News From Terre Haute, Indiana

February 12, 2013

Vigo’s interest income earnings continue to decline

Howard Greninger
The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — Interest income earned from short-term investments is at its lowest level in five years, according to the annual report of the Vigo County Board of Finance.

Vigo County earned $136,474 from certificate of deposits, NOW (Negotiable Order of Withdraw) accounts and money market accounts, reported Vigo County Treasurer Jim Bramble.

“That shows that short-term interest rates are way down. The county in 2007 earned $3,451,776 in interest, and that interest income has gone down every year since,” Bramble said. The county earned $200,272 in 2011.

In 2012, Vigo County earned just over $85,871 in interest from NOW Accounts; just over $50,594 from CDs; and $7.92 from a money market account.

The county’s seven-year total, from 2006 to 2012, in interest earnings is $9,286,432. That interest has been used as revenue to offset the need for additional taxes.

While the county is restricted to certain investments, Bramble said he would like to consolidate the number of banks in which the county invests. The county has short-term investments in seven banks.

“I want to consolidate our banking operations,” Bramble said. “We have money spread throughout seven banks and I think it would be operationally more efficient to cut back on that,” he said.

The county is no longer required to divide investments among all the depositories in the county based on their total assets. “Just doing bank reconciliation would be a whole lot easier working with one or two banks,” Bramble said.

As of Dec. 31 last year, First Financial Bank had more than $3.3 million on deposit. The county’s payroll is paid from that bank. Old National Bank had more than $49.2 million. That bank collects and deposits property tax payments.

Other short-term investment totals as of Dec. 31 include Fifth Third Bank with more than $3.9 million; Terre Haute Savings Bank with more than $12.4 million; Harris Bank with more than $1.4 million; Regions Bank with more than $559,000; and Riddell Bank with more than $218,000.

Pat Raltson, a representative of First Financial, told the board the county “is now fortunate to have two CPAs (certified public accounts), two quality people working for the county,” he said, referring to Bramble and Vigo County Auditor Tim Seprodi.

Howard Greninger can be reached at 812-231-4204 or by email at howard.