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ICBA Statement on Safety and Soundness of the Nation’s Community Banks

Washington, D.C. (September 19, 2008)—Cynthia Blankenship, chairman of the Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA), and vice chairman and chief operating officer of Bank of the West, Grapevine, Tex. and Camden Fine, ICBA president and CEO, issued the following joint statement on the safety and soundness of community banks:

"These are challenging times for our nation's economy and financial system. We have seen the forced acquisition or failure of several of the largest Wall Street financial firms over the past two weeks. However, these challenges are primarily taking place on Wall Street not Main Street. The reality is there are more than 8,400 banks in this country and only a tiny percentage of those are under severe stress. Even if a bank fails, insured deposits are safe in an FDIC insured institution. Not one depositor has ever lost a penny of an insured deposit.

"The vast majority of community banks have been and continue to be the safest and strongest financial institutions in our nation's financial system. Most community banks are solid because they follow responsible business practices. Community banks are generally risk averse; they are sensible businesses that work everyday to support their customers, communities and local markets.

"Our nation has weathered turbulent times in the past and we've persevered to come back better and stronger. Through it all, community banks have been serving their customers and helping them build secure financial futures on Main Streets across this great nation. Community banks have endured since the founding of our nation, and will continue serving countless generations of Americans in the future."