LETU to Host Conference on Banking Crisis
Thu, Oct 16 2008
LeTourneau University is hosting a day-long conference from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday, Nov. 14 on
the crises in credit and banking, in light of recent financial institution bail-outs. Keynote
speaker Terry Smith, Ph.D., is the president of the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas who will share
the perspective of the Federal Home Loan Bank on the issue of the current financial crisis.
Other conference speakers will discuss the roots of the current financial crisis, the effects
of the crisis on banks in the local East Texas region, the credit impact of the financial market
crisis on investors and will provide informed advice for people who are concerned about their
retirement accounts, according to LETU economics professor and conference organizer Juan Castro,
The conference begins at 8:30 a.m. in Room 120 of the Education Building on the university’s
main campus, 2100 S. Mobberly Ave. in Longview. Cost is $50 per person, with lunch included.
Student admission is $30. Registration is available online at
calling Emily Walton at (903) 233-4090. Deadline for registration is Nov. 11.
“People need to learn about the current financial crisis and find answers to their potential
present and future financial problems,” Castro said. “Americans have lost as much as $2 trillion in
the past 15 months from their retirement plans. Nearly 1.3 million housing properties across the
nation were subject to foreclosure last year. The subprime mortgage crisis is an ongoing economic
problem affecting the entire economy. Loan defaults and foreclosures have increased dramatically.
“People are concerned about their bank deposits, credit to get loans and the price of their
mortgages,” Castro said. “At the same time, large investment companies that purchased these
securitized bad loans have been affected, and these investment banks also hold many retirement
plans and mutual funds, affecting the retirement portfolio of millions of people. Everybody is
being affected by these crises and anyone concerned about their personal finances should attend
A roundtable of speakers will include local bankers Charles M. Ireland, market president of
Chase Bank; Kelly Stretcher, president of First National Bank of Gilmer; Mike Fitzhugh, market
president of Franklin Bank; Brad Tidwell, president and CEO of Citizens National Bank; and Steve
Reese, president of Community Bank of Longview.
Scholars presenting their research at the conference include LETU economics professor John
Feezell, finance professors Juan Castro and Bob Driver, management professor David Strong,
marketing professor Warren Matthews and Shane Sherwood, certified financial planner with CRPC.
The schedule is as follows:
Registration from 8:30-9 a.m.(registration is open all day during
In the first session from 9 to 10:15 a.m., LETU finance students will explain the main causes
of the current financial crisis with papers that explain what mortgage-backed securities and
subprime loans are.
In the second session from 10:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m., local and regional East Texas bank
presidents will hold a roundtable discussion on how the national crisis is affecting them locally
and will suggest possible solutions. Attendees may submit questions.
The third session will include a luncheon in the university’s Memorial Student Center with
keynote speaker Terry Smith who will discuss the official position of the Federal Home Loan Bank.
In the final session, LETU business professors will join local financial experts to explain
how retirement plans have been affected by the crisis.