Foes of interstate branching argue that the number of community banks will greatly diminish once constraints to consolidation disappear. But a Washington consultant, using California as an example, says those fears are unfounded.

A study by Secura Group managing director John P. Danforth said that in the past 25 years in California, with its long-time unrestricted intrastate branching, community banks have made significant gains on their larger brethren.

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