The outgoing superintendent of Iowa’s Department of Banking says the industry’s seen big changes in his more than two years there. Holmes Foster says his department is the target of a lawsuit by four national banks over its ban on A-T-M surcharges.He says Iowa is the “last holdout” on ATM charges, and eventually will settle the issue. Foster says while state law may not prove to supersede the federal banking rules, some municipalities are fighting the same regulatory battle in other parts of the country. Another issue that Foster’s seen grow fast in recent years is Internet banking. He doesn’t know how many but says a surprisingly large number of banks are doing business today over the Internet. A ten-year trend of Iowa banks being taken over by out-of-state chains has just about ended, says Foster, but we still see in-state mergers taking place.Small hometown banks often are owned by a few people or a family who find they’re growing older, and want to retire. Despite a turbulent year in the national economy, the state’s outgoing banking superintendent says Iowa’s looking good.The downturn of the economy hasn’t affected them, and Iowa’s bank loans and assets are in good condition. Since 1995, the number of banks in Iowa has declined from 425 to 392, according to the banking division’s latest report. Incoming banking superintendent Thomas Gronstal takes office at the end of this month.
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