Community banks that put their customers first increasingly seem to be an endangered financial species as big banks grow ever bigger. And heightening such concerns is the lack of community banking representation on the Federal Reserve Board of Governors under incoming Fed chief Janet Yellen.
There are nearly 7,000 community banks in the United States. While they hold just 14 percent of financial industry assets, they nevertheless provide almost half the small loans that go to farms and small businesses that employ 4 million Americans. And community banks also serve rural areas and smaller towns that big banks don't, according to a 2012 Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. report.
The two Fed governors with retail banking backgrounds have left the board. President Obama's nominees to replace them lack such experience. That's particularly worrisome as smaller banks scramble to cope with new regulations that the Fed is issuing under 2010's dubious Dodd-Frank Act.
And it leaves the Fed board without members who know the day-to-day concerns of typical Americans firsthand. The input of community bankers is as necessary for the Fed board as are community banks for a healthy economy.
Community bankers must rejoin the ranks of the Fed's governors as other vacancies occur. To function most effectively for America and the economy as a whole, the Fed board must know what's on the minds of Wall Street bankers but those on Main Street, too.
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.