Turbyfill and other bankers, stock brokers and investment advisors along Danville's Main Street have been trying to calm the tremors that have shaken up their clients.
They say the current disruption is in the same league of serious financial crises such as the recession of the early 1980s, the October 1987 stock market crash, and the aftermath of Sept. 11, 2001.
While each crisis was different, all had the same outcome: the U.S. financial system and economy rebounded.
"Our clients want an explanation of what's going on, and they also want reassurance that they have invested in a way that is safe," said Turbyfill. "I try to explain the situation, and it's difficult because the situation is very complicated.
"Reassuring them is easier because all but a few of them have well-diversified portfolios and have not put all their eggs in one basket," he said. "Those who don't (have diversified portfolios), I try to steer them in that direction."
Relatively safe investments include insured certificates of deposit, money market funds and government bonds, he said.
"Even the safest investments have been called into question in serious financial crises, but they usually weather the storm," he said.
Turbyfill also tells clients that "they should be concerned, but they should not overreact in fear and panic." He said "fear and overreaction are the things that clients need to avoid as much as possible.
"When there is a crisis like what we're going through now, our role is to be available, by phone, in our office, or in theirs, and to counsel and calm our clients," he said. "We shouldn't downplay the crisis or minimize the fears. But we should be logical, factual and caution against panic and overreaction."
Mike Perros, a longtime local stock broker and manager of the Danville office of the Stifel Nicolaus investment firm, has been proactive in counseling clients.
Asked if his phone has been ringing off the hook, Perros replied, "It hasn't had a chance to. I've spent the last three weeks calling each and every one of my clients."
He said the chairman of the board of Stifel Nicolaus also has sent letters to clients.
Local clients have been "nervous and concerned but not panicked," Perros said.
"The truth is that uncertainty runs from Main Street up through Wall Street and Washington and back down, and the questions I'm getting from clients reflect that," he said. They've been asking, 'What does this mean?' and "Are we going to survive this' and 'Should we keep our investments where they are?'"
Perros said he has explained to clients the "very complex" situation that involves mortgages, credit and investments and told them they likely will survive.
He has reviewed with each client individually the "risk-adjusted asset allocation" in their "customized" portfolios to make sure their investments - including CDs, bonds and stocks - are safe and sound but not all so conservative that they produce very little income.
"I'm trying to convince clients to buy carefully chosen stocks that can make them some money, even though the market is down," he said. "One of the proven secrets of our business is that you buy low and sell high, so as scary as the market is now, that secret still applies as there are a lot of bargains out there now. The important thing is to make sure those bargains are stocks in companies with proven earning records."
Jeff Joiner, branch manager of Farmers National Bank Investment Services, has sent letters to his clients with the latest information about the stock market and the financial crisis and is fielding a lot of calls.
"They have all been concerned but, with one exception, none of them has been panicky," he said. "No one has come in and said, 'I want to liquidate now and pull all my money out,' but some have talked about holding on to what they have without new investments or changes, at least for the time being."
Joiner admits the situation is scary and said he tries to empathize with clients.