Bankers seemed to have plenty to worry about before the drought.
The chairman and the chairman-elect of the Nebraska Bankers Association says that as strong as the state economy is, it could be stronger if Congress and the president could eliminate some uncertainty and if the housing market can continue its come-back.
Chairman Clark Lehr with the First Nebraska Bank in Columbus says the main worry for bankers, other than the lack of rain, is uncertainty about federal economic policy.
“I think everybody has become more cautious, because they’re just not quite sure what the outcomes going to be and uncertainty causes that,” Lehr tells Nebraska Radio Network affiliate WJAG.
Lehr says Washington has created a lot of uncertainty about the Farm Bill, whether the tax code will change and what impact the federal healthcare law will have on small businesses. The impact of the drought on the state economy is uncertain.
Nebraska Bankers Association Chairman John Steinner with Valley Bank and Trust of Gering-Scottsbluff says the housing market in the Panhandle has finally stabilized and is starting to grow again.
“We’re seeing refi’s (refinancing), we’re seeing first-time homebuyers coming in,” Steinner says. “Of course, we’re limited now more to the conventional side of the mortgage.”
Steinner says stricter federal regulations have made for a more conservative lending environment. A convention mortgage requires the buyer to put 20% down to finance the remaining 80% of the purchase price.
By Jim Curry, WJAG