Monday, January 9, 2012

What, me worry?

By Michael Scheibach, Executive Editor, BankNews

The new year is under way, and signs of a modest economic rebound are in the wind. Car manufacturers, especially the Detroit bunch, are reporting increased 2011 sales and positive projections for 2012 sales. Unemployment is inching downward, with some areas, such as South Florida, reporting unemployment rates below 10 percent for the first time in nearly three years.

Small businesses are pushing much of the job growth, while the mega-companies continue to announce cutbacks, downsizing and, in Macy's and other Big Box cases, store closings.

Small business growth, in turn, is a stimulus for community banking growth. And after the anti-Big Bank movement of last fall, it is a welcome sign to see that small is good . . . and getting better.

In Daytona, Fla., for example, a combination of favorable demographics and an upturn in the local economy has resulted in three new banks being opened. Chase is one. But the other two, First Green Bank and BankFirst, are smaller community banks expanding into the greater Daytona area.

A article in News Times, Danbury, Conn., reports that, according to a new study by Stamford, Conn.-based Greenwich Associates, the trust between small to mid-size businesses and their banks is showing signs of improvement.

The article reads: "Of the 464 small and mid-size businesses surveyed, .. . about 20 percent said their level of trust in their banks increased over the past nine months, a rise from the 17 percent that reported an improvement in trust over a similar period of time in the last quarter of 2010. Among mid-sized companies, reports of declining levels of trust have been decreasing since the start of 2010."

I am somewhat optimistic about 2012, but we have a long way to go to make up the lost ground since the Collapse of 2008.

As my old pay, Alfred E. Neuman, always says, though, "What, me worry?"

No reason to worry at all. Right?