Community banking has always held a unique and important place in the American economic system. At one point, all banks were truly community in focus, spirit and vision. The latest economic crisis has once again exposed the weaknesses of the traditional community banking system. Fortunately, every crisis presents an opportunity and in this case, visionary community bankers are afforded an opportunity to strengthen their individual banks and the community banking system in general.
The traditional community bank deposit/loan model has, for the most part, failed. Banks and S&Ls, regardless of size, that only gather deposits and make loans have suffered crises in every decade since deregulation. These bankers have ridden the tide of the growing economy, only to see economic downturns cause failures.