I realize now why I like community banks. I liked them when I covered them as part of two previous jobs, and I like them now that they represent a large portion of our readership here.

Having a bank teller who knows my name doesn't matter so much to me, but now I see a much deeper connection: We're in the same spot, professionally. That struck me as I read Michael White's article on the ill-founded reasons why so many community banks shun investment programs. He outlines a number of arguments that banks use to justify their misguided decisions. But in a nutshell, those banks are at a crossroads and many are taking the wrong turn. As an industry, they are sticking to their knitting, White says. And while that knitting—gathering deposits and making loans—worked for years, it's not enough today. To stay competitive now, they also need the stable revenues that wealth management can provide.

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