A dire prediction from the head of the U.S. Federal Reserve Tuesday - the worst may be yet to come. The warning sent stocks plummeting yet again. The Dow Jones Industrials average fell more than 500 points. The Nasdaq fell more than 100. Ben Bernanke's doom and gloom forecast comes after the feds agreed to buy up short-term debt. He says the financial turmoil is adding to how long we will see a weak economy. Bernanke even hinted another interest rate cut may be in the works.
It only increases fear about our nation's economy, and one industry that's taken a hard hit is banking. We've heard about loan money drying up and some banks going under. But what's the situation when it comes to getting a loan in the Metro? It wasn't long ago we were all concerned about gas prices, but from Monday to Tuesday, they fell below three dollars a gallon in Omaha. It seems like the only positive thing when it comes to our money these days. But bankers in Omaha say there's another silver lining. Omaha's economy isn't getting hit as hard as the rest of the country.
Bankers in Omaha assure us they're not stopping the credit flow like some banks across the country. Mike Pate with United Republic Bank says, "I don't think it's necessarily business as usual, but banks are still lending money in the Midwest and in Omaha particularly. Credit is available." Pate says they're looking closer at loan applicants though. We found the same situation at Great Western Bank. Debbie Cooper with Great Western Bank says, "Like a lot of banks, we have tightened up our underwriting guidelines, but we are still lending money every day."
That even carries over to businesses that really depend on customers getting loans, like Baxter Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge Auto Dealership. General manager Shawn Arkfeld says, "We're not seeing a big change in the credit, we're seeing the biggest change from the banks being more conservative as far as what they're going to loan." With rebates up to $10,000, Arkfeld says enough customers are coming in to keep sales from declining. Right now sales are just flat for this dealership.
Debbie Cooper with Great Western Bank also adds it's really important we keep on top of our credit. Even if you're not looking for a loan, check your credit report once a year to make sure it's accurate. Also, when you're looking for a loan, ask a bank's loan officer as many questions as he or she asks you, so you know who you're dealing with before you sign.
You can get more information on a particular bank at BankRate.com