Despite the recent turmoil, Spokane's banking sector remains strong, with a "simple" business model that is built on trust and community investment. (2023)

May 5 - George Bailey saves his bank from a run by convincing residents to invest their money in their local communities.

Today, regional bankers are channeling their inner Bailey (played by Jimmy Stewart in the iconic movie "It's a Wonderful Life") as a bad business model, with a combination of rising interest rates and panic leading to the second, third and fourth: the largest bank failure in the history of the country.

This fear, coupled with a lack of understanding of banking regulations and safeguards, has led to calling in local banks and has persuaded some to take money from smaller banks and deposit it with larger corporate banks.

That last part drives Greg Deckard, president and CEO of Northwest National Bank, crazy.

"Jimmy Stewart was exactly the model we followed," Deckard said, referring to his portrayal of Bailey in the film, which was released on January 7, 1947.

At the end of the film, members of the fictional Bedford Falls community run to Bailey and try to withdraw their money. Bailey explained that his money is invested in businesses and families, and that they don't get the same benefits as big corporations and community banks.

"Don't you understand what's going on here? Don't you see what's going on?" Bailey says in the film. "Potter is not selling. Potter is buying! Why? Because we are panicking and he is not."

Deckard said he's been getting continuous calls from customers who want to make sure their deposits are safe. Each time, he tried to convince them to keep their funds local.

"I own our bank. We have five generations of clients with us," he said. "We take a long-term view. We always, always, always take the low-risk route instead of looking for growth and return."

Making the big banks bigger won't help the local economy, Deckard said.

"Do you think money is being reinvested in Division Street? It doesn't help that the big banks are getting bigger," he said. "They have different levels of investment in their local communities."

Carla Cicero, president and CEO of Numerica Credit Union, said organizations like the Washington Trust, STCU and hers can look directly at their customers, instead of turning them into one of the millions of New York-based organizations.

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"We care about our members. We care about our community," Cicero said of Numerica's 170,000 members. "This is where we do business, and the health of our financial institutions allows us to serve our customers and give back to our communities.

"If you move to a bigger bank with no local connections," he continued, "it's bad for everyone."

analysis failed

The first recent bank failure occurred on March 10, when Silicon Valley Bank in Santa Clara, California closed. SVB has mainly been described as a "regional" bank in national publications. However, Deckard said that SVB has branches in several states and abroad.

He said he views the Washington Trust, Banner Bank and Wheatland Bank as regional banks that typically belong to the region.

SVB, which he considers a national bank, caters to venture capitalists who lend to startups, including some in Spokane.

However, the bank backs these loans almost entirely by investing in 10-year Treasuries issued by the US government. But early bond buying is at risk when the Fed starts raising rates.

"Regulators fell asleep on the change," Deckard said. “As soon as the venture capitalists found out, they started calling everyone to get their money out of there.”

Two days later, on March 12, New York-based Signature Bank, which mainly caters to cryptocurrency investors, also collapsed as investors became concerned about their holdings and rushed to withdraw funds after the cryptocurrency market crashed. .

Then, on May 1, First Republic Bank of San Francisco closed, and federal regulators allowed JPMorgan to take over its assets.

First Republic's business model is based on serving wealthy clients, like Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, with low-interest loans and mortgages.

"The three of them have something in common," Deckard said. "All of them have grown rapidly in the last three years using exotic business models that rely heavily on undeposited deposits."

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The three banks "mismanaged and suffered the consequences in a rising interest rate environment," he said.

The FDIC guarantees up to $250,000 per deposit. But all three banks rely on customers depositing much more than that amount with their banks.

And in most cases, those deposits are used to buy long-term investments like 10-year Treasuries or 30-year mortgages at extremely low interest rates.

These investments are generally the safest, Deckard explained.

However, if a bank buys 10-year mortgages or 1% Treasuries, those investments are at risk if the Fed decides to raise rates on future loans. If investors or banks are patient, Treasuries and mortgages, even at low interest rates, will eventually pay off.

However, if enough customers decide to withdraw their deposits, banks will be forced to sell long-term bonds and heavily losing mortgages to cover those withdrawals.

"Generally speaking, when (interest rates) go up, portfolio values ​​go down," Deckard said. "If you bought it cheap and rates went up, if you had to sell that bond today, you're in trouble."

"That's exactly what happened with the savings and loan crisis," he continued. "Liability-Asset Mismatch. It's Banking 101."

Between 1986 and 1995, about a third of savings and loan institutions closed. Most had issued low-interest mortgages before, and in 1979 the Federal Reserve began raising interest rates to curb inflation.

In 1996, the US General Accounting Office estimated that the collapse in savings and loans cost US taxpayers some $132 billion.

Grant Forsyth, chief economist at Avista Corp., said the public is frustrated when the government uses federal money to guarantee deposits at the three most recently failed banks or to prop up the savings and loan industry.

"But they intervene for a reason. The system is designed to allow the government to intervene so that there are no bigger crises," Forsyth said, "including the crises that we saw during the Great Depression."

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Neither Deckard nor Forsyth said they saw the same systemic problems in the banking industry, including a reliance on subprime unsecured home loans, which led to the Great Recession in late 2007 that hit Spokane's economy.

"Honestly, I'm not really worried about the systemic banking crises that we've seen in the past," Forsyth said. "I just don't think it's going to get out of hand."

regulatory agency

As interest rates rise, local business officials say it has become more difficult to obtain loans for commercial development and other businesses, such as breweries and restaurants.

Doug Yost, vice president of development and acquisitions for Cowles Real Estate, is developing condos and townhomes at River Landing in Mirabeau, Spokane Valley. He said lending has slowed down recently.

Raising new funds has been "extremely difficult," Yost said. "Banks require more start-up capital and charge higher interest rates."

Yost said local contractors are working on a large number of local projects, most of which were funded before the recent rate increase.

"But some new projects are not moving forward because...interest rates are going up," he said. "It will definitely slow down the project."

No-Li Brewhouse owner John Bryant said he wished anyone trying to get a loan for a new restaurant good luck.

"Banks don't want to lend to breweries or restaurants right now. It's too volatile," Bryant said. "I would say it's a combination of rising debt and fear. Business is driven by emotion. Americans are cutting spending."

The essence of banking is risk management, Forsyth said.

"Taking risks is part of the business," he said. "The question for regulators is how much leeway they give banks to take risk, which is an integral part of a market economy. What is the right balance?"

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Banks don't need more rules, Deckard said. He just wants the current rules to be applied fairly.

Last week, Deckard said he received an autopsy report on the Silicon Valley bank's collapse.

Fed regulators sent notices to the SVB board 31 times warning them of asset-liability imbalances.

"But it never got beyond the attention of the board. No punitive action was taken," Deckard said. "It pissed me off and everyone else in the industry."

He said he would "have to deal with this immediately or face fines and penalties" if Washington state regulators issued a similar warning to his bank's board.

He noted that, until the day of its bankruptcy, Greg Becker, CEO and CEO of Silicon Valley Bank, was also on the board of the San Francisco Fed.

"It doesn't make a difference to me, but it doesn't look good," Deckard said of Becker's double duty. "I cannot stress enough that the regulator was aware of this and did nothing about it."

Deckard said he is required by state regulators to review available funds and liabilities every three months. He also needs to model what would happen to his bank's earnings if the Fed raised rates to 4% or lowered them to 4%.

“I will tell you that the basic business model of banks taking local deposits and lending to local businesses has never been stronger,” he said.

No-Li Brewhouse's Bryant said he's saving money locally for a reason.

"If you go to the big banks, that money goes elsewhere," he said. "My hope is in Spokane. It's a beautiful little town. Every dollar I earn goes back to the community. We want to be a part of giving people hope."

Despite the number of calls, Deckard said most of his clients understand the value of local property and said their deposits have actually increased since the three banks collapsed.

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“For some clients, it is very simple to understand.


What roles did the FDIC and RTC play in trying to resolve the savings and loan problem? ›

The FDIC and the RTC modified basic resolution strategies with an eye toward maintaining public confidence and financial stability, without sacrificing other public-policy objectives. This panel focuses on the issues and strategies that arose in connec- tion with these bank and thrift failures.

What two institutions were most affected by the deregulation of banking in the US that occurred in 1982? ›

The mutual savings banks and thrifts were severely affected by the deregulation of interest rates. Insolvent thrifts were allowed to use brokered deposits to stay in operation and to grow their assets or engage in new activities that could not have been funded through traditional sources.

What two banks failed? ›

Two regional US banks, California-based Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) and New York's Signature Bank, have collapsed under the weight of heavy losses on their bond portfolios and a massive run on deposits.

What other banks are in trouble? ›

List of Recent Failed Banks
Bank NameCityState
First Republic BankSan FranciscoCA
Signature BankNew YorkNY
Silicon Valley BankSanta ClaraCA
5 days ago

How did the New banking Relief Act resolve the banking crisis? ›

Among its major measures, the Act created the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), which began insuring bank accounts at no cost for up to $2,500. 1 Additionally, the president was given executive power to operate independently of the Federal Reserve during times of financial crisis.

What were 3 results of the savings and loan crisis? ›

The crisis resulted in thousands of savings and loan institutions closing and billions of dollars lost, hurting customers and taxpayers. The crisis led to many banking reforms being put in place, but not enough so to avoid another crisis that occurred between 2007–2008, leading to the Great Recession.

What caused the banking crisis? ›

This banking crisis was caused by aggressive interest rate hikes by the US Federal Reserve. The increase in interest rates led to huge losses on the portfolios of government bonds held by US banks.

What was the primary objective of Congress when they moved to deregulate the banking industry? ›

More- over, proponents of continued deregulation did not see 1982 as the end of that process, and continued to press for congressional action; their main objectives were to repeal Glass- Steagall and expand the powers of banks.

Did banking deregulation cause the financial crisis? ›

The Bottom Line

Deregulation in the financial industry was the primary cause of the 2008 financial crash. It allowed speculation on derivatives backed by cheap, wantonly-issued mortgages, available to even those with questionable creditworthiness.

What is the biggest bank failure? ›

Most were small or midsize regional banks and were absorbed into other institutions, a common outcome for banks that have been put under government control. Washington Mutual, which was heavily involved in risky mortgages and became the largest bank to fail in U.S. history, was sold to JPMorgan Chase.

What is the most famous bank failure? ›

Here are the seven largest bank failures
Bank nameBank failure dateAssets*
Silicon Valley BankMarch 10, 2023$209 billion**
Signature BankMarch 12, 2023$110 billion**
IndyMac Bank, F.S.B.July 11, 2008$31 billion
Colonial BankAug. 14, 2009$26 billion
3 more rows
May 1, 2023

What was controversial about the 2nd bank of the United States? ›

From its inception, the Second Bank of the United States was mired in controversy. Some of its directors violated expected norms and regulations by illegally issuing unsecured loans to themselves.

What is the biggest risk facing banks today? ›

The three largest risks banks take are credit risk, market risk and operational risk.

What will replace banks? ›

These alternative models include prepaid cards, non-bank lending, and leveraging existing networks like mobile telephony to transfer value. The ubiquity of smartphones and digital transactions has widened and broadened the competitive playing field of companies that are capable of providing financial services.

What are the three banks that failed? ›

United States
  • Liquidation of Silvergate Bank.
  • Collapse of Silicon Valley Bank.
  • Collapse of Signature Bank.
  • Collapse of First Republic Bank.
  • Federal response.
  • Aftermath of bank failures.

What banks are shutting down in 2023? ›

2023 bank failures

First Republic Bank, Silicon Valley Bank, and Signature Bank have all shut down in 2023.

Which banks are in trouble in 2023? ›

By the numbers: The three banks that failed this year — Silicon Valley Bank (SVB), First Republic Bank (FRB) and Signature Bank — accounted for 2.4% of all assets in the banking sector.

What reform improved the banking system in the United States? ›

The Banking Act of 1935 gave the Board of Governors control over other tools of monetary policy. The act authorized the Board to set reserve requirements and interest rates for deposits at member banks. The act also provided the Board with additional authority over discount rates in each Federal Reserve district.

What was the major economic factor that caused the savings and loan crisis? ›

Inflation rates and interest rates both rose dramatically in the late 1970s and early 1980s. This produced two problems for S&Ls.

What were two causes of the financial crisis? ›

US house prices fell, borrowers missed repayments

The catalysts for the GFC were falling US house prices and a rising number of borrowers unable to repay their loans.

What happened to banks after the financial crisis? ›

A number of banks went under, others had to be bailed out by governments and still others were forced into mergers with stronger partners. The common stocks of banks got crushed, their preferred stocks were also crushed, dividends were slashed and lots of investors lost part or all of their money.

What was created to prevent banking crisis? ›

The Glass-Steagall Banking Act stabilized the banks, reducing bank failures from over 4,000 in 1933 to 61 in 1934. To protect depositors, the Act created the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), which still insures individual bank accounts.

What caused the financial crisis and when and why it ended? ›

The analysis shows that the financial crisis was caused by a large reduction in mortgage lending standards which was primarily due to Congresses' mandate to increase homeownership. The paper provides evidence that the financial crisis was abating by January 2009 and ended when the recession ended in June 2009.

What is a bank run and how did it lead to the banking crisis? ›

What Is Meant by a Run on the Bank? This happens when people try to withdraw all of their funds for fear of a bank collapse. When this is done simultaneously by many depositors, the bank can run out of cash, causing it to become insolvent.

What are the two strategies that Congress has put into place to protect against bank runs? ›

To protect against bank runs, Congress has put two strategies into place: deposit insurance and the lender of last resort. Deposit insurance is an insurance system that makes sure depositors in a bank do not lose their money, even if the bank goes bankrupt.

Does deregulation help the economy? ›

Deregulation lowers costs of operations, allows more businesses to enter a market, and lowers prices for consumers. These factors can help stimulate efficiency and lead to increased economic growth.

Why did the US government decide to regulate banks? ›

It was created by the Congress to provide the nation with a safer, more flexible, and more stable monetary and financial system. The Federal Reserve was created on December 23, 1913, when President Woodrow Wilson signed the Federal Reserve Act into law.

How does banking crisis affect the economy? ›

Between the lines: Businesses would have a more difficult time accessing the cash necessary to hire more workers or spend on new equipment needed to expand the business. Consumers, too, might have a more difficult time getting a loan.

How did the banking crisis cause the Great Depression? ›

The monetary contraction, as well as the financial chaos associated with the failure of large numbers of banks, caused the economy to collapse. Less money and increased borrowing costs reduced spending on goods and services, which caused firms to cut back on production, cut prices and lay off workers.

Why did the banking crisis lead to the Great Recession? ›

Loose lending standards in the housing market

To capitalize on the boom, mortgage lenders rushed to approve as many home loans as they could, including to borrowers with less-than-deal credit. These risky loans, called subprime mortgages, would later become one of the main causes of the Great Recession.

Is the banking crisis over? ›

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell indicated Wednesday that the period of bank failures that have rattled markets and the economy has come to an end.

What is the biggest bank failure in USA? ›

First Republic Joins List of Biggest-Ever Bank Failures. First Republic's $229 billion of assets as of April 13 slots it just behind Washington Mutual Inc., which imploded in 2008 with $307 billion in such holdings and total deposits of $188 billion.

Why are American banks failing? ›

There are a number of reasons for that: the business models of the banks concerned; failures of regulation; the large number of small and mid-sized banks in the US; and the rapid increase in interest rates from the country's central bank, the Federal Reserve.

What major banks have collapsed? ›

List of largest bank failures in the United States
BankCityAssets at time of failure
Inflation-adjusted (2022)
Silicon Valley BankSanta Clara$209 billion
Signature BankNew York$118 billion
Continental Illinois National Bank and TrustChicago$113 billion
76 more rows

What are the two bank failures in 2023? ›

Bank Failures in 2023 – SVB, Signature Bank, First Republic Bank. The recent failures of banks such as Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) and Signature Bank may raise concerns about the stability of the real estate industry, particularly in terms of lending.

How often do banks collapse? ›

This slowed significantly from 2015 to 2020, when the U.S. saw an average of fewer than five bank failures per year. Zero banks failed in both 2021 and 2022.

What president opposed the Second Bank of the United States and worked against it? ›

President Andrew Jackson announces that the government will no longer use the Second Bank of the United States, the country's national bank, on September 10, 1833. He then used his executive power to remove all federal funds from the bank, in the final salvo of what is referred to as the “Bank War."

Was the Bank of the United States good or bad? ›

It helped fund the public debt left from the American Revolution, facilitated the issuance of a stable national currency, and provided a convenient means of exchange for all the people of the United States.

What president opposed the Second Bank of the United States? ›

On July l0, 1832, President Andrew Jackson sent a message to the United States Senate. He returned unsigned, with his objections, a bill that extended the charter of the Second Bank of the United States, due to expire in 1836, for another fifteen years.

What role does the FDIC play in ensuring your money in a bank? ›

The FDIC protects the money depositors place in insured banks in the unlikely event of an insured-bank failure.

What role does the FDIC play in ensuring financial institutions? ›

Insures deposits, Examines and supervises financial institutions for safety and soundness and consumer protection, Works to make large and complex financial institutions resolvable, and. Manages receiverships.

What role does the FDIC play in banking? ›

To accomplish this mission, the FDIC insures deposits; examines and supervises financial institutions for safety, soundness, and consumer protection; makes large and complex financial institutions resolvable; and manages receiverships.

How did the FDIC help solve the problems of the Great Depression? ›

The FDIC handled 370 bank failures from 1934 through 1941. Most of these were small banks. Without the presence of federal deposit insurance, the number of bank failures undoubtedly would have been greater and the bank population would have been reduced.

Who does FDIC protect and regulate? ›

In addition to its role as insurer, the FDIC is the primary federal regulator of federally insured state-chartered banks that are not members of the Federal Reserve System. The FDIC carries out its mission through three major programs: insurance, supervision, and receivership management.

What is the FDIC primary purpose exception? ›

SUMMARY: The FDIC is identifying an additional business relationship, or “designated exception,” that meets the “primary purpose” exception to the deposit broker definition. The business relationship relates to specific, non-discretionary custodial services offered by third parties to depositors or depositors' agents.

What does the government do to prevent bank failure? ›

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, or the FDIC, has guaranteed deposits — up to certain thresholds — at American banks since the early days of the New Deal in 1933. The agency's operations are designed to reassure depositors that their money is safe in the nation's banking system.

What was one purpose of the FDIC was to maintain financial stability? ›

Program Description. Deposit insurance is a fundamental component of the FDIC's role in maintaining stability and public confidence in the U.S. financial system. By promoting industry and consumer awareness of deposit insurance, the FDIC protects deposits at banks and savings associations of all sizes.

What does the FDIC try to prevent? ›

The FDIC provides resources to educate and protect consumers, while working to revitalize communities. These resources provide practical guidance on how to become a better user of financial services, make informed financial decisions, and protect against financial scams and fraud.

What are the three ways the FDIC can take over a bank? ›

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN THE FDIC TAKES OVER. As 60 Minutes reported in 2009, there are three ways the FDIC can take over a bank: It can close it and pay off depositors; run the bank itself; or try to find a buyer.

Who does the FDIC benefit? ›

The FDIC protects depositors of insured banks located in the United States against the loss of their deposits if an insured bank fails. Any person or entity can have FDIC insurance coverage in an insured bank. A person does not have to be a U.S. citizen or resident to have his or her deposits insured by the FDIC.

What are the major functions performed by the FDIC quizlet? ›

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) is an independent federal agency insuring deposits in U.S. banks and thrifts in the event of bank failures.

How was the FDIC successful? ›

The FDIC handled 370 bank failures from 1934 through 1941, an average of more than 50 per year. Most of these were small banks. Without the presence of federal deposit insurance, the number of bank failures undoubtedly would have been greater and the bank population would have been reduced.

Can the government take money from your bank account in a crisis? ›

So, can the government take money out of your bank account? The answer is yes – sort of. While the government may not be the one directly taking the money out of someone's account, they can permit an employer or financial institution to do so.

Is my money safe in the bank during a depression? ›

If you have money in a checking, saving or other depository account, it is protected from financial downturns by the FDIC. Beyond that, investment products are more exposed to risk, but you can still take some steps to protect yourself.

Was the FDIC really effective? ›

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation protects depositors' insured money and helps to keep the financial system running as a whole. The best evidence of the agency's effectiveness is its record — no depositor has lost a penny of their insured deposits since the FDIC was formed in 1933.


1. 2022.10.24 Strategic Planning Meeting
(Spokane County)
2. KREM 2 News Week in Review | Spokane News headlines for the week of May 8
(KREM 2 News)
3. 2020.10.26 Executive Cabinet Meeting
(Spokane County)
4. May 1st, 2023 Spokane City Council Meeting
5. 2023.02.21 Strategic Planning Meeting
(Spokane County)
6. May 10th, 2023 Spokane City Plan Commission Meeting


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