Community banks were urged to offer financial advisory services as a way to increase non-loan income in an American Bankers Association webinar Wednesday.

“Financial planning offers huge opportunity for community banks,” said the session’s leader, James MacLeod, wealth management services director for Bangor Savings Bank in Maine.

MacLeod said the biggest financial planning marketing advantages that small banks have over large, stand-alone advisory services or mega broker-dealer/investment advisory companies are the current chaos in the markets and the fact community banks were unscathed by the financial crisis.

“People have a high degree of comfort moving to community banks,” said the executive at Maine’s largest independent bank, which has $3 billion in assets and 57 branches.

MacLeod said financial planning lets community banks present innovation, education, advice and advocacy to customers in a very relationship-oriented way in very short period of time.

He noted it can be a very powerful addition to the services of banks that currently lack a financial advisory offering.