Business

Bernanke says community banks strengthening

WASHINGTON - US community banks are gaining strength even though the economy is improving only moderately, Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke said Wednesday.

The Fed chief delivered prerecorded remarks on a video monitor before a convention of community bankers in Nashville. The speech resembled one he gave last month in Arlington, Va. Bernanke said community bank profits were higher in 2011 than the previous year and bad loans were easing. He also said they have built up cushions against loan losses. Community banks have assets below $10 billion.

Advertisement

Bernanke did not mention the Fed’s interest rate policies in his taped speech. During the February speech, he defended the Fed’s decisions to keep interest rates at record-low levels.

On Tuesday, the Fed repeated its plan to keep short-term interest rates near zero through 2014.

Get Talking Points in your inbox:
An afternoon recap of the day’s most important business news, delivered weekdays.
Thank you for signing up! Sign up for more newsletters here

In Wednesday’s speech, Bernanke sought to counter criticism that the overhaul of financial regulations that Congress passed in 2010 was imposing unnecessary burdens on banks.

“We take quite seriously the importance of evaluating the costs and benefits of new rules,’’ he said in his remarks to the national convention of the Independent Community Bankers of America.

Bernanke said that most of the provisions in the 2010 law were aimed at addressing the threats posed to the financial system from the largest financial institutions and not community banks. “We will work to maintain a clear distinction between community banks and larger institutions in the application of new regulations,’’ Bernanke said.

Loading comments...
Real journalists. Real journalism. Subscribe to The Boston Globe today.
You're reading  1 of 5 free articles.
Get UNLIMITED access for only 99¢ per week Subscribe Now >
You're reading1 of 5 free articles.Keep scrolling to see more articles recomended for you Subscribe now
We hope you've enjoyed your 5 free articles.
Continue reading by subscribing to Globe.com for just 99¢.
 Already a member? Log in Home
Subscriber Log In

We hope you've enjoyed your 5 free articles'

Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.

  • High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
  • Convenient access across all of your devices
  • Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
  • Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
  • Less than 25¢ a week
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com