WASHINGTON — If he was talking about the entire country, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., vastly overstated the number of small-bank casualties since the Dodd-Frank Act in his call to repeal the law during the first Republican presidential candidates' debate Thursday.

"Over 40% of small and midsize banks that loan money to small businesses have been wiped out since Dodd-Frank has passed," Rubio said, calling to "repeal and replace" the 2010 reform law.

To be fair, in the recording it sounds like he started to say "25%," which would have been much closer to accurate, before backtracking and giving the 40% figure. There is also the possibility that Rubio was referring specifically to his home state, where the actual rate of decline since Dodd-Frank does round up to 40%.

But for the entire U.S., the total number of banks has fallen 18% since June 30, 2010, just ahead of the law's signing in July of that year. There were 6,419 institutions across the country as of the first quarter of 2015, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

Those figures include failures and sales, and of course debate rages on over whether there's clear causal evidence linking the entirety of the decline to new regulations.

The number of banks with less than $10 billion in assets has fallen at just about the same rate, 18.4%, over the same period, leaving 6,307 small banks, the FDIC reports.

Federally insured credit unions fell 16.6% to 6,206 institutions over the same period, according to the National Credit Union Administration.

However, Rubio's estimate is closer in line with the magnitude of bank losses in Florida. Since June 30, 2010, the number of banks in the Sunshine State has contracted 36.6%. There are now 168 institutions headquartered in Florida, according to the FDIC.

The Rubio campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Subscribe Now

Access to authoritative analysis and perspective and our data-driven report series.

14-Day Free Trial

No credit card required. Complete access to articles, breaking news and industry data.