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Vestal: Small Banks Have Upside

Randy Fewel’s an awfully nice guy. For a banker. Actually, Fewel seems like an awfully nice guy for a guy. A person. A human being. Fewel, the president and CEO of Inland Northwest Bank, got in touch with me not long ago, after I’d written a column encouraging people to take their money out of banks and take it to credit unions. I engaged in a little bank-bashing, which is a popular – and I think, on balance, fair – pastime these days, given what some of our large financial institutions have done to the economy and the price they have not paid for it. Fewel didn’t necessarily take issue with what I said about big banks. But he made an excellent case that I’d given small, community banks short shrift/Shawn Vestal, SR. More here. (SR photo: Christopher Anderson)

Question: Do you keep your money in a big, national bank? A small community bank? A credit union? Why?

Northwest Bancorporation returns to profitability

Northwest Bancorporation Thursday reported its first profitable quarter in more than a year.

The parent of Inland Northwest Bank earned $586,000 in the quarter ended March 31, a reversal from a loss of $256,000 for the first quarter of 2009. After allowing for preferred stock dividends and other adjustments, the gain per common share was 17 cents, compared with a 14-cent loss in the 2009 quarter.

Revenues for the quarter increased almost 16 percent, to $4.6 million, compared with 2009.

President Randall Fewel noted the bank benefited from an increase in interest margins to 4.04 percent, and improving non-interest income on average assets.

As of March 31, the bank had assets of $398.2 million, up for the year but one percent below March 2009 levels.

The bank has improved its “Texas Ratio,” a measure of credit soundness, from 36 percent to 27 percent, Fewel said, adding that the average ratio for banks headquartered in Washington was 100 percent.