How Are Small Banks Faring Under Dodd-Frank? (Mercatus Center)

February 2014

KEYWORDS: Dodd-Frank Act, regulatory reform, regulatory requirements, banks, small banks, Bank Secrecy Act, compliance requirements, regulatory compliance, compliance cost, CFPB


Hester Peirce, Ian Robinson, Thomas Stratmann

  • Mercatus Center at George Mason University


This paper presents the results of the Mercatus Center’s Small Bank Survey, which include responses from approximately 200 banks across 41 states with less than $10 billion in assets each, serving mostly rural and small metropolitan markets. The initial analysis suggests that Dodd-Frank significantly affects small banks and their customers. A large majority of respondents viewed Dodd-Frank as more burdensome than the Bank Secrecy Act, and the participating banks reported substantially increased compliance costs in the wake of new regulations. These costs include hiring new compliance personnel, increased reliance on outside compliance experts, additional resources allocated to compliance, and more time spent by noncompliance employees on compliance. The increased regulatory burdens have led small banks to reconsider their product and service offerings, including considering whether to stop providing residential mortgages and overdraft protection. Many small bank customers, who will have difficulty locating convenient alternatives, will feel the indirect effects of Dodd-Frank.

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