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CSBS 2022 Annual Data Analytics Competition
The Role of Community Banks During the Pandemic 


2022 Challenge

Develop a data analytics model that demonstrates the role community banks played during the pandemic using data from the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).

This competition is open to teams of 3-5 undergraduate and/or graduate students working with a faculty advisor.


The Conference of State Bank Supervisors’ (CSBS) annual Data Analytics Competition is designed to give college students an opportunity to conduct a rigorous economic research project to better understand community banking and bank regulation through a pre-defined, comprehensive and challenging data analytics project. This academically stimulating research experience allows students to propose a research idea, build an analytics model to test it and derive data-driven insights to help policymakers, regulators, scholars and others understand the role that community banks have in the U.S. economy, and, at the same time, develop skills in data science, finance and accounting and communications. Note that the annual CSBS Data Analytics Competition is not the same as the annual CSBS Case Study Competition



The number of community banks in the United States has fallen from more than 13,000 in the mid-1980s to less than 5,000 today. These community-focused banks have consolidated mainly as a result of competitive pressures. Research shows that community banks are essential to maintaining economically fruitful communities, and losing these banks could be a significant blow to local infrastructure. 

One example of the importance of community banks was their role in distributing Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)1 loans during the Covid-19 pandemic. The PPP was designed to help small businesses keep their workers employed during the pandemic by providing funds through a short-term loan backed by the Small Business Administration (SBA). Preliminary research by CSBS shows that state-chartered banks were the primary distributor of PPP loans, and that community banks played an outsized role in the distribution of PPP funds. 



CSBS invites small teams of three to five undergraduate and graduate students at U.S. universities (working with a faculty advisor) help scholars, policymakers, and the public better understand the role of community banks during the COVID-19 pandemic. Using data provided by the SB, CSBS and elsewhere, teams should develop a hypothesis about the role community banks played during the pandemic, create a data analytics model to test their hypothesis and draw data-driven insights from their research.  

For selected proposals (see competition phases below), the final research project should consist of a written report that includes at least one of the following supporting data analytics components: 

  1. Statistical model 
  2. Optimization model 
  3. Business Intelligence tool/dashboard 
  4. Other data analytics component 



The winning teams will be selected by a panel of judges, with an emphasis on the following (see Appendix 1 for the scoring rubric): 

  1. Use of data and analytical methods/models 
  2. Creativity and innovative thinking 
  3. Persuasion through data-driven arguments 


Competition Phases 

  • Phase I – Proposal Submission: Teams should submit a detailed project proposal by Jan. 28, 2022, for eligibility to advance to Phase II. A proposal template is included for your reference in Appendix 2. Limit your proposal to two pages. Proposals must have a faculty sponsor. Send proposals to: [email protected]  
  • Phase II - Proposals Reviewed by CSBS: Up to eight teams will be selected to advance to Phase III. Selected teams will be notified by mid-February to submit final reports by mid-April. Proposals will be evaluated on your research idea (hypotheses), expected methodology and model(s), and presumed insights from your analyses. 
  • Phase III - Eight Teams Work on Competition: The eight selected teams will work on their reports and must submit their written research reports and data analytics components by April 22, 2022. Each team should email their reports/components to [email protected] 
  • Phase IV – Four Finalist Teams Make Oral Presentations: Four (finalist) teams from Phase III will make oral presentations (20 minutes, plus 10 minutes Q&A) to a panel of CSBS judges on May 5, 2022, to determine first through fourth place winners. (The winning team may also be invited to present their findings at the annual CSBS State and Federal Supervisory Forum in late May.) 


Eligible Participants and Prizes

The CSBS Data Analytics Competition is open to all undergraduate and graduate students at U.S. universities. Teams of three to five college students are required to be sponsored by a research faculty advisor at their university. Prize money will be awarded to the top four finalists as follows: $5,000 to the first-place team; $2,500 to the second-place team; $1,500 to the third-place Team; $1,000 to the fourth-place Team.  

Appendix (Scoring, Template, About)

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