Wisconsin Bankers Association: Bank lending slowly increases as Wisconsin economy recovers

For more information, contact Eric Skrum, 608/441-1216, eskrum@wisbank.com

State bank conditions topic of legislative hearing

(MADISON, WI) Bank lending in Wisconsin is slowly increasing as the state’s economy recovers. That was the message from bank industry leaders who were invited by Sen. Dale Schultz (R-Richland Center) to testify in La Crosse on the challenges that financial institutions are having in lending to people who wish to create jobs. This testimony was held today before the Senate Committee on Financial Institutions.

“We are pleased to have Senate leaders like Sen. Schultz proactively approaching our industry. Without question, the financial institution industry, along with the entire nation, has experienced significant challenges over the last several years as we lived through the ‘Great Recession,’” said Rose Oswald Poels, senior vice president and counsel of the Wisconsin Bankers Association (WBA). “His practical efforts to understand the business climate and its obstacles, and work to make positive changes for the citizens and businesses of this state are much appreciated.”

WBA representatives, along with other bank industry leaders, explained to the committee that financial institutions are facing a mounting number of challenges from a variety of sources that are severely threatening the long-term future of these great institutions. Yet despite these challenges, Wisconsin banks’ lending activity remains strong with net loans and leases accounting for almost 70 percent of a Wisconsin bank’s assets. According to numbers released from the FDIC, lending actually grew albeit very slightly in the third quarter compared to the second quarter. This is the first increase in lending by Wisconsin banks since the second quarter of 2009.

Wisconsin’s banks remain open for business. They are committed to helping Wisconsin and its citizens recover from the economic downturn, as well as help businesses grow their operations and hire new employees.

Wisconsin bankers want to make prudent loans to creditworthy borrowers, which will help get our economy back on track. A general improvement in the economy coupled with balanced bank examinations that protect both the integrity of the banking system and the ability of banks to support their customers and communities will help the state recover from the economic downturn and grow jobs.

The WBA is encouraged by the measures Governor Walker has announced to grow jobs and send the message that Wisconsin is open for business.