It is not hard to find a financial services exchange traded fund chock full of banks, broker-dealers and related companies that have plenty of complaints about the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.
Passed as a response to the global financial crisis, Dodd-Frank is the most sweeping financial services legislation enacted in the U.S. since the Great Depression. Some banks and financial services ETFs find Dodd-Frank more depressing than others. That includes smaller community banks and ETFs such as the First Trust NASDAQ ABA Community Bank Index Fund (NasdaqGM: QABA).
A recent study by Marshall Lux and Robert Greene of Harvard’s Kennedy School highlights issues facing community banks, including some held by QABA, as a result of Dodd-Frank.
“Community banks came out of the financial crisis with a 6% decrease in market share, but since the the passage of the Dodd-Frank Act, their share of U.S. commercial banking assets has declined at a rate almost double that between the second quarters of 2006 and 2010,” reports Clayton Browne for ValueWalk.
“Particularly troubling is community banks’ declining market share in several key lending markets, their decline in small business lending volume, and the disproportionate losses being realized by particularly small community banks,” according to the Harvard study.
While the 143 stocks held by the $82.5 million QABA do not compete on the same stage as those featured in ETFs such as the Financial Select Sector SPDR (NYSEArca: XLF), there is no denying community banks play a vital role in the U.S. financial services system. Community banks provide 77% of agricultural loans as well as more than 50% of small business loans, according to the Harvard study.
There is also no denying that an increased regulatory burden has affected shares of community banks. Dodd-Frank was signed by President Obama on July 21, 2010. Since then, QABA is up 61.1%, which does not sound bad, but measured against rival financial services funds, the ETF has been a laggard.