The head of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. is concerned about the impact bank consolidation will have on rural America.

Jelena McWilliams, the 21st chairman of the FDIC, spoke in Milwaukee this week at the Wisconsin Bankers Association’s annual Bank Executives Conference. Nominated by President Donald Trump, McWilliams assumed her position last year after working as an executive vice president and chief legal officer at Fifth Third Bank in Cincinnati.  

She said during her visit the continually declining number of banking institutions can have a trickle-down effect on local economies. As her agency looks at merger applications, McWilliams said a priority is to ensure communities are served. 

About 600 counties in the country have a single banking presence, she said. 

“When that bank closes down, so does the barbershop and the diner and the hardware store, and the revenue stream from the community goes away,” McWilliams said. “You lose. Every community loses when they lose a bank.” 

Read more in the Milwaukee Business Journal.

Click here to view excerpts from the conversation with Chair McWilliams at the Bank Executives Conference.