Flooding last month along the Mississippi River and its tributaries brought a sense of deja vu to bankers who were hit by the so-called flood of the century just two years ago.

Many fared better this year, but not Peoples Savings Bank of Rhineland, Mo.

Employees again found themselves paddling boats to a workplace where the lobby was under several feet of water, said cashier Margaret Bahr.

The $46 million-asset bank should be in a new building out of harm's way by the end of the year, said Ms. Bahr, who wants to "get out of here as quick as we can."

Just before the water entered last month, employees carted equipment and safe deposit boxes upstairs and did business from there with customers who floated in on boats.

Now, with a heavy dose of mildew killer applied to the walls and flooring, some business is being done downstairs.

Damages to the building have not yet been assessed, Ms. Bahr said. The bank said it suffered $100,000 in damages in 1993.

It cost Lemay Bank and Trust of St. Louis about $5,000 to remove drive- up banking units from a flooded parking lot - a far cry from the nearly $800,000 in damages sustained in 1993 when three feet of floodwater destroyed the lobby.

"This year was like a nonevent," said president Frank Ziegler Jr.

The worst it got this spring was when three-fifths of the parking lot was underwater, closing the drive-in lanes, he said.

The $400 million-asset bank also has initiated plans to move, but its new building won't be ready until late next year.

"We just didn't think there was any big urgency," Mr. Ziegler said. "I'd been at the bank 32 years in 1993, and I saw (flooding) once. (This year) proved to me if it could happen once, it could happen twice."

Other bankers affected in 1993 reported few problems this year.

"We're high and dry this time," said Mark Vogt, president of the Valmeyer, Ill., branch of O'Fallon-based First Bank.

That's because the bank - like much of the town of Valmeyer - has relocated to higher ground.

The branch has operated from a trailer since July 1993 and the bank is negotiating to buy land for a building in a new business district.

In 1993 water was almost 10 feet deep in the bank, and 180 safe deposit boxes were flooded. The facility was sold in a Federal Emergency Management Agency program that bought out the entire business district.

Across the river in Missouri, Bank of Chesterfield, now part of the Magna Group, was under seven feet of water in 1993. This year, the nearby levee held, so there was no flooding, said Gary Hemmer, Magna's executive vice president.

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