December 22, 2014

Wisconsin banks see slow and steady growth

More of Wisconsin’s home-grown banks are making money, even though they have not loaned as much to home and business owners during the past year. The FDIC reported Tuesday that banks with Wisconsin headquarters made $743 million dollars from January through September, about 16 percent more than the same period last year.

Less than five percent of banks lost money in the first three-quarters of 2013, down from around nine percent last year. Lending activity was down slightly, to $67.5 billion from January through September. However, banks also had fewer bad loans.

Wisconsin Bankers Association President Rose Oswald Poels says the report shows “Wisconsin banks continue to become healthier and consumers are paying down debt in higher numbers.” Poels says the lack of loan demand may be the result of the slow, yet steady economic recovery, which can “produce a cautious approach to borrowing by businesses. Add to the mix many of the unknowns that businesses are struggling with…and you have an environment where there is a lack of willingness to expand despite the fact that Wisconsin’s banks are more than ready to lend.”

Associated Bank, based in Green Bay, had $50.5 million of net income from July-through September, the highest in the state. Guaranty Bank of Brown Deer had the biggest loss, at $2.3 million.