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Doing Business in a Complicated Economy


Bankers and business clients are being buffeted by a potent mix of financial challenges, but they’re finding ways to adapt to inflation, labor shortages, and supply chain issues.

“Twenty-four months ago, a lot of bankers thought the world was ending,” says Ken LaChance, Minneapolis-based senior vice president and market executive for Wells Fargo Commercial Banking. Many of his business clients had the same fears.

The world didn’t end, of course. But it has become very complicated. By many measures, the economy is fundamentally strong: Unemployment remains low and consumer spending is generally healthy. But those positive data points have their darker flip sides—labor shortages, high inflation, and difficulties obtaining key components such as semiconductors.

Add rising interest rates, the ongoing global impacts of the coronavirus, and the worldwide disruptions caused by the Russian attack on Ukraine, and it’s feeling as though booms and busts are being compressed within months or even weeks.

“I’ve been in banking 28 years,” LaChance says, and the past two years “seem like a couple of dog years of an economy.” It appears that we’re facing another such year in 2022.

Bankers note that business loan activity remains strong and competitive. Sara Ausman, Twin Cities regional president […]

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