By Jack Gurner
WATER VALLEY – While the world’s financial markets and Wall Street are still trying to make sense of the government’s financial rescue package, it’s pretty much business as usual in Yalobusha County.
A check of the FDIC (Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation) website shows that the county’s banking institutions are in very sound financial condition.
“People are asking, ‘How are things? Is there something I need to do? Is my money safe?’ We’re getting a lot more of those questions,” said Cam Tyler, president of Mechanics Bank.
Tyler added that his bank and the community banks with which he is familiar all have plenty of capitol. “We’re going to be here. Your money is protected in addition to the safety of the bank.”
The same holds true at Renasant, according to Bill Taylor, community bank president. “We’re safe and sound and above well capitalized according to regulatory standards.”
“We don’t have any of the securities they are talking about buying and we don’t really borrow money from other banks. So, it is not going to affect us directly,” Taylor said of the bailout.
However, he pointed out that everyone is affected when the economy takes a hit like it did during the recent financial crisis. “We’re not in that boat, but we’re all sailing in the same ocean,” said Taylor.
Kim Wallis, branch manager for Regions, said that her company take a conservative approach to banking and doesn’t offer high-risk mortgages.
According to material provided by Wallis, Regions has strong liquidity and less than one-tenth of one percent of their mortgages fall into the subprime category.
In Coffeeville, William Jeffreys, community bank president for Renasant, said, “We know our bank is safe. The public needs to have faith and not panic.”
Paycheck to Paycheck
Many local banking customers live paycheck to paycheck and the state of the economy affects them. “We are going to go through some pain,” commented Tyler of Mechanics Bank.
However, he added, local banks are able to work with their customers because they are more than just an account number. “We are able to get through the tough times with them.”
Some customers with IRAs that are way down in value could even benefit from the current situation. “If you have ever thought about converting it to a Roth IRA, now is the time,” said Renasant’s Taylor. “Convert it at the lower value, pay tax on the lower value, and then when the market comes back you get all that appreciation tax free.”
Everyone is in agreement that the market will recover. “Be patient,” Tyler said.