1027_DNR_Bank Drive Thru_1

Customers utilize the drive-thru lane at F&M Bank on Legacy Lane off of Stone Spring Road on Tuesday.

At least two local bank have noticed increases in deposits, according to Thomas Rea, president of the Bank of the James Shenandoah Valley, and Stephanie Shillingburg, executive vice president and chief banking officer of F&M Bank.

"Despite a declining interest rate environment, total deposits, including total savings, appear to be up compared to last year,” Rea said in an email. “Looking at money market and savings accounts in particular, Bank of the James has seen a $6 million increase in the Harrisonburg market as of June 30 compared to June 30, 2019.  We attribute this to an increase in market share as well as overall deposits being up.”

Savings account balances also increased at F&M Bank, according to Shillingburg.

“Compared to last year we have seen that savings and deposit account balances have increased significantly,” Shillingburg said in an email. “The first half of the year our bank's deposit growth is up 19.4 % over year end 2019.”

Data from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation's second quarter bank report shows local banks aren't alone in seeing upticks in deposits.

"As individuals and businesses sought safety during the uncertain economic environment, banks experienced their second consecutive quarter of over $1 trillion in new deposits, increases that far exceed any deposit growth the FDIC has seen in the past," wrote FDIC chair Jelena McWilliams on Aug. 25.

Part of the increase could have come from the payments from federal government COVID-19 assistance, according to Shillingburg. However, she said a larger cause for the increase in savings could have been caused by local residents' hesitancy to spend money during the pandemic.

Shillingburg said there was an "influx" of applications for loans when the Paycheck Protection Program was first rolled out.

“We also have had a fair number of customers who have asked for payment deferrals due to the change in their employment status, however, we have not seen an increase in the number of consumer loan requests, which would be to cover living expenses,” Shillingburg said.

Rea said local Bank of the James Branches also have not seen an increase in applications for loans to cover everyday expenses.

“We have not seen an uptick in requests for loans such as this,” Rea said. “Historically, banks do not offer loans for monthly expenses and personal loans can be harder to qualify for.”

Bank of the James staff have maintained their hours throughout the pandemic, according to Rea, while also meeting clients in the lobby by appointment and many others via drive-thru service.

"We have a process in place for cleaning between customers and have installed plexiglass to help ensure the safety of both the consumer as well as our employees," Shillingsburg said.

Contact Ian Munro at 574-6278 or imunro@dnronline.com. Follow Ian on Twitter @iamIanMunro

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