Community bankers have one of the best vantage points for assessing how the economy is performing. That’s why the Federal Reserve System and the Conference of State Bank Supervisors surveyed bankers in 39 states for their report “Community Banking in the 21st Century.”
Here’s what community bankers had to say about business in Missouri and Kansas. (You can find the full report at www.communitybanking.org.)
» Business growth is relatively flat, but the state has plenty of existing buildings available, where growth could be accommodated quickly.
» New businesses are being created at a “slow-to-moderate pace.” Newer businesses are more likely to seek loans than companies that
were around before the economic crisis.
» One of the state’s biggest business opportunities: assisted-living facilities.
» Missouri is becoming more and more urbanized, and many of the state’s small towns are dying.
» Business development is “limited,” partly due to limited population growth.
» Low unemployment makes it easy for workers to find jobs, but the state hasn’t had much luck attracting new residents.
The best borrowers are also the most conservative. Though loan terms are very good for borrowers right now, many are avoiding them. “The current credit availability exceeds demand.”
» There’s a need for small-dollar, short-term loans. A lot of banks have left this space, leading average consumers to use payday lenders.