One in four Wis. banks plan to hire in 2012

A recent survey by the Wisconsin Bankers Association shows a quarter of bank leaders surveyed plan to hire new employees in the next six months.
The CEO Economic Conditions Survey was sent to the WBA’s 272 bank members from mid-December through Jan. 9. Of those, 144 responded to questions about both their bank and the overall industry and economy.
Overall, 83 percent of respondents thought employee numbers would remain the same for the businesses in their markets and 15 percent said businesses plan to hire.
However, demand for business loans is “fair” or “poor,” according to 97 percent of WBA members surveyed. The current level of demand is expected to hold steady.
Residential real estate demand is higher, with 66 percent of respondents reporting “fair” or “good” demand. Most expect the demand to remain the same, but 18 percent expect a rise in demand over the first half of the year.
Customer residential and business bankruptcy filings are down for 15 percent of banks surveyed since July 2011, while they are steady for 59 percent of respondents. Almost 70 percent of those surveyed reported a decrease or no change in residential real estate foreclosures.
Wisconsin’s economy has hit the bottom, according to 86 percent of bank executives. While 63 percent of respondents expect no change in economic conditions over the next six months, 34 percent expect growth.
Rose Oswald Poels, WBA president and CEO, said the results are promising.
“Bankers offer a unique perspective on the economy given their role in their communities,” she said. “The fact that banks are poised for growth indicates that the industry is stabilizing and that both the economy and the banks in Wisconsin are getting stronger.
 “Despite a slower demand for loans and increasing regulatory pressure, Wisconsin’s banks will continue to improve in 2012, slowing moving towards pre-downturn levels.”

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