An Analysis Of Bank Consolidation Trends In Rural Pennsylvania
U.S. banking markets have undergone important structural and institutional changes. Overall, the sector has experienced steady consolidation through mergers and acquisitions that have resulted in fewer banks holding a greater value of the total assets. Despite consolidation, new branch offices and the growth of alternative providers has increased the access to banking-type services. This paper documents and describes trends in the banking industry in Pennsylvania, with special emphasis on rural areas. The first section shows that while the number of "bricks and mortar" offices in the state's rural counties has grown, the distribution of the growth has been quite uneven. As a result, access has potentially declined for some of the state's rural residents. In the second section the analysis shows that consolidation is dramatically reducing the number of banks headquartered in Pennsylvania. The analysis shows that, should current trends continuethe loss of 1.25 banks per quarterthen there will be no banks headquartered in rural Pennsylvania in 2025. Consolidation appears to be having an effect on the competitiveness of rural banking markets. While the analysis suggests that urban county banking markets remain fairly competitive, it also suggests that the state's rural banking markets may have less competition.
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