Profitability is under a lot of pressure for small institutions — expenses are up and yields on loans are down. But some are handling that pressure better than others, as our annual ranking of publicly traded banks and thrifts with less than $2 billion of assets shows.

The overall group of 684 institutions that fit the criteria for our ranking had median noninterest expense growth of 4.25% last year. For those that earned a spot in the top 200, expenses grew at an even faster pace of 5.85%.

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