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One of the problems with only doing this newsletter once-a-month is that when something really big happens at the beginning of last month, I have to sometimes wait weeks before I can connect with all of you via JTTW. Such was the case last month, when the banking world was rocked by the failures of California-based Silicon Valley Bank and New York-based Signature Bank. On the Monday following the news, I received dozens of calls from customers wanting to know if their money was safe and I am proud and extremely grateful to say that we didn’t have one single customer come into the bank and withdraw any funds from their accounts. If there has ever been an event that truly encapsulated what small-town community banking is all about, this was it, and it gave all of us here at Malvern Bank the opportunity to connect with our customers and explain to them the differences between the failed banks and this bank. The primary differences?? Our depositor base is extremely stable and very loyal; our loan portfolio is very diverse, which lessens the likelihood that a downturn in the economy will adversely impact multiple segments of the loan portfolio. But most of all, unlike the failed banks, we don’t lock into long-term interest rates. Why?? Because, as we’ve seen over the past 12 months, you just never know when rates are going to spike, and I don’t want to get caught with a loan portfolio of long-term, fixed-rate loans when it happens. The bottom line is this: community banking is the strongest it’s been in decades and I’m extremely bullish on what the future holds for community banks in general, but even more bullish for what the future holds for Malvern Bank in particular. We continue to attract new deposit and loan customers on a daily basis, and yours truly has finally come to the realization that it’s okay to let the next generation flex their muscles in how the bank needs to operate. Granted, you still need to call me if you have any questions because it makes me feel needed, but just know that I’ll get you hooked-up with somebody who will actually be able to answer your questions in a timely manner.

Anybody want to talk a little basketball?? Man, what a crazy couple weeks!! Let’s start with what I’m guessing will be the hot topic at most water coolers tomorrow (Monday, April 3rd) and that is the Iowa/LSU game and the officiating that took place. Full disclosure – I am a very casual Iowa fan in every sport. I watch them, but I have no emotional connection so I’m probably the perfect person to be objective when discussing what took place in that game. First, the technical foul. Ridiculous. You cannot make that call, and you most certainly cannot make that call in the national championship game and against the player that every viewer outside of Louisiana was tuning in to watch. Now listen, that call didn’t decide the game, but it was a microcosm of how that game was called, which favored a deeper LSU team. You should never be talking about the refs after a game!! Which brings me to…. The Creighton/San Diego State Elite 8 game. That game, like the Iowa women’s game, featured an extremely controversial call that, unlike the Iowa game, did have a direct effect on the outcome of the game. Again, full disclosure: I am a huge Creighton fan and probably not the best person to give an objective opinion on the so-called foul. All I’m going to say is this…early in that game the refs established that they were going to let the teams play physical. Want some data to back that up?? There were four Elite 8 games…the CU/SDSU game had 22 total fouls. The other three games?? 37, 30, and 39 fouls. And what about total free throws?? The CU/SDSU game had 17 total free-throws, while the other three games had 47, 36, and 40 respectively. You can’t call a touch foul with 1 second left and the game tied with a trip to the Final Four on the line if you didn’t make that same call in the first 39 minutes of the game. Period.

Just in case you haven’t found a reason to smile yet today…back in 2005, my then-girlfriend and current better-half Jessie and I were in Arizona and she took me to visit two of her grandma’s friends, Bob and Lucille. At that time, Lucille was 92 and Bob was 84. Fast forward to last week, when Lucille had her 110th birthday. And who was there to celebrate with her?? Yep, Bob…he’s now 102. And in case you’re wondering…they still live alone.

And finally…If you’ll remember, a couple months ago I talked about the car wash ‘episode’ where for some unknown reason I found it necessary to wave to a robot. Well, old age reared its ugly head again last week, and again it occurred while I was in my pickup. I know that I have a few readers who aren’t from around these parts, but I have to assume that 99.9 percent of you have driven from Omaha to Malvern, and as you all know, when you exit off of I-29, there is about a quarter-mile stretch where you are running parallel to the interstate and then you hit the right-hand corner that merges you onto Highway 34. Pretty simple stuff, right?? Well, and again for reasons that I still can’t comprehend, I put my blinker on just as I was under the overpass apparently so the vehicle behind me would know that I was all in on that tricky right-hander that was coming up. Keep in mind…there is no left option here unless you’re planning on doing some sort of Dukes of Hazzard move to get back on the interstate. And, like the car wash incident, I was really hoping that the car behind wasn’t paying attention, but just in case, when that car passed me on highway 34 I looked away as if I was talking to my invisible passenger. Good grief…

Until Next time…


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