Straight Talk — Farmers and bankers

During the 1980s, some farmers blamed their banker for their troubles. But the fact is, bankers and farmers share many similarities, they are dependent upon one another for success, and they can learn from each other.

The United States lost about a million small farms between 1980 and 2000. Similarly, we have lost about half the bank charters since the 1980s, mostly among smaller institutions. The same factors that drove 1980s-’90s consolidation in farming (rising costs and low prices) are driving consolidation in banking today (rising compliance costs and reduced income due to low interest . . .

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