Associated Bank (copy) (copy)

Associated Bank, whose Sun Prairie branch is shown here, reported more than $250 million in earnings in 2017, the highest of all federally insured banks based in Wisconsin.


Wisconsin bank profits rose 4.8 percent in 2017 over the year before, even as nationwide, bank earnings declined.

A report Tuesday from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. showed Wisconsin financial institutions insured by the FDIC had a combined net income of $1.13 billion, up from $1.08 billion in 2016.

Deposits rose 2.3 percent to $89.1 billion and total loans and leases increased nearly 5 percent to $81.3 billion. Meanwhile, the percentage of unpaid loans dropped from 1.08 percent to 0.82 percent of all loans and leases, FDIC figures show.

Of the full-service banks insured by the FDIC, Associated Bank, Green Bay, reported the highest profit for the year at $253.5 million, followed by Johnson Bank, Racine, with $36.4 million, and Nicolet National Bank, Green Bay, $32 million.

Only six of the 211 financial institutions reported a net loss for 2017. The largest among them was Ixonia Bank, Ixonia, with a $2.7 million net loss.

"Our institutions are healthy, well-capitalized and ready to help our economy keep growing," said Rose Oswald Poels, president and CEO of the Wisconsin Bankers Association.

Nationwide, FDIC-insured financial institutions reported a combined net income for 2017 of $164.8 billion, down $6 billion, or 3.5 percent, from 2016. The main reason for the drop involves one-time income tax effects from the new federal tax law, including a revaluation of deferred tax assets and conversion of foreign currency. The tax impact was recorded in the fourth quarter of 2017.

Oswald Poels said Wisconsin banks were affected, too, but still came out ahead of the year before.

"Although many Wisconsin banks were negatively impacted by one-time income tax effects due to the new law, the aggregate numbers highlight an overall positive trend for banking in the state," she said.

Nationwide, the number of banks on the FDIC's "problem bank list" dipped to 95 as of Dec. 31, 2017 from 104, three months earlier.

During the fourth quarter, across the country, 64 institutions were merged into other banks, two banks failed, and one new charter was added.


Judy Newman is a business reporter for the Wisconsin State Journal.