Banking Stresses New Technology, Personal Touch
ties are perhaps the greatest competitive advantage of community
banks. Their small size and low staff turnover foster a family atmosphere
that binds them to those they serve in a way that larger, more impersonal
chain banks can't match. But low staff turnover rates can also restrict
innovation by isolating an institution from the latest information
and techniques of the broader banking world.
the Community Banking School [CBS] at Samford University has offered
an educational program that helps community banking professionals
understand and apply innovation without compromising their mission
of personal local service.
cutting-edge technology and introduce them to state-of-the-art banking,"
said school director and Samford business professor John Venable.
"Yet we never want to detract from their advantage."
is a joint effort of Community Bankers Association of Alabama, the
Samford School of Business and the John Will Gay Endowment Fund.
has thrived at Samford. Each class has up to 45 banking professionals
seeking practical, custom-designed education. The business school
welcomed its seventh CBS class in March. They will attend intensive
three-day sessions at Samford every six months for two years. Then
they attend three sessions of four-day duration in the last year.
Along the way, they will take home new ideas and inspiration, and
upon graduation, certificates in community banking.
CBS graduates give the program rave reviews, especially for its
hands-on, practical curriculum and for introducing students to a
statewide professional network.
Dan M. David,
chairman of First American Bank of Decatur who has sent 12 employees
to CBS, is convinced of its value. "Community banks owe Samford
a debt of gratitude for its substantial contribution to this program,"