Commercial banks are still lending to businesses and individuals, according to Houston-based OMNIBANK president and CEO Julie Cripe. She joined in a conference call this week with Treasury Secretary Henry Paulsen.
“It was a very short call, but it was a call with bankers from around the country who serve in some capacity with the American Bankers Association and the board of directors of the American Bankers Association. We had some concerns about parts of the bill, and he really wanted to hear from bankers from around the country and also ask our help in talking on the local level about what is going on and how this really can affect everyone and why we want to get something going.”
Cripe says with most bankers, it’s business as usual. She says Washington is a different world than that of local banks loaning money to small businesses.
“I can’t imagine being in the position he’s in! It would be very difficult, and there’s a lot flying around. It’s different than some of this big money world that we see swirling around up there. So I think it was a good balance for him to hear from around the country saying ‘hey, we’re still, there’s not a credit crunch with all of us,’ when you look at 8500 banks and 99.9 per cent are healthy–more capital than we ever had in the 80’s.”
Cripe says customers have to qualify for loans, but most bankers agree that qualifications have always been important.
Ed Mayberry, KUHF Houston Public Radio News.