BOCA RATON, Fla. — The need for innovation has emerged as the unofficial theme of the American Bankers Association's National Conference for Community Bankers.

The annual conference is officially dedicated to "banking in a brave new world." But many of the 1,300 attendees — including keynote speaker Luke Williams and participants at a well-attended panel discussion — were quick to assert how critical innovation will be to the survival of smaller institutions.

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