The rumors of regulation running rampant over community banks across the country have been greatly exaggerated.
With the Dodd-Frank Act blowing out the candles on its fifth birthday cake this week, government watchdogs have been up in arms with tales of single-branch community lenders struggling with the burden of compliance.
"They feel they are no longer working as a banker, but they're working for the federal government," Rep. Scott Tipton, R-Colorado, told Janet Yellen at a recent House Committee on Financial Services hearing. "While we might have hearings, they don't feel that anyone is actually listening."
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But, although community banks have been suffering lately, it's nothing new. In fact, a look at data from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation shows that banks of all kinds have been declining steadily since the early 1980s. Credit unions show a similar trend, according to data from the Credit Union National Association.
In the past 30 years alone, the number of unit banks—banks with only one location—has dropped by a full 84 percent, while branch banks saw a lower rate of decline.