Omaha Farmers Market Celebrates Its 20th Year; Opens For 25-Week 2013 Season May 4th AND 5th

4-26-2013

Omaha Farmers Market

The Omaha Farmers Market will launch its milestone 20th season on Saturday, May 4, in the historic Old Market (11th and Jackson Streets) and Sunday, May 5, at Aksarben Village (67th and Center Streets). After the long off-season, local farmers and vendors will return to offer fresh produce, plants, baked goods, meat products, crafts, treats and refreshments every weekend—a total of 25—through October 19 and 20.


The Omaha Farmers Market traces its roots back nearly 100 years, where it began on the corner of 11th and Jackson Streets as Omaha’s City Market, a wholesale market primarily serving area grocers and offering very little local produce, and open for only limited public hours. It dissolved in 1964 with the emergence of supermarkets, and several years later the Old Market was reinvented as a restaurant and cultural district under the guidance of the Sam Mercer and the Mercer family’s Mercer Management Company. Inspired by the local movement to support local agriculture and healthy food and with a desire to promote the Old Market area, Vic Gutman started the Omaha Farmers Market 30 years later with financial support from the City of Omaha and Mercer Management Co. Gutman, originally from Michigan, planted permanent roots in Nebraska when
he launched the inaugural Omaha Summer Arts Festival in 1975. “I realized early on that the Old Market area was perfect for a farmers market, and I had wanted to start a farmers market since 1987,” Gutman said. “In 1993, when P.J. Morgan was mayor, he had returned from a visit to Germany and made some comments in the press about how much he liked the outdoor markets in Germany. So I reached out to Mayor’s Office to start a discussion about creating a farmers market here in Omaha. I was able to get city invested or the first two years, and the support of the Mercer family, to make it possible.”


The Omaha Farmers Market was established in 1994 on the same corner lot where Omaha’s City Market had last stood 30 years prior. “The Omaha Farmers Market was the very first farmers market in Omaha,” Gutman said. “We began with only about 30 stalls and several hundred people attending, but we saw the growth potential immediately.” The Omaha Farmers Market, which is produced by a nonprofit organization, has expanded steadily from that small group of vendors, including Welchert Truck Farm and B & B Orchard/Gene's Green Thumb, who are still among the more than 100 vendors participating today. 


“One of our favorite parts of the Market evolution has been the people,” Donna Welchert said. “We went from being happy to see new faces, to having regular customers that stop to ask about our family and help hold down our tents on windy mornings.“I'll never forget the early meeting we had with Sam and Mark Mercer; I thought Sam's ascot was awesome,” said Gene Sivard, who started with a small orchard that has since grown to 12 acres. “I remember a Market early on where all I had to offer was zucchini and cucumber. But now I grow 120 varieties of veggies. ”Mark Mercer of Mercer Management, Sam Mercer’s son (Sam Mercer died this past February), said the Omaha Farmers Market downtown location played a major role in revitalizing the Old Market on Saturday mornings.


“Saturday mornings were once one of our slowest periods for business, and a lot of the shops weren’t even open. But with the Farmers Market busy from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Old Market businesses now enjoy the patronage that spills over. And many of the restaurants have been inspired to offer breakfast and brunch,” Mercer said. “The Omaha Farmers Market has been a great addition to the Old Market and the fact that it is located where City Market used to be respects the history of the area and really fits the concept of what my father envisioned for the Old Market three decades ago.”


The Farmers Market eventually grew beyond downtown. In 2010, the first Sunday Market opened at Aksarben Village and will expand from 75 vendors to 85 vendors this season. The two locations jointly see thousands of attendees each weekend, Gutman said, and vendors and staff hear over and over how the Omaha Farmers Market has become part of visitors’ weekly routines. “We’ve really dedicated ourselves to making fresh, healthy, local food accessible to everyone,” Gutman said. “And by providing an outlet to consumers, we’ve made it more feasible for local growers to be more successful.” Strong commitment to community is another objective of the Omaha Farmers Market’s administrative organization. Vendors and customers donate produce to area shelters weekly, and the Market hosts a full meal at the Siena- Francis House each fall. In addition, The Omaha Farmers Market was one of the first markets in Nebraska to accept SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), government benefits available to low-income households. During May and June, SNAP users can get a $5 bonus each week. As part of this ongoing commitment, in 2011, a third, smaller Farmers Market opened at Charles Drew Health Center, 30th and Grant Streets, to serve the North Omaha community. The Charles Drew Farmers Market will be open in 2013 from July 10 to October 2, on Wednesdays from 3 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. This market features six produce vendors.


Also in 2011, the Omaha Farmers market co-presented Omaha’s first-ever Food Day with the Gretchen Swanson Center for Nutrition. Food Day, which has become an annual October event concluding the Market season, is part of a national effort to promote healthy, affordable and sustainable food.


In honor of the milestone season, the Omaha Farmers Market is also launching a new website. Omahafarmersmarket.com offers links to vendors, a harvest calendar and recipes. Market supporters are also
encouraged to follow Omaha Farmers Market on Facebook to stay informed about special events and promotions as well as be updated on what produce is available throughout the growing season. The Omaha Farmers Market in the Old Market is sponsored by WOWT Channel 6, 101.9 The Big O, The Sherwood Foundation, Whole Foods Market, Old Omaha Association and Security National Bank. Special thanks to Mercer
Management and Central Parking Systems. The Omaha Farmers Market at Aksarben Village is sponsored by WOWT Channel 6, 101.9 The Big O, Aksarben Village, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska, The Sherwood Foundation, Security National Bank and Physicians Mutual. Special thanks to Broadmoor. The Omaha Farmers Market at Charles Drew Health Center is brought to you in partnership with the Omaha Farmers Market, Charles Drew Health Center and Douglas County, and is sponsored by The Sherwood Foundation, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska, WOWT Channel 6, and 101.9 The Big O.


For additional information, interviews or photos, please contact Heidi Walz at hwalz@vgagroup.com or (402) 345-5401, extension 104.

 

 


 

Major Nebraska banks serving Omaha rebound from the darkest days of loan losses

4-1-2013

Russel Hubbard

Omaha World Herald

The president of the largest Nebraska-based bank remembers exactly where he was when everything started toward Hades: Yankee Stadium, the Bronx, N.Y.

Dan O'Neill of First National Bank was at a baseball game in the summer of 2008, seated among a coterie of Wall Street bankers in the good seats. BlackBerries and iPhones started to buzz: It was big news in the financial business, the acquisition of giant but struggling California mortgage lender Countrywide Financial by Bank of America Corp.

“I figured that Countrywide was in California, everything is a little different there, it won't affect us in Omaha,” O'Neill said, describing his 2008 evaluation of the mortgage and banking troubles engulfing the coasts. “I went back to my hot dog and Coke.”

O'Neill and his counterparts in Omaha banking circles can afford to casually reminisce these days. The danger is over. The Nebraska-based banks with the largest shares of Omaha deposits have largely recovered from the loan losses that spread through the industry starting in 2008. The economy has improved and the bad debts have been sold, written off or otherwise disposed of.

An examination of Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. records shows that the largest deposit holders in the Omaha metro area have reduced their loans not being paid as agreed from the elevated levels that hammered profits and dividends starting in 2008.

Four of the five Nebraska-based banks with the largest Omaha deposit shares also share another trait: Even during the worst of the housing and credit crisis, their loans not being paid as agreed never exceeded those of their national peer groups. The fifth, Security National Bank, had a 2007 bad loan rate so low, it would have been almost impossible to better.

 

 
Published Tuesday, March 19, 2013 at 1:00 am / Updated at 5:17 pm
Major Nebraska banks serving Omaha rebound from the darkest days of loan losses

The president of the largest Nebraska-based bank remembers exactly where he was when everything started toward Hades: Yankee Stadium, the Bronx, N.Y.

Dan O'Neill of First National Bank was at a baseball game in the summer of 2008, seated among a coterie of Wall Street bankers in the good seats. BlackBerries and iPhones started to buzz: It was big news in the financial business, the acquisition of giant but struggling California mortgage lender Countrywide Financial by Bank of America Corp.

“I figured that Countrywide was in California, everything is a little different there, it won't affect us in Omaha,” O'Neill said, describing his 2008 evaluation of the mortgage and banking troubles engulfing the coasts. “I went back to my hot dog and Coke.”

O'Neill and his counterparts in Omaha banking circles can afford to casually reminisce these days. The danger is over. The Nebraska-based banks with the largest shares of Omaha deposits have largely recovered from the loan losses that spread through the industry starting in 2008. The economy has improved and the bad debts have been sold, written off or otherwise disposed of.

An examination of Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. records shows that the largest deposit holders in the Omaha metro area have reduced their loans not being paid as agreed from the elevated levels that hammered profits and dividends starting in 2008.

Four of the five Nebraska-based banks with the largest Omaha deposit shares also share another trait: Even during the worst of the housing and credit crisis, their loans not being paid as agreed never exceeded those of their national peer groups. The fifth, Security National Bank, had a 2007 bad loan rate so low, it would have been almost impossible to better.

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It wasn't all management expertise, said John Munn, director of the Nebraska Banking Department.

“Residential and commercial real estate did not devalue to the same degree in Nebraska as other places in the country,” Munn said. “Agricultural lending remained strong throughout.”

Nebraska bankers got a hefty helping hand from the overall local economy — diverse and propped up by high farm income — and the Midwestern investors' abstinence from the financial benders that became a sport in high-profile spots such as Los Angeles, Seattle, Las Vegas and Miami.

House “flippers” in those areas sought and got easy loans to quickly rehab and sell residences, often to another speculator looking for the next one in line. Loads of lenders were left as the last one standing at a game of musical houses.

Countrywide was the poster child for the subprime mortgage industry, the no-money-down, “pick-your-payment” loans with the phantom job and credit checks.

In 2008, the $4 billion acquisition by staid Bank of America, the largest U.S. lender, was seen as an aggressive and potentially lucrative bet on the U.S. housing market's recovery. When it was finalized that summer during O'Neill's baseball game, it resounded natonwide.

The First National president now knows exactly how his analysis at the time missed the mark: Bank of America's inability to decipher the depths of Countrywide's troubles was a mere symbol of greater myopia among the nation's bankers and financiers. The acquisition almost sank BofA.

Within a year or two, the red ink staining bank income statements from defaulted borrowers, foreclosed houses and bankrupt businesses would splash in from the coasts and the desert Southwest, reaching as far as the Great Plains, though in much smaller volumes.

Broke borrowers lead to loans not being paid as agreed, a key banking measurement with ripple effects throughout an economy. When borrowers do not pay off as specified in loan contracts, banks by law must write down the loan to a lower projected net worth, if any, and set aside money in an internal fund to cover the defaults.

The reserve kitty is money that could otherwise go to profit, among the greatest pillars of financial stability for banks.

Banks lose current income from not collecting principal and interest payments.

Then come the reverberations. Lower current income and higher loan loss reserves can wind up crimping the capital cushion banks need to cover all of their liabilities, such as deposits and their own debt and interest payments. That, in turn, can limit a bank's willingness to lend, or at least to lend at the rates borrowers find attractive.

“Nonperforming loans have two very negative aspects,” said Gordon Karels, Nebraska Bankers Association banking professor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. “You lose the interest revenue and you have to classify the loan as a loss and write down its value.”

Loans not being paid as agreed began to uptick throughout the nation in 2008, as the housing bubble burst and millions of people who should not have qualified for mortgages began defaulting.

That in turn depressed the housing market, leaving real-estate developers with half-finished residential projects, no buyers and lots of bank debt. Then unemployment rose, and people otherwise not affected by the housing bubble began defaulting on credit cards, personal loans and other lending agreements.

For the banks, it was like the main hatchway gave in during a typhoon.

Here's how that played out locally:

>> For First National Bank of Omaha, the metro-area deposit share leader with 27 percent, loans not being paid as agreed more than tripled from December 2007 to December 2009. By that point, 2.91 percent of total loans were off the tracks, up from less than 1 percent three years earlier. By the end of last year, the bad-loan rate had fallen to 1.56 percent.

“September 2009 was probably the depth of our problems,” O'Neill said. “At that point we had been through eight straight quarters of rising nonperforming assets and were wondering when it was going to stop.”

>> Mutual of Omaha Bank's bad loans spiked at 2.26 percent of total loans in 2010.

The banking subsidiary of insurer Mutual of Omaha started operations in 2007, so it missed a lot of the housing bubble that started earlier in the decade, CEO Jeffrey Schmid said. Bad loans are now back down to 1.26 percent.

>> Pinnacle Bank's worst year also was 2010, when bad loans were 1.37 percent of total loans, up from 0.62 percent in 2007. They are down to less than 1 percent now.

“We are family-owned, conservative and tend to know our customers very well,” said Steve Zey, Pinnacle's Omaha city president. “Some banks jumped out of their area of expertise and went into California and Florida trying to hit a home run.”

>> American National Bank's nonperforming loans are lower than during 2007, when they ended the year at 1.43 percent. They hit a crisis-period high of 2.08 percent in 2009 and have dipped to 0.77 percent.

“Nebraska banks weren't heavily concentrated in the riskier asset classes, residential development and commercial real estate,” said Steve Ritzman, CEO of American National. “We have also experienced considerably lower unemployment, and that has a positive impact on real estate prices.”

>> Security National Bank of Omaha's bad loans barely registered in 2007, at 0.04 percent of total loans. The high was still less than 1 percent, in 2011. In December, they were 0.76 percent of loans.

For anyone who thinks the percentages are small, that a bad-loan rate of 3 or 4 percent doesn't seem like much, they have another thing coming, said Amiyatosh Purnanadam, a banking professor at the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business. That is because the average bank, on a $100 loan, has only 8 percent of ownership's money in the deal; the rest of the cash loaned out comes from deposits, Purnanadam said.

So, he said, a 4 percent bad-loan rate adds up to a 50 percent reduction of owner's capital for the average bank in the average loan, the professor said. Regulators want that ownership capital to be the buffer that keeps operating losses from eroding depositor money, not vice versa, Purnanadam said.

Still, the worst Omaha saw was tame by national standards, said Tony Path, a banking professor at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Nebraska's mild housing troubles and stable employment prevented debacles that engulfed other areas.

“Four percent bad loans is a number some of the banks in Alabama, Georgia and Florida would have killed for,” Plath said. “Losses were 10 percent and more in some of those areas.”

 



 

Security National Bank + “A Book of My Own”

 03-29-2012

Security National Bank held a company-wide book drive February 1st through the 29th to collect new and gently used books to support the Junior League of Omaha literacy project “A Book of My Own”. 

“A Book of My Own” collects, sorts and distributes books to at-risk Omaha youth through partnerships with agencies like Completely Kids, Boys & Girls Clubs, Lutheran Family Services and Girls Inc.  The goal is to make sure that all children in Omaha have a book of their own.

SNB created a contest between their branches, offering a prize (Jeans Day) to the branch that collected the most books per employee.  At the end of the month, SNB had collected 1,545 books from its employees and customers!

 

SNB staff at 35th & Farnam branch pictured with their book donations

 



 

Omaha Banker Named to Council

02-21-2012

(Omaha World Herald, Feb. 17th) James Landen, president of Security National Bank of Omaha, has been appointed to the Community Depository Institution Advisory Council by the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, Mo. The 11-member council provides information about the economy to the bank's senior management.


 

Exciting News! Our new Security National Bank television commercials started airing February 1

02-16-2012


 



 

Free Home Buyer's Seminar! Febrary 23rd, 7:00-8:00 PM at Security National Bank

02-09-2012

With many nice properties on the market and interest rates very low, now is the time to consider purchasing a home of your own.

 

Our information packed seminar will prepare you for the home loan process and what documents you’ll need to purchase a new home.  You’ll feel confident after you’ve attended our seminar.

Seating is limited. Call 402-334-9669 to RSVP today!

 Free Home Buyer's Seminar. February 23rd 7:00-8:00 PM at Security National Bank at 101st and Pacific St


 


 

 

Omaha World Herald Features a Thank You Letter from 2011 United Way Campaign Chairs, Jim and Diny Landen

02-03-2012

 At a time when so many children live in poverty, when financial instability threatens families' futures and when our neighbors struggle to stay healthy, there is a ray of hope. It shines in the hearts of thousands of individuals and comes to life in the community service missions of many organizations right here in the Omaha-Council Bluffs area.

That enduring hope is evident — even abundant — in the record amount raised by the United Way of the Midlands' 2011 Annual Campaign: $22.5 million.

Thanks to everyone who pitched in with both financial support and volunteer hours. At a time when so many families and companies face tight budgets, our community posted a 6.3 percent increase over the 2010 total.

This is no small feat, and it happened because so many good people said "count me in" when United Way and its volunteers asked for help. This defies the trend among other United Ways across the country. Although all campaigns have not yet been finalized, the top 100 United Ways currently report an overall increase of just 1 percent from 2010 to 2011.

Here in Omaha, your donations support programs in United Way and Community Health Charities partner agencies that help thousands of your neighbors create a better life. They support the development of independent people, strong families and neighborhoods.

They strengthen the very fabric of our community — not only for today but also for tomorrow.

Whether you donated $10, $10,000 or simply your valuable time to the 2011 campaign, you helped create a ray of hope. You are a touchpoint for community change, and you inspire others to get involved, too.

Donors interested in volunteering in the review process — to learn about needs facing our community and to distribute grants to local health and human service programs — can send an email message to liveunited@ uwmidlands.org.

Thank you to every single person who contributed to the 2011 United Way Campaign, from CEOs and campaign managers to foundations and individual donors.

Because you Live United, 2012 will be a better year for all of us.

 


 

Season's Greetings

12-08-2011

Season's Greetings


 

Security National Bank Remembers Clarence L. "Mickey" Landen

11-11-2011

 Security National Bank is deeply saddened to announce its chairman and founder, Mr. Clarence L. “Mickey” Landen has passed away. Known for his strong commitment to community, he will be greatly missed.

 Mr. Landen founded Security National Bank in 1964 which has grown to be the tenth largest Nebraska-owned bank.  He loved the business and fostered a culture of service and respect for others that is evident in the bank today.

 Mickey was known for his quiet philanthropy. With Mick it was always about doing the right thing, not about publicity. He served on countless boards in the Omaha community and had a life-long passion regarding the Salvation Army. In 1998 the Mickey Landen family received the Salvation Army’s Others Award.  Mickey and his wife Mary founded the M & M Foundation several years ago to foster the spirit of community service in their grandchildren.  The purpose of the foundation is to investigate and donate money annually to charities locally.  Landen grandchildren, 14 and older, serve as the board for the foundation.

 Mr. Landen loved Lake Okoboji (Iowa) and spent time there whenever possible. He was a longtime member of the Okoboji Yacht Club and led a successful campaign several years ago to keep Arnolds Park in the resort community.

 Mickey served in the Army in the Pacific Theater during World War II. He was awarded a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star.

 


 

Best of B2B Winner 6 Years in a Row

11-08-2011

Thank you, Omaha businesses, for voting us one of the best banks in Omaha. Security National Bank has been serving the Omaha metropolitan area for over 45 years with consumer, business, wealth management and mortgage products to help families and businesses grow.

 



 

Jim and Diny Landen 2011 Campaign Chairs

10-10-2011

It’s a fast two months, and an ambitious target  - United Way’s 2011 Campaign team, led by Chairs Jim and Diny Landen, set the goal: raise $21,700,000 to strengthen the network of health and human services that covers Douglas, Sarpy and Pottawattamie counties.

"Jim and I feel it's a real privilege to be working for United Way as chairs of the community drive this year,” says Diny. “We have come to understand even more clearly the importance of this campaign in meeting the critical needs in our community and making sure a safety net of services are available to children, adults, families and seniors when they need help."

Check out the United Way’s 2011 Campaign video to learn more and see inspiring stories that are made possible by the amazing work of the United Way. 

2011 Campaign Video - United Way of the Midlands from LIVE UNITED Omaha on Vimeo.


 


 

Security National Bank is pleased to announce its new website launch on May 2. With a new crisp clean style, easier functionality, and new benefits - welcome to the new snbconnect.com.