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Why does the U.S. have so many small banks? And what does that mean for our economy?

A horse looks in the drive-window of the Bank of Bird-in-Hand. The bank serves the Amish community. There are more than 4,000 small banks in the U.S.--more than any other country. And that has shaped the U.S. economy.
Amanda Hall/Bank of Bird-in-Hand
A horse looks in the drive-window of the Bank of Bird-in-Hand. The bank serves the Amish community. There are more than 4,000 small banks in the U.S.--more than any other country. And that has shaped the U.S. economy.

Copyright 2023 NPR

Stacey Vanek Smith is the co-host of NPR's The Indicator from Planet Money. She's also a correspondent for Planet Money, where she covers business and economics. In this role, Smith has followed economic stories down the muddy back roads of Oklahoma to buy 100 barrels of oil; she's traveled to Pune, India, to track down the man who pitched the country's dramatic currency devaluation to the prime minister; and she's spoken with a North Korean woman who made a small fortune smuggling artificial sweetener in from China.