the dubious honor of being the "least hot executive job" in America.

Michael Nieset, spokesman for Christian & Timbers, said the firm received 74% fewer requests to fill bank president positions in 1997 than it did in 1996. The firm does not release specific numbers.

He said he does not expect many bank president jobs to open up this year, either.

"With bank consolidations occurring all over the country, many bank presidents are losing or have lost their jobs," Mr. Nieset said. "With this trend continuing and no outlook for growth with this position, bank presidents will not be in demand in 1998."

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The Independent Bankers Association of America has claimed April for community banks.

For the third straight year, the trade group has declared April to be Community Banking Month. It is encouraging its members to send out press releases, write letters to the editors of local newspapers, and plan bank activities to get the word out.

"This is a way to recognize the contributions community banks make to their communities," said Monique E. Hanis, the IBAA's director of marketing. "At the same time, it is a great customer appreciation venue."

Ms. Hanis said the IBAA adopted the idea from state associations, and hopes to build Community Banking Month into a nationwide celebration.

How does a bank celebrate its special month?

The IBAA sent a kit full of ideas to its members. It suggests that banks give away balloons, decorate branches, award prizes, and enlist the help of youth groups to help host a bank open house.

Often, the individual banks come up with the best ideas, Ms. Hanis said. Last year, one Wisconsin institution joined up with a local farm to create a petting zoo on the bank's grounds.

No word on how many new accounts were opened as a result.

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