Cautious Optimism from Bankers on U.S. Economy

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BRENTWOOD, TENN., September 10, 2013 – Forty-three percent of bank executives and directors believe the U.S. economy will improve by the close of 2013, reveals a survey conducted by Bank Director and Grant Thornton LLP of more than 130 senior executives and directors of U.S. banks with more than $500 million in assets. This reflects a growing optimism by bankers on the economic climate; last year, just 13 percent expected to see improvement. Meanwhile, bankers demonstrate continued concern about low interest rates, with growing anxiety about cyber security risk among the largest institutions.

Key findings include:

  • Eighty-nine percent of respondents cite continued margin compression as their top concern. The regulatory compliance burden, at 86 percent, and loan competition, at 78 percent, also rate highly. Of respondents at the largest banks, with assets greater than $10 billion, 90 percent cite cyber security risk as a top concern.
  • When asked about specific aspects of cyber security risk, respondents worry most about online banking fraud, at 76 percent, and data theft, at 73 percent. Denial-of-service (DoS) attacks are of particular worry for larger institutions.
  • Eighty-four percent planned increased investment in technology in order to gain efficiencies within the institution. Many respondents, at 40 percent, plan to reduce staff at the bank, and one-third plan to close branches.
  • Implementation of the Dodd-Frank Act rates high concern among respondents, as does the reach of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Basel III is of lesser concern, with 71 percent indicating that capital levels are satisfactory, with no plans to raise capital in advance of Basel III.

The survey results are available online at BankDirector.com, and will be featured in the 4th quarter 2013 issue of Bank Director magazine. The survey was conducted by email in June.

Since 1991, Bank Director has served as a leading information resource for the directors and officers of financial institutions. Through its quarterly Bank Director magazine, executive-level research, annual conferences, and its website, BankDirector.com, Bank Director reaches the leaders of the institutions that comprise America’s banking industry. Bank Director is headquartered in Brentwood, Tennessee.

Grant Thornton LLP is the U.S. member firm of Grant Thornton International Ltd. Grant Thornton International Ltd and its member firms are not a worldwide partnership, as each member firm is a separate and distinct legal entity. In the United States, visit Grant Thornton LLP at www.GrantThornton.com.

Source: BankDirector.com

Contact: Emily McCormick, director of research, (615) 777-8471, [email protected]

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