Washington - U.S. community banks are gaining strength even though the economy is improving only moderately, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said Wednesday.
The Fed chief delivered prerecorded remarks on a video monitor before a convention of community bankers in Nashville. The speech resembled one he gave last month in Arlington, Va.
Bernanke said community bank profits were higher in 2011 than the previous year and bad loans were decreasing. He also said they have built up cushions against loan losses. Community banks have assets below $10 billion.