With no startups, number of U.S. banks keeps dwindling

jimmy-stewart

Back in 2009, Palm Beach billionaire Wilbur Ross posited that there are just too many financial institutions in the United States.

“We still have 8,000 banks, and that’s just a ridiculously large number,” Ross told me when I asked him about his plan to buy tiny First Bank and Trust Co. of Indiantown.

Ross ditched the deal for First Bank, but he seems to have been right about bank consolidation. The number of U.S. banks has fallen below 6,000, about half the level of 20 years ago, BauerFinancial says.

Even so, banks posted their second consecutive earnings record. Third-quarter net income rose to $45.6 billion, up 12.9 percent from a year earlier.

In decades past, Florida saw predictable flurries of consolidation, followed by waves of bank startups. But there have been no new banks chartered in Florida since the Great Recession, and smaller banks have been snapped up by larger rivals.

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