The early history for correspondent services for community banks is a checkered one. But working with their state legislatures, community banks successfully pushed for new legislation allowing for the creation of a bank for banks, owned by banks, and directed by banks. The correspondent bank in the form of a "bankers bank" was born. The history of service is a proud one and the success of community banks is in no small part a result of the products and services provided under the bankers bank banner.
But bankers today face a new competitive reality. Now we are in the midst of a downturn unprecedented in banking with exceptional pressure on earnings and capital. At its core, community banking continues to resonate with the retail and small business consumer. Local decision-making and consistency of staff continue to attract customers who desire to be more than an account number. Small businesses, lost in the impersonal lending systems of the largest banks, still seek a good banker for their business. In order for community bankers to continue to capitalize on these strengths, they must have three key support elements: capacity, competent advisors and strong systems support.