Too tough to die: Heartland residents reflect on bank's failure
Bloomfield, Iowa —
Too tough to die.
It's a slogan the City of Bloomfield used during its most trying time.
"That just kind of became the theme around here and we just got through it," said Davis County Development Executive Director John Schroeder.
More than 30 years have passed since the Exchange Bank, owned by Peter Burchette and Nan Cameron went under.
The family-owned bank was not FDIC insured.
When it failed, $17 million in deposits disappeared overnight
"It was family members, it was friends, it was all accountholders, and being in a small community, you know all of your customers, so that's what made it so very tough on everybody," said former Exchange Bank employee Barry Smith.
"I had a good friend that had just sold his cows and had just put his money in the bank to make his farm payment for the whole year and it was gone," Schroeder said.
Schroeder, who owned a Ford dealership at the time, told KTVO a few customers were ready to hand over their keys.
"I had customers who had money in the bank, were not able to make payments on their bills and their cars and stuff," Schroeder said.
Against all odds, Bloomfield stayed afloat.
"People from Davis County are very resilient and they look for solutions, not pointing fingers and to me, that's how they survived the whole situation," Smith said.
It was one person helping the other.
Including Schroeder, who remembers helping a customer make her car payment.
"The dealership paid the payment for her,” Schroeder said. “Two months later, she walked in, paid me back. That's why I love this place."
That's how Bloomfield managed to rebuild itself.
"People just kind of banned together and got it done,” Schroeder said. “It was an interesting time."
And the city is still aggressively moving forward.
"I want us to stay on that track and that's what we're trying to do,” said Bloomfield Mayor Chris Miller. “We're trying to make a name for ourselves here in Bloomfield, we take a lot of pride in living here."
Right now, the community is making improvements to the downtown, school district, industrial park, library, jail, and it's hoping to become energy independent within the next 15 years.
Even a young entrepreneur with success across the globe wants to see the town thrive.
"I’ve always kind of had a yearning or a pull to come back and do the things that I’ve done internationally and apply all the things that I’ve learned in doing business domestically and internationally to bring home jobs," said JAGID Management CEO Jake Williams.
For many, the bank's failure is a sore subject.
But Bloomfield resident Dan Hutchings thinks the bank is an important part of the town's history
Hutchings, was an accountholder with the Exchange Bank and even he doesn't have hard feelings.
"There was such a contact between my family and the Burchette family and I just felt a responsibility, an obligation to try to maintain and preserve a little bit of history and to show the good that the Burchette family did for the community and through the Exchange Bank,” Hutchings said.