FDIC names SUNY-Geneseo team winners of first-ever academic challenge

A four-member team of undergraduate students from the State University of New York College at Geneseo (SUNY-Geneseo) has won the inaugural 2020-2021 Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) Academic Challenge with an examination of relationship banking by community banks, the agency announced Monday.

The FDIC Academic Challenge is a competition among university and college students concerning the U.S. banking sector. The 2020-2021 challenge was titled “The Effects of Community Banks on Local Economic Development.”

The FDIC selected SUNY-Geneseo students Kiersten Colvin, Ian Merrihew, Tyee MacDonnell-Miller, and Oliver Stordahl as winners of the challenge. Led by faculty advisor Dr. Léonie Stone, the group presented “a thoughtful examination on the ‘relationship banking’ services community banks offer to individuals, small businesses, and farmers, particularly in rural, low-income and minority communities,” the agency said.

The FDIC’s Center for Financial Research hosted the 2020-2021 Academic Challenge, which consisted of two rounds. In the first round of the competition, teams of undergraduate students used multiple public data sources to prepare a written submission that examined the effects of community banks on local economic development. In the second round, finalist teams were invited to present their findings and answer questions from a panel of judges who work in the areas of banking and bank supervision.

Addressing the student teams in the competition, FDIC Chairman Jelena McWilliams said their accomplishments “are especially noteworthy in light of the ongoing public health challenges that have pushed many colleges and universities to move instruction online.”

The other finalist teams were California State University, Fullerton; the University of Chicago; the University of Delaware; and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

SUNY-Geneseo Wins FDIC’s Inaugural Academic Challenge