Bankers are questioning a government report downplaying the impact regulation have had on the industry.

The Government Accountability Office recently released a report on community banks that concluded regulatory burden has had a “generally modest effect” on the declining number of banks, industry profitability and the volume of small business lending since the financial crisis.

The report asserted other factors, including “macroeconomic, local market, and bank characteristics,” had a greater influence on lending, profitability and merger activity.

The tone of the report took bankers who have lived through the last eight years by surprise. 

At 173 pages, and supported by 175 footnotes and surveys and interviews with bankers, there is little question that the GAO sought to back its findings with a substantial level of detail.

Still, bankers and trade group officials are adamant that the conclusions landed way wide of the mark, and that compliance sits near the top of the list of industry problems.

Read more in American Banker.