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Julie Stackhouse, head of supervision at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, discusses the insights that resonated at the regulator's recent community banking conference — some encouraging for the future of small financial institutions, others less so.

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The private student loan market is dominated by large players, but some community banks are turning to a third-party tech company to help them get in the game.

Some providers of deposit-placement services to banks are crying foul over a proposal they say would give the market's dominant player, Promontory Interfinancial Network, an even bigger competitive edge.

Community bankers are showing renewed interest in consumer lending but admit they may be losing ground to more tech-savvy players, according to a survey released Thursday.

Shiv Govindan at Pilgrims & Indians Capital has kept a relatively low profile as a bank investor. But two key board appointments at struggling community banks promise to make him a more visible player in the industry.

Centric Financial is one of the few publicly traded banking companies with women in the chief executive and chief financial officer roles. Centric is also distinctive for its enviable growth and performance. Those two facts are not purely coincidental, according to President and CEO Patricia Husic.

ST. LOUIS – Risk management is critical as small banks aim to make money in a low-rate environment.

Technology? Bankers can keep up. New regulations? We've got people to handle that. But how to account for the flight of customers, prospective employees and economic opportunities from rural areas is perhaps the biggest challenge facing community lenders and policymakers, warns a longtime Oklahoma banker.

Kim Kaselionis saw a lot of small-business-loan applications die on her desk when she was a bank chief, so she started a crowdfunding firm to nurse along startups till they were bankable. That's where Fresno First comes in.

Only a dozen banks still owe the government Troubled Asset Relief Program money, and an unspecified number of others including Reliance Bancshares in St. Louis owe investors who bought their Tarp balances. But Reliance has made problem loans vanish and has a credit line in hand to help retire its $62 million Tarp-related debt.

Bankers generally expect loan demand to increase over the next year, but global shocks, domestic politics and regional economic variations may be prompting them to prepare for slightly slower growth than before.

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