No need for panic, but concerns linger about bank closures

The news about the closure of 28 branches of 1st National Bank of Nevada and First Heritage Bank, some operating in Nevada, was startling.

Since the news was released, we've heard that even people with deposits in banks with similar-sounding names have been making urgent calls to bank officials to find out if they are in danger of losing their money, and that some are even withdrawing their funds from unaffected banks.

Are bank customers in danger of losing their money? The answer, by all available indications, is a definite no.

"All depositors, including those with deposits in excess of the FDIC's insurance limits, will automatically become depositors of Mutual of Omaha Bank for the full amount of their deposits," said the statement announcing the closure.

In other words, there is no reason for depositors of the closed banks, or any others, to panic.

But it is a troubling indicator of our economy, something made clear by the comments of Bill Uffelman of the Nevada Bankers Association, who described the 1st National Bank of Nevada as being in the top half of banks in the state.

We're glad that Gov. Gibbons weighed in on the issue on Friday, even though all he could say based on the information available was that he was monitoring the situation.

We hope he'll be aggressive this week in finding answers to the questions that linger among Nevadans with bank accounts, and in providing assurances. There is already a deficit of confidence when it comes the economy, and the state cannot afford another with banks.

This editorial represents the view of the Nevada Appeal Editorial Board.


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