Community bankers in Tennessee had plenty of reason to fret a couple of years ago. Commercial real estate values were plummeting, and weakness in the sales of automobiles - a top source of manufacturing revenue in the state - raised the specter of layoffs.

But the anticipated hit in auto manufacturing jobs never materialized as the central Tennessee plants of Nissan and General Motors Corp.'s Saturn division became huge successes. So capital, and luck, saved the state's 200-plus community banks from the real estate crunch.

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