Wisconsin bankers say state economy is stable

Wisconsin’s business loan demand is lagging, but the state’s economy is stable and healthy, according to the latest survey of the members of the Wisconsin Bankers Association (WBA).

In the WBA Bank CEO Economic Conditions Survey, 85 percent of responding bank CEOs say business loan demand in their market is fair or poor. However, none of the responding bankers rate the current health of Wisconsin’s economy as poor, compared with 2 percent in January and 3 percent a year ago.

“The economy seems to have reached a plateau,” said Rose Oswald Poels, president and chief executive officer of the WBA. “While there are positive trends in defaults and bankruptcy filings, the majority of bankers expect economic conditions and loan demand to stay the same over the next six months.”

Ninety-five percent of bank CEOs say the number of customer bankruptcy filings, foreclosures and “past dues” have stayed the same or decreased over the past six months, the survey shows. In addition, 89 percent of responding CEOs indicate that businesses in their market area are likely to maintain current staffing levels, with 9 percent saying local businesses will hire employees in the next six months. In comparison, 20 percent of bank CEOs say they plan to hire employees in the same timeframe.

“Wisconsin’s banks are healthy and ready to meet the needs of their communities,” said Oswald Poels. “The state economy may be flat, but banks are still eager to lend to credit-worthy borrowers, both businesses and individuals.”

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