The banking industry has undergone substantial consolidation during the last 15 years, and that process has accelerated in the 1990s. One effect of this consolidation has been to greatly reduce the number of independent and locally owned banks. Some banks have been acquired by distant banking organizations, and some have been acquired by banking companies that were nearby but very large, causing the banks to become junior partners in the new organization.> Since independent and locally owned banks have been important sources of funds for local businesses and farmers, concern has arisen that such borrowers will now find it harder to obtain credit. In principle, the extra safety and liquidity that newly acquired banks enjoy from belonging to a larger, more diversified banking organization could enable the banks to lend more to local farms and businesses. But some analysts worry that banks acquired by large or distant organizations will lend less to local borrowers because the parent company cannot make credit decisions as efficiently or has other preferred uses for the banks' funds.> Is this concern warranted? Keeton finds that recent bank mergers in Tenth District states provide partial support for the claim that banks acquired by large or distant organizations reduce lending to local farms and businesses.