A team of finance students at Southeastern Louisiana University has won the national Community Bank Case Study competition conducted by the Washington, D.C.-based Conference of State Bank Supervisors, a nationwide organization of banking regulators from all states and U.S. territories.

The team of four Southeastern undergraduate students worked cooperatively with Hammond-based First Guaranty Bank in one of Southeastern’s newest Real-World Ready courses, a campuswide initiative to incorporate more hands-on, experiential learning into students’ curriculum.

The competition encouraged students to explore community banking by partnering student teams with local banks to conduct original case studies, explained Danielle Lewis, associate professor of finance who served as faculty adviser for the team. The goal of the competition, she said, was to build a fundamental understanding of the community banking business, something few undergraduate students would gain through their regular course work.

Lewis said she selected an “all-star” team of finance students who have distinguished themselves as outstanding students and leaders.

The team included seniors Nicholas Byrd, of Denham Springs; Tarez Arceneaux Cowsar, of Springfield; Joseph Edwards, of Monroe; and Andrea Villarreal, of Mexico. Edwards and Villarreal both graduated from Southeastern in May and were each awarded the President’s Medal for Academic Excellence for maintaining perfect 4.0 GPAs in their studies. Each of the students will receive a $1,000 scholarship and the opportunity to present their case study at the annual CSBS-Federal Reserve Community Bank Research and Policy Conference in the fall. Their paper also will be published in a special journal featuring the case studies.

The competition required the students to address three areas: an assessment of the impact of the institution’s small business lending efforts on the community, an analysis of how the bank’s small business lending affects financial performance, and an evaluation of the institution’s management of small business lending. They were required to prepare a 25-page report and to submit a 10-minute video highlighting the team’s case study findings.