Researchers have paid considerable attention to studying what can be learned from the failures of community banks during the recent financial crisis. Researchers at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, however, have taken a different approach, instead studying what can be learned from successful community banks.
Over the past 20 years, we have seen a material and sustained change in the structure of banking. Community bank charters have fallen from 10,000 to about 6,000. Yet we intuitively know that community banks are important to their communities and the U.S. economy. For that reason, the Federal Reserve System and the Conference of State Bank Supervisors partnered to sponsor Community Banking in the 21st Century, the inaugural community banking research conference held Oct. 2-3 at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.