Banking executives predict economic improvement

By Mark Anderson

The Daily Record Newswire

Bankers are optimistic about the U.S. economy's near-term performance, with 45 percent expecting it to improve in the next six months, according to the semi-annual Bank Executive Survey conducted by Grant Thornton LLP and Bank Director magazine.

That's a significant improvement over bankers' opinions six months ago when only 24 percent said that they expected the economy to improve.

On the job front, a quarter of bankers say that their bank will increase hiring in the next six months, up from 18 percent in December.

The number of banks planning to decrease staff dropped slightly to 16 percent from 18 percent.

Thirty-five percent of bankers expect their local economy to improve in the next six months, up from 22 percent in December, while only nine percent expect local conditions to decline, down from 18 percent.

"Bankers across the country are starting to become more optimistic about both the U.S. economy and their own local economy," said John Ziegelbauer, national managing partner of Grant Thornton's Financial Institutions practice.

"Overall, it appears that bankers believe that the economy has finally turned a corner."

Published: Thu, Jul 1, 2010