Wisconsin Bankers Expect Good Economy to Carry over into 2020

Wisconsin’s economy is in good shape and poised for a solid year of lending in 2020, a survey of state bank executives shows.

In a poll by the Wisconsin Bankers Association, 79% of bankers rated the economy in as “good,” while 16% called it “excellent.” Five percent rated it as “fair,” and none of the 83 survey respondents considered the state economy “poor.”

When asked how they expected the economy to perform in the next six months, nearly three of four expected it to stay the same and about one in four thought it would grow. Only 5% in the survey, which was conducted over the first two weeks of December, expected it to weaken.

Low unemployment and interest rates, strong manufacturing, a diverse economic base and robust consumer confidence were among factors cited by the bankers for the upbeat outlook on the economy, the bankers trade group said.

Forty-five percent said the businesses in their markets would be hiring new employees in the first half of 2020, while 54% expected them to maintain current staffing levels and only 1% projected layoffs.

Only 8% of the bankers surveyed said business or commercial real estate lending would weaken in the first half of 2020. Fourteen percent thought residential real estate loans would slip.

But 36% felt agriculture lending would weaken. Fifty-six percent expected farm lending to stay the same as in 2019, and 9% foresaw farm loan growth.