A Look Behind the Numbers: Umpqua Bank leaders share their observations on Business Barometer Webinar
Businesses may be concerned about major economic pressures like inflation, interest rates, and the possibility of a recession. But they’ve never been more confident in their direction.
That comes as no surprise to Umpqua Bank leaders Richard Cabrerra and Kathryn Albright, who this week hosted a webinar to discuss the findings of Umpqua Bank’s 2023 Business Barometer Report. The Barometer is a nationwide survey of 1,250 business owners and executives for their take on the U.S. economy, business conditions, and strategic plans.
“There’s strong momentum,” said Cabrerra, Head of Middle Market Banking at Umpqua. “We are talking with our customers; they’ve taken great pains to become efficient and control what they can control under the background of strong demand. It translates into optimism and strong direction.”
Businesses, particularly those in the West, feel good about their positioning in the market and prospects in this economy. The economic headwinds are real, but the report found that expectations for revenue and profitability are at their highest in 5 years.
Cabrerra and Albright discussed how this optimism has translated into action. Businesses are focused on efficiency over aggressive growth. This is primarily focused on automation and digitization, across all parts of the business.
It can include a shift toward automating services previously handled by individuals or using digital tools to speed up operations. Nearly 3 in 4 businesses said they are likely to digitize new areas of their business to improve efficiency.
Albright, Head of Global Payments & Deposits at Umpqua, underscored that Umpqua has ways they can help businesses interested in making such moves, such as using real time payments to improve relationships with suppliers. She also added that businesses would be wise to ensure their cybersecurity practices are up to date to protect against an attack.
“It’s not a question of if but when,” she said.
The bank leaders discussed other key topics of concern to businesses: such as the continued shift to onshoring or nearshoring, and how that has affected plans for expansion and real estate.
The Business Barometer underscores Umpqua Bank’s commitment to business customers. You can watch a replay of the webinar below or read the full Business Barometer Report.