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Mississippi State University Team Wins CSBS Community Bank Competition

Washington, D.C. – The Conference of State Bank Supervisors (CSBS) today named Mississippi State University students as winners of the 2020 Community Bank Case Study Competition.

The team advanced through three rounds of judging by banking professionals and overcame a pool of 37 student teams representing 33 colleges and universities. 

The annual competition is open to undergraduate students in all fields of study as an opportunity to gain valuable first-hand knowledge of the banking industry. This year’s case studies examined the impact of the Bank Secrecy Act and Anti-Money Laundering (BSA- AML) requirements on community banks. Student teams partnered with a local bank to examine compliance challenges, associated time and costs and identify potential regulatory reforms.

“These students have done an outstanding job in a trying year,” said CSBS Senior Executive Vice President Michael L. Stevens. “Their work is exceptional and is a terrific contribution to the policy discussions on the impact of BSA-AML on community banks.”

The winning Mississippi State University team members are Juan Benavides, Liam Benson, Byron McClendon, Jake Mlsna and Kirk Wright. Matthew Whitledge served as the faculty advisor, and Citizens National Bank, based in Meridian, Miss., was the team’s community bank partner. 

As first place winner, each student will receive a $1,000 scholarship. The team will be invited to present at the CSBS-Federal Reserve Community Banking-FDIC sponsored Community Banking in the 21st Century Research and Policy Conference and published in the CSBS Journal of Community Bank Case Studies. 

A team from James Madison University placed second. The students are Manushree Bhatt, Homer Eliades, Henry Haas, Daniel Horowitz and Alexis Kakar. Carl Larsson served as faculty advisors, and F&M Bank, based in Timberville, Va., was the bank partner.

A team from Mansfield University of Pennsylvania placed third. Team members are Seungho Lee, Anthony Mastroianni, Abi Welch and Sarah Hart. Atika Benaddi served as faculty advisor and Xiaoxuan Ji and Xia Zhou served as co-advisors. Citizens & Northern Bank, based in Wellsboro, Pa., was the bank partner.  

Students on the second-place team each will receive a $500 CSBS scholarship, and those on the third-place team each will receive a $250 CSBS scholarship. Both teams also will have their works published in the Journal of Community Bank Case Studies.

CSBS announced the winners online at 12 p.m., Thursday, June 18. For more information on the 2020 Community Bank Case Study Competition, visit
Media Contact: Susanna Barnett,, 202-407-7156

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