June 23rd, 2014
from the Kansas Fed
Community bank performance has improved significantly since the financial crisis but is still below pre-crisis levels. One key concern is net interest income, which rose early in the recovery but now is near a 40-year low. Net interest income is important to the long-term viability of community banks because it is their core source of revenue. Given community banks' significance to local households and businesses, policymakers, bankers, and other stakeholders would like to know whether low net interest income is the "new normal" or if it will reverse when the economy improves.
Morris and Regehr examine net interest income starting in the late 1970s. They find low net interest income can be largely explained by current economic and banking conditions, suggesting it will return to pre-recession levels as monetary policy normalizes and the economic recovery continues. They also find that compared to some more severe recessions in the past 40 years, net interest income is somewhat stronger given economic and banking conditions.