How are small town banks doing now? Yesterday, Sheila Ferrell, VP Cashier of Farmers Exchange Bank, gave me an update on small town banks. She has been with Farmers for 24 years. It’s a terrific little bank in Cherokee, Oklahoma, (population approx. 1600), with a few branches in surrounding towns.
Ferrell stressed that Farmers is not doing the same types of loans as those big banks that are in the news. They do more farm and business loans. But doesn’t that leave them vulnerable to the economy, as it begins to affect the small town businesses? Not yet, and she doesn’t think it will.
“Our loan base is not going to cause a problem,” Ferrell said. “We’ve got the money to lend.”
Lack of population and the usual small town problems are the bigger driver than the larger economy. One of the driving tourist attractions for the area, the Great Salt Plains Crystal Digging Area, has been closed. That’s much more important to the town of Cherokee than the national economic situation.
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Becky started Small Biz Survival in 2006 to share rural business and community building stories and ideas with other small town business people. She and her husband have a small cattle ranch and are lifelong entrepreneurs. Becky is an international speaker on small business and rural topics.