Banks renew their appetites for commercial lending

Most banks in southeastern Wisconsin have cut back on their loans for commercial and industrial and commercial real estate in the past year. However, several bankers say that increased competition and other factors are likely to reverse those contractions in the year ahead.
Click here to see a chart of banks doing business in southeastern Wisconsin to see which ones have increased commercial lending, and which banks have cut back.
Commercial and industrial lending in the United States fell from $1.45 trillion in July of 2009 to $1.23 trillion in July 2010. In that same time frame, commercial real estate lending fell from $1.69 trillion to almost $1.56 trillion.
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. says many banks in metropolitan Milwaukee have contracted their commercial and industrial and commercial real estate lending. Yet despite that contraction, competition is increasing in the commercial lending field in southeastern Wisconsin, and that competition may help reopen the spigot of dollars available to businesses in the region.
Large banks such as PNC Bank and Harris Bank have moved into the metro Milwaukee area through acquisitions made in 2008. Both banks have hired experienced lenders from the Milwaukee market and are beginning to make commercial loans.
Also, other Milwaukee-based banks that have not historically done much commercial lending have moved into the field. Meanwhile, other community-based banks have continued to expand their commercial lending operations.
Banks, both large and small, see an opportunity in commercial lending in the Milwaukee marketplace.
Read more in the latest BizTimes Milwaukee cover story.

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