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While the number of community banks in Palm Beach County and elsewhere has been steadily declining since the early 1990s, there are signs that these small banks may be on the verge of a comeback.
In 1984, there were 20 community banks in Palm Beach County; today there are fewer than 10.
But state banking records show that applications for community bank charters are increasing: In 1997 the Department of Banking and Finance received nine applications, after a high of 40 applications in 1987 and a low of two in 1992.
So far this year, two applications have been filed, and department officials estimate about 15 by the end of the year.
Two of the recent applications have been from Palm Beach County: Independent Community Bank in Tequesta was approved in October …