Wisconsin Banks Signal Caution In ’24

In the Wisconsin Bankers Association’s latest Economic Conditions Survey of Wisconsin bank CEOs, 68 percent of respondents rated Wisconsin’s current economic health as “excellent” or “good.”

While most respondents (95 percent) do not foresee inflation worsening, 44 percent predict that the economy will weaken over the next six months. Forty-seven percent say it will stay about the same over the next six months.

At the same time last year, three-quarters of respondents predicted the economy would weaken over the next six months, showing some easing of economic concerns at 2023 year-end.

“Bankers have unique insights into their customers’ financial health as well as understand issues facing businesses in their markets,” says WBA President and CEO Rose Oswald Poels. “With continued headwinds in sight for the beginning of 2024, banks in Wisconsin stand prepared to support their communities.”

Among the economic bright spots cited by bank CEOs in the survey were low unemployment, profitability of area businesses — particularly in construction and manufacturing — and relatively good commodity prices for the agricultural industry. On the other hand, bank CEOs reported staffing and interest rates as top concerns of their business customers heading into the new year. The survey also showed inflation, a high cost of living, and availability and affordability of housing as top concerns for individuals and families for 2024.

The end-of-year 2023 survey was conducted November 14–29 with 66 respondents. Below is a breakdown of the survey questions and responses. Sums may not equal 100 percent due to rounding.