MSU places first in nationwide banking case study competition

Contact: Sid Salter

A female bank teller counts cash in front of a male customer
A team of Mississippi State finance students won first place in the Conference of State Bank Supervisors 2020 Community Bank Case Study Competition. (Photo by Getty Images)

JACKSON, Miss.—Mississippi State University placed first in the Conference of State Bank Supervisors 2020 Community Bank Case Study Competition. Mississippi State University, along with 37 teams from 33 colleges and universities in 18 states studied the impact of the Bank Secrecy Act and Anti-Money Laundering (BSA-AML) requirements of community banks. Student teams partnered with a local community bank to examine challenges, associated time and costs and identify potential regulatory reforms. 

MSU team members included spring finance graduates Juan Benavides of Greenville; Liam Benson of Auburn, Maine; Byron McClendon of Brandon; Jake Mlsna of Starkville; and senior finance major Kirk Wright of Crystal Springs. Their faculty advisor was MSU Assistant Clinical Professor of Finance Matthew Whitledge. Citizens National Bank, based in Meridian, Miss., was the team’s community bank partner. Other university finalists included Concordia College, James Madison University, Mansfield University of Pennsylvania, and Purdue University.

This competition is open to undergraduate students in all fields of study as an opportunity to gain valuable first-hand knowledge of the banking industry. By participating in this competition, these students contribute feedback vital to public policy and the national conversation regarding the importance of community banks. 

Each student member and faculty advisor of the MSU Team will receive a $1,000 scholarship and be invited to present at the CSBS-Federal Reserve-FDIC Community Banking in the 21st Century Research and Policy Conference. Their work will be published in the annual CSBS Journal of Community Bank Case Studies.

“Mississippi is No. 1 in the nation once again, thanks to our talented and hardworking students,” said Gov. Tate Reeves. “By our students joining forces with the banking industry to continue improving our community banks, Mississippi wins every time. I am proud of these Mississippi students for competing on the national stage and winning for themselves and their state.”

“This exemplary recognition of our students from bank regulators and the banking industry is a testament to both the knowledge and ability of our students and the quality and dedication of our faculty and administration in the MSU College of Business,” said MSU President Mark E. Keenum. “I heartily congratulate them on winning this prestigious competition.”

MSU College of Business Dean Sharon Oswald said: “I am so proud of our MSU College of Business Finance students and their advisor Dr. Matthew Whitledge. Our students have brought great recognition to our state and have proven that they can compete with the best across the country.”

Acting Commissioner Rhoshunda Kelly of Mississippi Department of Banking and Consumer Finance, the financial regulator of Mississippi state-chartered banks, commends the winning team stating, “Community banks play a vital role in towns and communities across Mississippi. This competition provides a nationwide platform to create awareness and establish a dialogue between university students and community bankers.”

The Conference of State Bank Supervisors (CSBS) is the nationwide organization of banking regulators from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. For more information, visit

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