Coronavirus Causes Record Drop in Rural Mainstreet Index


Sara Schafer, FarmJournal's Pork 

March 19, 2020


The optimism lenders were seeing for the rural economy has evaporated, according to the Rural Mainstreet Index (RMI). The monthly survey of bank CEOs in a 10-state Midwest region sits at 35.5 for March 2020.


In February, the RMI was at 51.6, which posted the sixth straight month of economic growth. The index ranges between 0 and 100, with 50 representing growth neutral.


March’s decline represents the largest one-month fall since the survey was initiated in January 2006.


“Approximately 61.3% of bank CEOs expect the coronavirus to produce a recession in their market area,” says Ernie Goss, who chairs Creighton’s Heider College of Business and leads the RMI. “However, 32.3% expect little economic impact from the coronavirus threat.”


Bankers respond to key issues:


Does your bank have a plan in place to deal with a nationwide mandatory quarantine? ...


Which of the following outcomes do you expect from the coronavirus in your market area? ...


During the past two weeks of the coronavirus crisis, your bank has experienced (select all that apply) ...


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