Local Economy Remains Strong Despite National Concerns

Richard Ware, Amarillo National Bank.
Richard Ware, Amarillo National Bank.

The national economy appears to have an unsure future, but the area economy is continuing to grow.

Local banks say the government bailout won't affect them, and the Panhandles are not seeing any economic problems.

Some local experts say Amarillo is in a bubble, because most national problems just don't exist here.

Two of the largest banks in the Panhandle, Happy State Bank and Amarillo National Bank, say they have less than two foreclosures between them.

And the best thing keeping Amarillo's economy growing is the diversity of different industries.

From agriculture, to corporate businesses like Pantex or Bell Helicopters, and the strong medical industry, the local economy can support itself.

"It's all spread out so if one goes down the others can keep the economy steady," said Richard Ware, the President of Amarillo National Bank.

Ware says the oil industry boom recently has helped local banks.

J. Pat Hickman with Happy State Bank says the commodity prices for agriculture are keeping the economy strong because farmers are being paid more for their crops.

This just proves the balance of industries helps everyone.

But it's not just business, Ware says the consumer help too.

"People pay their bills here. They work hard, there really are ethical values. East and West Coasts don't have that," said Ware.

He Emphasized that while growth may be down from past years, there is still growth.

And where there's growth, there is a strong, sustainable economy in the Panhandle.