The population of U.S. banks has dwindled rapidly over the last three years — to below 7,000 — even though the pace of failures has abated and merger activity has slowed.

Since mid-2010 the total number of banks has fallen by 11.4%, by far the largest three-year drop since the mid-to-late 1990s, according to data from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.'s most recent Quarterly Banking Profile.

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