Rely on Your Banker, Not Social Media, For the Facts

The Ozarks may seem far removed from most topics covered by national news, until something like a bank failure becomes the headline. As a community bank president, I am aware there are conversations around dinner tables and in coffee shops about what this means for families, the economy, and the reliability of local banks.

First, many people have asked what happened to result in two bank failures over a single weekend. According to the United States Department of Treasury, Federal Reserve, and FDIC, the overall banking system in the United States is resilient, and solid. Both bank failures that occurred during the second weekend of March can be linked to the specific set of circumstances at those banks.

Silicon Valley Bank (SVB), based in Santa Clara, Calif., experienced a boom in deposit growth between 2020 and 2022. This left them with a large amount of money to invest. SVB leadership chose to invest heavily in United States Government Bonds when interest rates were low. These are safe, low-risk assets but they tend to have long terms, which makes it difficult to access money in an emergency. Such an emergency occurred when the Federal Reserve increased interest rates to stabilize the economy and curb inflation.  SVB depositors began to panic as the fears spread via social media channels, withdrawing large sums. This is when regulators stepped in and took action to stabilize the situation.

When news of the SVB collapse broke, customers withdrew billions from New York-based Signature Bank. A run on deposits coupled with the stock value of Signature Bank sinking on the last day of public trading resulted in the second failure. Again, regulators acted to close Signature Bank to protect depositors and stabilize the banking system.
Banks in the Midwest, including West Plains Bank and Trust Company, are in historically safe and sound conditions. Our liquidity and capital is strong, and you can count on having access to your deposits. Our lending and investment portfolios are diverse, and we are subject to rigorous scrutiny.  SVB and Signature Bank were both regulated entities as well, and it can be argued whether some regulator fault should be attributed to the collapse, especially in the case of SVB. 


I cannot emphasize enough that FDIC-insured institutions are the safest places to put your money. No one has ever lost a penny in an FDIC-insured bank account. The community banks in our area are FDIC-insured and all in good operating condition. All of this should leave customers feeling confident and without a feeling of panic. Our banks are safe, and so is your money.

The standard deposit insurance amount is $250,000. This amount is per depositor, per insured bank, for each account ownership category. Anyone who opens a deposit account in an FDIC-insured bank automatically receives coverage, at no additional cost.  Both SVB and Signature Bank had over 90 percent of their deposits as “uninsured deposits,” meaning they were in excess of the FDIC limits.   This level of uninsured deposits is extremely rare, with community banks in the Midwest likely having 80 to 90 percent of their deposits in the “insured” category. 

Since 1883, when our doors first opened to customers, West Plains Bank and Trust Company has successfully weathered changes in the economy and momentous events in history including the World Wars and Great Depression. We are well-positioned to grow and remain strong, standing ready to help our customers achieve their financial goals. Our bankers welcome anyone with questions or banking needs to contact us or visit one of our branches in West Plains, Mountain View, Willow Springs, and Houston, Mo.   Regardless of where you bank, please contact your banker with questions, as opposed to relying on social media.  Social media posts will not provide the correct answers and will only lead to more confusion. 

David M. Gohn, President/Chief Executive Officer
West Plains Bank and Trust Company
West Plains, Mo.


David M. Gohn is the President and CEO for West Plains Bank and Trust Company, a $625 million asset institution headquartered in West Plains, Mo.
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110 W. Main St.,
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