How to make sure your money is safe amid bank failures

PITTSBURGH — Channel 11 is always looking out for your money. With the recent bank failures, we went to the experts to figure out the best ways to protect your financial future.

Channel 11 Morning News Anchor Katherine Amenta explains the simple things families can consider doing and the roadblocks to look out for.

“I don’t feel good about the banking situation. I feel better about my situation,” said B.J. Miller, who buys gold and silver.

B.J. Miller says he has a plan. The Pittsburgh area resident told me even though March’s collapse of “Silicon Valley Bank” set off financial panic around the world, he’s confident in how he protects his money.

While part of his strategy involves gold and silver, we spoke to the experts about what else you can do.

“Most people don’t need to worry at all if you don’t have more than $250,000 in your bank,” said Leming Lin, associate professor of finance at the University of Pittsburgh.

I sat down with Leming Lin, associate professor of finance at Pitt. He said to start with the basics and make sure your bank is FDIC insured. That means if your bank should fail, the federal government insures up to $250,000 per depositor. Financial experts say you can maximize that protection. If you’re married, you can actually get $1 million of FDIC coverage, by having a personal bank account in your name, a personal bank account in your spouse’s name, and then a joint bank account.

However, Lin says, he’s a little more concerned about the long-term health of smaller regional banks, especially if you’re trying to open a small business. Lin says some people are starting to take their money out of regional banks, thinking it will be safer in banks that may be thought of as “too big to fail.” Eventually, the smaller bank may not be able to fully function.

“If they don’t have enough deposits to fund their loans, they might have trouble providing loans to these small businesses,” said Lin.

Or, they’ll be more expensive.

In terms of diversifying your savings, gold and silver prices surged after the “Silicon Valley” collapse. Eddie Lowy owns the “Banner Coin Exchange” in Downtown Pittsburgh. He says more customers are coming in, looking for that financial safe haven. But, he warns it’s something you buy with your savings, not the money you need for daily expenses. One customer learned that the hard way.

“You have to look at this from a long-term perspective,” said Lowy. “And when I say long term, I’m talking a year to five years...this guy came back one week later and said, I’ need to sell the coins to you.’”

BJ Miller says the key is to start small and go in prepared.

“A little bit of research and it’ll put you in a great spot,” said Miller.

We reached out to the “American Bankers Association” for their take on the health of small banks. They said:

“Banking flows have normalized, with deposits rising, for both small and large institutions. Every American should know that the safest place for their money is in a bank.”

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