Credit Union CEO Talks About The Nation's Financial Turmoil

By Sylvia Hall - bio | email

PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - Lara Leigh Curry is usually more concerned with putting dinner on the table than what's happening on Wall Street. But like many South Mississippians, she's paying attention as our national economy unravels.

"All of these big insurance companies are failing, right and left. It's scary," she said.

Navigator Credit Union President and CEO Laurin Avara says it's okay to be concerned. He says the country's economic problems are too complicated to easily simplify, and it's too early to know how big an impact it will have.

"I don't think we know yet the full extent of this subprime mess and full extent to which it will affect various sectors of our society," he said.

Wachovia Bank is just the latest victim. The bank's failure is a clear sign of economic trouble, but it's difficult to know how to respond. Some of Curry's friends are going to the extreme.

"They're pulling their money out of the bank, and hiding it in their home," she said. "I don't know if that's very safe. But at the same time, all the financial institutions are crashing."

Avara warns against pulling money out of banks and credit unions. Money in credit unions and banks is insured by the federal government.  He says instead of pulling money out of banks, South Mississippians should pay attention to the crisis.

"We need to be informed, we need to do whatever things we need to do to assess our own personal risks. But the last thing we need to do is to go start pulling money out of banks and credit unions," he said.

He also suggests that concerned families meet with a financial planner to discuss their assets.  He adds that many banks and credit unions in South Mississippi are doing better than the troubled national institutions.

"We do business the old conservative way, and that has led to perhaps not as much profit as some of these large groups, but also much fewer losses," he said about Navigator.

He is hopeful that the entire nation will pull through as well.

"We can look for opportunities in this. We will rebound. The resiliency of the American people will pull us out of this," he said.