District trends in banking concentration
It is widely assumed that banking markets have become progressively more concentrated over time. Statements to that effect appear frequently in the financial press and in testimony regarding prospective changes in banking laws. For states in the Seventh District, however, the evidence does not appear to support such an assertion. In part, this reflects the fact that the federal bank regulatory agencies, acting under the Bank Holding Company Act of 1956 and the Bank Merger Act of 1960, have refused to approve acquisitions that would result in substantial increases in concentration. Since the revisions of these acts in 1966, the competitive standards have essentially been those of sections 1 and 2 of the Sherman Antitrust Act and section 7 of the Clayton Antitrust Act. This article reviews the changes in banking concentration in Standard Metropolitan Statistical Areas (SMSAs) and non-SMSA counties in Seventh District states during the period 1965-79.