IT' S NEXT TO impossible to pick up a financial publication today without reading about some newly created superbank or megamerger and its ominous implications for the future of community banks.

Even as doomsayers cite alarming evidence such as the more than 4,000 financial institutions swallowed up by mergers and acquisitions in the last five years, community banks are far from being on their deathbed. And the major force leveling the playing field is technology.

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