The American Bankers Association told Congress last week the growing volume of bank regulation is making it harder for America’s hometown banks to meet the needs of their customers, particularly in rural communities. Testifying in front of the House Small Business Subcommittee on Economic Growth, CEO of the Oklahoma Bankers Association, Roger Beverage, told lawmakers regulation shapes the way banks do business and can help or hinder the smooth functioning of the credit cycle. Beverage testified that the new regulatory atmosphere – not the local economic conditions – is often the tipping point that drives small banks to merge, noting that there are nearly 1,500 fewer banks than there were five years ago. First National Bank CEO Shan Hanes of Kansas told lawmakers that overregulation on rural America hinders growth for rural communities. Hanes also claimed the Farm Credit System puts rural banks on an uneven playing field.