ST. LOUIS ― The Federal Reserve System and the Conference of State Bank Supervisors (CSBS) today released the findings from a national survey of community bankers which were presented at the fourth annual Community Banking in the 21st Century Research and Policy Conference, co-hosted by the Fed and CSBS at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis on Sept. 28-29, 2016.
The survey findings, which can be viewed via the conference website at www.communitybanking.org, provides a comprehensive view of what bankers are thinking about the key issues facing their industry. Responses were obtained from 557 banks, almost all of which had less than $10 billion in assets, a level that often is used to categorize “community” banks. Embedded in thousands of local communities, these smaller institutions are crucial to the economic success of households and businesses across the country.
Highlights from the survey indicate:
- a continuing emphasis on small business lending, the lifeblood of community banks, which increased modestly in 2015 after several years of lackluster activity;
- an active merger and acquisition market;
- continuing concern with regulatory burden, which was cited as the number one reason for planned exits of banks from currently offered activities;
- frustration with Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) , the Truth in Lending Act (TILA) and the TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure rule, which, collectively, accounted for 23 percent of all compliance expenses; and
- more anticipated competition in the future from non-depository entities for many products and services traditionally provided by community banks.
The survey is augmented by excerpts of interviews conducted by state banking commissioners with community bankers in 29 states. Each commissioner asked five bankers detailed questions with respect to five key areas of interest involving economic trends, regulatory burden, examination processes, competition in small business lending and personnel issues. These “Five Questions for Five Banks” interviews offer unique insights that, in combination with the survey itself, can be used to better understand and further the development of the community banking industry.