UT Martin students finish first in national competition

The Conference of State Bank Supervisors named a UT Martin student team as winner of the 2021 Community Bank Case Study Competition. The team included four students from the College of Business and Global Affairs and one student from the College of Agriculture and Applied Sciences. The CSBS announced the competition results July 15 at www.csbs.org.

The annual competition is open to undergraduate students in all fields of study as an opportunity to gain valuable first-hand knowledge of the banking industry. This year’s case studies submitted to the competition examined how local community banks navigated the COVID-19 pandemic and what they are doing to encourage greater diversity and inclusion.

“This competition underscores the importance of banking education and helps undergraduate students learn about the value of community banking. The exceptional analysis and quality of work of the top three teams tell me we are building a strong workforce of tomorrow,” said CSBS Executive Vice President Jim Cooper.

The winning UT Martin team members were Benjamin Beard, finance and accounting major, Union City; Seth Bishop, finance and accounting major, Adamsville; Refugio Palacios, finance major, Dyersburg; Savannah Pham, business communication and information systems major, Halls; and McKenzie Reagor, agricultural business major, Karnak, Illinois.

“This competition underscores the importance of banking education and helps undergraduate students learn about the value of community banking. The exceptional analysis and quality of work of the top three teams tell me we are building a strong workforce of tomorrow,” said CSBS Executive Vice President Jim Cooper.

John Clark, interim chairholder for the Horace and Sara Dunagan Chair of Excellence in Banking; Dr. Mark Farley, assistant professor of finance; and Dr. Lajuan Davis, professor of business communication, were the team’s faculty advisers. Clark’s administrative support assistant, Traci Crawford, also assisted team members as they prepared for the competition, and TriStar Bank, based in Dickson, Tennessee, was the team’s community bank partner. The team advanced through three rounds of judging by banking professionals and overcame a pool of 35 student teams representing 29 colleges and universities.

“This is a very important national competition for universities and students interested in community banking,” Clark said. “This year was our fourth year to compete. We’ve done well in the competition each year, with the best success until this year being third place in 2019. This is a significant accomplishment by these five extraordinary students.”

“I am truly proud of our outstanding students and their faculty advisers Mr. John Clark, Dr. Mark Farley and Dr. Lajuan Davis for such a monumental accomplishment,” said Dr. Ahmad Tootoonchi, College of Business and Global Affairs dean. “Their partnership with the TriStar Bank and their case study on ‘How Community Banks Have Responded to Major Forces that Impacted the Nation’ reflect their commitment to the continuous improvement of the business community and the economic development of the region.”

Each UT Martin team member will receive a $1,000 scholarship for the first-place finish. The team will also be invited to present at the CSBS-Federal Reserve Community Banking-FDIC sponsored Community Banking in the 21st Century Research and Policy Conference and will have their work published in the CSBS Journal of Community Bank Case Studies.

Teams representing the University of Arkansas and Southeastern Louisiana University placed second and third respectively. These teams will receive $500 and $250 scholarships for their respective finishes and have their works also published in the CSBS journal. The winning papers from UT Martin, Arkansas and Southeastern Louisiana are available online at www.csbs.org by selecting the competition press release under “latest news.”

For more information on the 2021 Community Bank Case Study Competition, visit www.csbs.org/bankcasestudy.

The Conference of State Bank Supervisors (CSBS) is the national organization of bank regulators from all 50 states, American Samoa, District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands. State regulators supervise roughly three-quarters of all U.S. banks and a variety of non-depository financial services. CSBS, on behalf of state regulators, also operates the Nationwide Multistate Licensing System to license and register non-depository financial service providers in the mortgage, money services businesses, consumer finance and debt industries.

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