Bank numbers dropped-more slowly in nonmetro than in metro areas during 1990. This was true for all regions, and continued the trend of recent years. The same merger activity that reduced bank numbers increased the average bank size. The average value of assets held at the end of 1990 was, for both nonmetro and metro banks, 7 percent higher than a year earlier. Holdings of Federal Government securities were up considerably, particularly for metro banks. The average increase in such holdings was considerably larger than the decline in holdings of State and local government issues. Profit rates of nonmetro banks averaged much higher than those of metro banks, but were still down a little from a year earlier. Nonmetro banks, concentrated in the Midwest and South, generally had favorable financial characteristics: well capitalized, few loan problems, and above-average profits. Nonmetro banks in the Northeast were among the Nation's most troubled.