Daily News: January 5, 2015

BMO Harris to Boost WI Business Owner Credit Up to $3B

BMO Harris Bank is making an additional $3 billion in credit available to business owners in Wisconsin over the next three years.

“We’re here to help, making more of our balance sheet available — with greater focus on entrepreneurs, women and minority business owners, so they have more certainty of credit to grow and create new jobs,” said Brad Chapin, EVP, Business Banking, BMO Harris Bank.

“Wisconsin business owners have told us they are confident in the economy, with 67% having a positive outlook for the upcoming year and the majority expecting their businesses will grow in 2015,” said Jeff Ticknor, head of Commercial Banking, Wisconsin, BMO Harris Bank.

An upswing in the U.S. economy, along with improved business confidence, should lead to a pickup in business investment and factory activity, which will help drive continued expansion in the Great Lakes region, according to Michael Gregory, head of U.S. Economics, BMO Capital Markets.

“The Wisconsin economy is expected to expand 2.2% percent this year, before picking up further to a 2.6% pace in 2015,” said Gregory.

He noted that growth in Milwaukee has accelerated in areas such as construction, trade and professional services, while factory activity — the major driver of growth — is picking up. Wisconsin should add 40,000 jobs by the end of 2016 and Milwaukee is on track to add 12,000 jobs.