Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Business Administration

First Advisor

Dr. Joo Jung

Second Advisor

Dr. Dave O. Jackson

Third Advisor

Dr. Diego A. Escobari


Over the past 35 years, Great Depression era regulatory restrictions on the geographic area of operation and the scope of financial services banks can offer have change significantly. These changes fueled a surge of merger activity and resulted in a 70% decrease in the number of bank charters by 2015. Currently, community banks hold only 14% of bank assets in the US; nonetheless, they play an important role in the US economy because they continue to provide the majority of funding to small businesses. This study finds that over 83% of bank failures occurred in metropolitan areas despite the distribution of community banks being almost equal at 49.5% rural and 50.5% metropolitan. An analysis of FDIC data from 2000 through 2014 indicates that rural and community banks do differ significantly on variables related to bank profitability and loan portfolio risk. Metropolitan banks have lower ratios on pre-tax return on assets, and return on equity. On average, metropolitan banks are approximately 30% less profitable than their rural counterparts. Since the 2007 financial crisis, on average, metropolitan banks have higher ratios on variables related to loan portfolio risk and since 2010 they have lower capital to asset ratios. The higher bank failure rates, riskier loan portfolios, and lower capital to asset ratios associated with metropolitan community banks provides support for the competition-fragility view that increased competition in banking leads to more bank failures. The nationwide survey in this study indicates that metropolitan community bankers perceive the competitive environment to be more intense and that their marketing capabilities are inferior to the large nationwide and regional banks that they compete against. Community bankers perceive that the merger and acquisition activity will continue and that it is driven by the need to achieve economies of scale in technology and regulatory compliance. Based on previous research that larger banks extend less credit to small businesses, this will further restrict the availability of bank credit to new businesses and existing microenterprises. Given that microenterprises employ the majority of people and contribute to new job creation, there are serious economic implications.


Copyright 2015 Robert D. Morrison. All Rights Reserved.