Wisconsin Bankers have Mixed Outlook for 2019

Fifty-four percent of Wisconsin bank leaders expect the state’s economy to remain the same over the next six months, while 25 percent say it will weaken and 21 percent expect it to grow, according to a new survey by the Wisconsin Bankers Association.

About 27 percent of Wisconsin bank CEOs and presidents view the state’s current economic health as excellent, up from 9 percent at the end of 2017. Another 58 percent of respondents rated the state’s economy as good, down from 80 percent at the end of 2017. And 15 percent describe the Wisconsin economy’s health as fair (up from 11 percent), while 0 percent rated it poor (flat).

The current demand for business loans is good, according to 65 percent of respondents (up from 59 percent in 2017). Another 26 percent said business loan demand is fair (down from 37 percent), while 5 percent said it is excellent (up from 3 percent) and 3 percent said it’s poor (up from 1 percent).

Over the next six months, 63 percent of bankers expect business loan demand to stay the same (up from 43 percent), 22 percent expect demand to grow (down from 53 percent) and 16 percent expect it to weaken (up from 4 percent).

“As predicted in our last survey, 2018 was a great year for Wisconsin’s economy, as well as lending activity. It’s very encouraging to see most bankers believe 2019 will continue that strong performance,” said Rose Oswald Poels, president and chief executive officer of WBA.

“Bankers are the best barometers of the economy as they see all segments of every marketplace. They work together with their communities and are the first to see and understand Wisconsin’s economic trends due to their customers’ activities. In turn, our members use that information to help their communities prosper.”