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Community Bank Conference

Ninth District Highlights

September 18, 2019


Community Bank Conference

This is the seventh year that the Federal Reserve System has partnered with the Conference of State Banking Supervisors (CSBS) to host a research conference focused on community banks, called Community Banking in the 21st Century. Last year, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) also joined as a co-sponsor and will continue to be one. The event is planned by a volunteer committee, which I joined this year, and it will be hosted by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis on October 1–2. The attendees typically include academics, regulators, and community bankers, among others. There are three main parts to this event: research paper presentations and discussions, the emerging scholars program, and the community bank case study competition.

In this article, I will highlight these elements as well as other features of the conference. I will also provide details on where you can find more information on this conference and how you can livestream the event.

Research papers

Given that the main focus of the conference is for academics and others to present research papers on real-life industry issues related to community banks, the conference planning committee starts organizing the event by putting out a call for papers several months before the event. Over the years, an increasing number of papers have been submitted from researchers all over the world. The event sponsors select experts to read and review every paper that is submitted, and they ultimately choose the papers whose authors will be invited to present at the conference. This year, 12 papers were chosen for presentation. You can see past papers at the following link:

Emerging scholars program

The second element of this conference is the emerging scholars program, which is targeted to Ph.D. students who are focusing on banking-related topics. To apply for the program, students submit a brief application to the conference organizers. Applications are typically due in mid-June, and the scholars are announced in late July. The scholars who are selected are invited to attend the conference, with their travel-related expenses paid. They also have the opportunity to network with attendees. More information on the program and the scholars selected for 2019 is at: If you know Ph.D. students with a banking focus, encourage them to apply for the 2020 program!

Community bank case study competition

The third element of the conference is the CSBS-sponsored community bank case study competition. This year, 58 teams from 44 colleges and universities competed. The CSBS partners with the conference planners and state banking agencies to serve as judges for this competition. I have served as a judge for the past two years and continue to be impressed by the ambition and knowledge of these young students, who partner with local community banks to explore issues on a predetermined topic. The students produce a paper on the topic and a 10-minute video. This year’s first place team comes from Juniata College in Pennsylvania. Each of the students on the team will receive a $1,000 scholarship. The winning team and their faculty adviser will also attend the conference and present their study. Like the scholars, they will have the opportunity to network with other attendees. Details about the 2019 competition winners, as well as historical details on the case study competition, are available at:

Other conference features

In addition to the conference elements already discussed, this event features keynote speakers throughout the two days. Among those speaking this year will be Governor Michelle Bowman of the Federal Reserve System, President Patrick Harker of the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, and Chairman Jelena McWilliams of the FDIC.

Although attendance at the conference is by invitation and is limited, you can livestream it from the comfort of your office. I strongly encourage you to review the website, which outlines the agenda and provides more details on everything discussed here. If you are interested in parts of the event, or all of it, you are welcome to join in by livestream. The conference website is

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Christine Gaffney
Senior Vice President, Supervision, Regulation, and Credit

Christine Gaffney is senior vice president for Supervision, Regulation and Credit (SRC) at the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, where she oversees the consumer and safety and soundness supervision of state member banks and bank holding companies in the Ninth District. She is also responsible for the Bank’s lending to Ninth District depository institutions and for managing the resulting credit risk.

Gaffney joined the Bank in 2001 in the SRC department as a consumer affairs examiner. She continued in the examination role until 2008. During that period, she spent one year at the Board of Governors and four years as key support for the System’s examiner training efforts. She managed SRC’s quality assurance and training functions before becoming an assistant vice president in 2011 and then vice president in 2014 over the credit, payments systems risk, statistical and structure reporting, and support services areas.

Throughout her tenure, she has made a wide range of contributions, including leading several critical System efforts as well as helping SRC grow its areas of formal responsibility.

Gaffney has a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Jamestown in North Dakota.