Montana Bankers Association chief Steve Turkiewicz is no fan of the Obama admin- istration's plan to lift restrictions on interstate branching. While the state is massive, it has less than one million residents, and Montana bankers simply don't believe that there's enough business to go around to support banks that might want to branch in from neighboring states. They worry that Montana communities will suffer if out-of-state banks move in, then pull up stakes when the branch fails to meet expectations.

"We think the laws that we put into place consider the long-term commitment to Montana communities, as opposed to a marketing decision that is good at the moment," Turkiewicz says. "And if we look at what's happened over...the last 18 months, those decisions can be changed very quickly; and what do we do with the community that's left sitting there?"

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