Small and medium-size banks have shrunk their auditing departments in the past five years, leaving the watchdogs with bigger work loads, according to a new survey.

Ironically the study, released Monday at the Bank Administration Institute's compliance conference, comes just as regulators are increasing their emphasis on internal auditing. For example, a senior Federal Reserve Board official said this month that the central bank planned to order audits when its examiners find troubled bank departments.

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