Signs Point To The Worst Being Over For Local Economy

Richard Ware, President, ANB
Richard Ware, President, ANB

There are signs the very worst of the economic downturn may be in the past for those of us in the Panhandle region.

We spoke with representatives of several banks around Amarillo and all report their earnings are up from this time last year, despite the steep downturn of the last few months.

But Amarillo National Bank President Richard Ware warns the city's economy is not out of the woods just yet.

Ware says, "our leading index turned positive for the first time since last July, but it still looks like we may bounce along at this level for a while."

Ware says the mistakes of bigger banks around the nation are what local banks are now paying for.

For example, insurance premiums Amarillo National pays into the FDIC have gone up ten fold since last year to cover the cost of failed banks.

And eventually, that cost may have to be passed on to customers through higher borrowing rates and fees.

J. Pat Hickman of Happy State Bank says in some areas, paperwork has gone up significantly because of increased federal scrutiny.