About one in four of the Wisconsin bank executives who responded to a recent survey — 27 percent — said they think the state's economy is in "good" health while 71 percent rated it as "fair" and 2 percent called it "poor."
That's an improvement, though, from a year ago when only 13.5 percent said they would call Wisconsin's economy "good," 77 percent rated it "fair" and 9.5 percent said it was "poor."
None of the bank CEOs called the state's economy "excellent" either this year or last year.
The most recent survey was conducted by the Wisconsin Bankers Association in late December. Of the 271 banks with Wisconsin headquarters, 94 CEOs responded.
Only 9 percent of the bankers said they think Wisconsin's economy will grow in the next six months, compared with 34 percent a year ago.
The bankers' outlook on their residential customers is more optimistic than for their business customers.
While 9 percent said demand for business loans is "good," up from 2.8 percent a year ago, fewer bankers said they expect improvement in the next six months.
Residential real estate loan demand, though, was considered "excellent" by 10.1 percent, up from 2.8 percent last year, and "good," by 43.4 percent, up from 21.5 percent, a year ago.
More bankers said customer bankruptcy filings and residential foreclosures have decreased but fewer said businesses in their area are likely to add staff in the next six months.