A previous version of this working paper was originally published in June 2018.

From all mergers that involved community banks, they examine the varying impact on SBL depending on the local presence of the acquirers’ and the targets’ operations prior to acquisitions. Our results indicate that, relative to counties where the acquirer had operations before the merger, local SBL declined significantly more in counties where only the target had operations before the merger. This result holds even after controlling for the general local SBL market or local economic trends. These findings are consistent with an argument that SBL funding has been directed (after the mergers) toward the acquirers’ counties. The authors find even stronger evidence during and after the financial crisis. Overall, the authors find evidence that local community banks have continued to play an important role in providing funding to local small businesses. The absence of local community banks that became a target of a merger or acquisition by nonlocal acquirers has, on average, led to local SBL credit gaps that were not filled by the rest of the banking sector.