WASHINGTON — Going to where your customers are is a pretty straightforward concept. But a new Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. report released Monday turns that adage on its head, suggesting that some community banks in areas with a declining customer base weathered the financial downturn better than banks in metropolitan regions.

The study, which continues the FDIC's focus on community banking issues, charts trends for institutions in depopulating rural areas. The agency last studied the effects of rural depopulation in 2004.

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