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ICBA: Majority of U.S. Community Banks Safe and Sound

Washington, D.C. (February 18, 2009)—During these economically challenging times, the Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) wants to reassure banking customers that their deposits are safe in our nation’s more than 8,000 community banks. Even in the current economic climate, the vast majority of community banks remain well-capitalized, because they are common-sense lenders that did not engage in the risky practices that led to this crisis. Community banks stand ready and able to help their local economies and communities recover.

Here’s what community bank customers need to know about the safety and soundness of their community bank:

FACT: The vast majority of our nation’s community banks are strong, safe and stable.
Community bankers are common-sense lenders who didn’t engage in the high-risk activities that led to the problems in the mortgage marketplace and the current financial downturn. Instead, they continue to stick to the longstanding fundamentals of responsible banking and always seek to serve the long-term interests of their customers and communities. Community banks are well-run, well capitalized, tightly regulated and more risk-averse than big banks. In spite of the trouble on Wall Street, community banks remain committed to taking deposits and making loans on Main Street.

FACT: Community bank deposits are FDIC Insured.
The FDIC insures deposits up to $250,000 per depositor and $250,000 for certain retirement accounts. No one has ever lost a penny of FDIC insured funds. If you have more than $250,000 at a community bank, however, you can still be fully insured if your accounts meet certain requirements. For example, accounts owned by a single person are separately insured from joint accounts or retirement accounts owned by that person. Two individuals can each have $250,000 insured in separate accounts with one name each, and have another $500,000 insured in an account that bears both their names. The FDIC has information on its Web site (www.fdic.gov) about how deposit insurance coverage works.

FACT: Community banks continue to grow domestic and insured deposits.
During these times of economic uncertainty, community banks continue to gain customers. According to the most recent FDIC financial reports* for banks under $1 billion in assets, nearly 72 percent saw an increase in domestic deposits and 70 percent saw an increase in insured deposits.

FACT: Community banks continue to lend to their customers.
While some banks have cut back on lending, most community banks continue to lend to their customers in cities and towns throughout America. Community banks provide a stable and reliable source of capital for both commercial and consumer loans, helping small businesses and hard-working Americans borrow and invest in the future.

FACT: Most community banks are poised to survive the economic downturn.
Many factors go into determining whether a bank is viable. No one specific method can successfully determine a bank’s long-term health. Since most community banks have well-diversified loan portfolios, their chances of surviving the economic downturn increase dramatically. That, coupled with sound management, sufficient liquidity and access to programs such as the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), will help community banks weather this economic storm.

For more information, speak with your local community banker or visit www.icba.org.

*Data refers to third-quarter 2008 FDIC financial reports