Small, locally owned banks say customers are flowing in

October 1, 2008 

Chris Courtney can see the effects of big bank failures from his office overlooking the busiest intersection in Oakdale.

Residents literally have walked out of Washington Mutual with cashier's checks in hand, crossed the street and opened accounts at Oak Valley Community Bank.

"We've had a net inflow of deposits," said Courtney, president of Oak Valley Community Bank.

Courtney and other officials at community banks in the Northern San Joaquin Valley have seen money flow into their vaults over the past few days, but, like Courtney, they prefer not to speculate why.

"We're just starting to track it," said Thomas Smith of Merced-based County Bank.

"I wouldn't be surprised if they are seeing more deposits from customers leaving big banks like Washington Mutual," said Jeff Michael, the director of the University of the Pacific's Business Forecasting Center.

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