Some communities across the U.S. went briefly to the use of scrip as a means of exchange, and while Oneonta considered it, it never actually went into use. City employees and those working on unemployment relief projects were paid in cash during the bank holidays.
During the week of no banking activities, Roosevelt and Congress passed the Emergency Banking Act on Wednesday, March 8, to encourage public confidence in the banking system, as well as encourage the Federal Reserve to create full deposit insurance in the reopened banks.
Most banks reopened on Monday, and across the nation it was evident that people were anxious to get back to normal in purchasing and banking procedures. Oneonta’s banking institutions resumed normal business on Wednesday.
Public confidence in banking was restored. The three local banks took out an advertisement in the Star on Thursday, March 16, that exclaimed, “Yesterday We Received $440,000 in Deposits.” Nationally, more than half of the hoarded cash in February was deposited in banks on the first day they reopened.
In March 1978, local bankers reflected on their experiences with the bank holidays, and said that overall there was little difficulty during the 10-day disruption.
George Fisher, who had retired from his position as vice president at Wilber National Bank, said the economy was “fairly stable,” based on the D&H Railroad and agriculture. He said that people then didn’t have a lot of money with which to speculate and lose in the stock market.
“Nobody expressed any worry,” said Carl Smith, retired president of what was then the First National Bank of Morris, which later merged with Wilber National Bank. “Some people probably had money in their pockets at the beginning of the bank holiday and were able to get through it.”
“In a rural place where everyone knew everyone,” there was little problem in getting credit, Smith added.