Emily H. Womach, president of The Women's National Bank, said yesterday that although the bank faces a leveling off of deposits, possible banking deregulation, and anti-inflationary credit-tightening policies, the fledgling institution will be able to adjust.
"We are optimistic about the bank's future and anticipate new opportunities for growth and earnings in 1980," Womach told the bank's shareholders at its second annual shareholder's meeting. "We look for continued high rates of inflation and commensurate high levels of interest rates for the immediate future. We are concerned that inflation is now not only a major problem to our country, but is rapidly becoming a worldwide threat."
Womach added that the bank "is in a good position to adjust to all the changing rules and regulations concerning financial institutions which currently are being discussed and adopted in Congress . . . While this will create a very challenging banking climate, we feel we can compete, and we feel that personalized banking service will still make the difference to our present and potential customers."
Some of those proposed regulations would phase out interest rate controls on deposits in banks and thrifts and allow savings and loans to invest in consumer loans, commercial paper and corporate debt.
"We're sort of waiting to see what will happen," Womach said, referring to the proposed legislation. Because her bank is relatively new -- 19 months old -- Womach said the institution sould have the flexibility to adjust. "We would compete just like we do with other commercial banks."
One shareholder asked whether the credit-tightened climate has affected the bank in terms of more bad debt.
Womach replied she has "seen a little bit more. But the biggest change has been the change in growth, a slowdown in growth of deposits."
Womach said after the meeting that the slowdown in growth "is normal for a bank when it reaches this age because you do sort of level off."
Last year, its first full calendar year of operation, the bank's net income was $74,240 (74 cents a share). Womach complained, however, that while the bank didn't have to pay any federal income tax, it was required to pay a D.C. Gross Receipts Tax of $24,000, or 32 percent of the bank's net income.
"This tax seems very unfair because it is levied only on banks and is written so a bank could actually operate at a loss and still have to pay a large tax to the D.C. government," Womach said.
After paying the D.C. tax, the bank's profit was $50,240 (50 cents a share).
"While we will not be in a position to pay any dividends for some time to come," Womach said, "we are proud that the bank is showing this profitability after only 19 months of operation."
Womach also said the bank was having problems receiving profitable government accounts, business it has qualified for as a minority bank. Last August, 11 of 26 federal agencies had requested to use the Women's Bank as a depository for their aggregate deposits of $140.6 million, Womach said.
But, she added, after the "oohs" and "aahhs" of the shareholders died down, that the money would be turned over immediately for credit to the Federal Reserve when deposited. "In other words, we would have no use of these funds and they could prove to be costly to us."
Womach said the bank is negotiating with the Treasury Department for "an equitable compensation formula" for handling the accounts.