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Start Your Own Bank

Number of new banks (click for bigger chart). Data from FDIC via American Bankers Association hide caption

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Data from FDIC via American Bankers Association

Number of new banks (click for bigger chart).

Data from FDIC via American Bankers Association

People keep asking why someone doesn't just start up a new, squeaky-clean bank that everyone trusts — one unencumbered by toxic mortgage backed-securities.

There are new banks popping up, though last year saw a drop (see chart). The American Bankers Association says there were 62 newly chartered banks that qualified for FDIC insurance.

Most of these are small community banks, though. Vista Bank in South Carolina has three offices and a pretty bare-bones website. Vision statement: "VistaBank will be recognized as the financial institution of choice." That's it. No way it will be taking the place of Citibank anytime soon.

The challenge in starting up a new bank is the same you would face opening any new business. You need start-up capital, which these days is hard to come by.