Umpqua Bank Releases “Business Resiliency” Survey
Small, Mid-size Businesses Moving Forward in Face of Unprecedented Economic Disruption
Economic Shifts Underway as Pandemic Accelerates Investments in Tech, Automation, Workplace Transformation
PORTLAND, Ore., (August 13, 2020)—Umpqua Bank, a West Coast regional bank, today released its “Business Resiliency” survey, a nationwide study gauging the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the confidence and future of U.S.-based small and mid-size businesses. More than 1,200 leaders at companies across all industries and geographic regions were surveyed on how their businesses are responding and what they will need in the months ahead to navigate successfully through a once-in-a-lifetime global pandemic event.
“There’s no denying that the pandemic’s economic impact is deep and continues to be painful for businesses, but there is reason for measured optimism,” said Umpqua Bank President Tory Nixon. “Small and mid-size businesses are showing resilience and ingenuity in the face of unprecedented disruption and uncertainty. Our research indicates that many have already made strategic pivots that in some cases have made them more competitive, and many more are preparing to pull all the levers at their disposal to emerge healthier, more efficient and better able to serve their customers in the long run.”
Survey participants come from businesses that weathered the initial economic shutdown but face continued uncertainty and are a primary audience for financial assistance through the federal Paycheck Protection Program. They represent a broad cross-section of U.S. enterprises that drive significant job creation and prosperity, including middle market companies with at least $10 million in annual revenue that contribute $6 trillion to the U.S. economy annually and employ 44 million Americans.
Key takeaways from Umpqua’s “Business Resiliency” survey include the following:
Investments in tech, automation accelerate to remain competitive
Even as a significant majority of mid-size companies delay or cut spending in several areas, including outside vendors, marketing and promotions, hiring and benefits, nearly 5 in 10 have increased spending on technology, digital transformation or automation. More than 80% of businesses have already begun automating or plan to automate tasks previously performed by workers, and 76% are exploring ways to digitize the customer experience. Though smaller businesses are less likely to have concrete plans to make these shifts, moving toward automation and digital customer experience still rank as two of the top priorities for 30% and 46% of small businesses, respectively.
Companies are making strategic shifts and pivots to adapt and reinvent their business
Mid-size companies in particular are making significant changes to lines of products and services, with 75% reporting they have or plan to do so. Thirty percent of small businesses report a similar strategic shift. Nearly 80% of mid-size companies have already (17%) or are likely to makes changes to their pricing model (61%).
Remote work and emphasis on new skills highlight potential of long-term workplace changes
The U.S. workforce has experienced significant upheaval in recent months. According to the report, some of the changes could have long-lasting impact. Remote workplace, for example, could be here to stay as nearly 8 in 10 mid-size and almost 50% of small businesses are moving now and planning in the future to allow more employees to work from home. More than 60% of mid-size companies are also likely to replace current employees to add different skillsets, as well as move away from a traditional staffing model in favor of utilizing more contract workers.
Measured 12-month optimism is coupled with planning for expansion
Nearly 7 in 10 business expect their revenue to remain stable (40%) or increase (29%) the next year. Another 66% expect their profitability to remain stable (40%) or increase (26%) in the next year. Despite the challenging environment, roughly 70% of mid-size businesses are also thinking about expansion plans, with businesses in the Western U.S. leading all other regions in planning.
Some businesses are stronger today and focused on positive, long-term changes
Though businesses, especially manufacturers and retailers, have been negatively impacted by the pandemic, not all businesses have been impacted adversely. Nearly a quarter of businesses report a stronger competitive advantage. Another 41% say they’re adapting and making changes that will make them profitable and competitive long term.
According to Richard Cabrera, Umpqua’s head of corporate & commercial banking, there’s tremendous opportunity for financial institutions to continue rising to the occasion following the Paycheck Protection Program by providing tailored solutions that preserve cashflow and create efficiencies necessary to remain competitive in the current and post-COVID economy.
“The stakes in the current economy are high, and the pandemic is clearly forcing companies to carefully consider key aspects of their business and go-forward strategy,” said Cabrera. “With the help of experts in banking and other professional services, many small and mid-size enterprises will emerge from this crisis looking and behaving very differently, which likely will contribute to significant shifts in the U.S. economy as a whole.”
The Umpqua Bank “Business Resiliency” report surveyed more than 1,200 decisionmakers at small and mid-size companies across the country. The online survey was conducted in partnership with DHM Research, a public policy and business research firm, and targeted executives at companies with $500,000 to $500 million in annual revenue. The survey has a 2.8% margin of error and was fielded from June 15-July 7, 2020.
Read the full Business Resiliency Survey report.
About Umpqua Bank & Umpqua Investments
Umpqua Bank, headquartered in Roseburg, Ore., is a subsidiary of Umpqua Holdings Corporation, and has locations across Idaho, Washington, Oregon, California and Nevada. Umpqua Bank has been recognized for its innovative customer experience and banking strategy by national publications including The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, BusinessWeek, Fast Company and CNBC. The company has been recognized for eight years in a row on FORTUNE magazine's list of the country's "100 Best Companies to Work For," and was recently named by The Portland Business Journal the Most Admired Financial Services Company in Oregon for the twelfth consecutive year. In addition to its retail banking presence, Umpqua Bank owns Financial Pacific Leasing, Inc., a nationally recognized commercial finance company that provides equipment leases to small businesses. A subsidiary of Umpqua Holdings Corporation, Umpqua Investments, Inc., provides retail brokerage and investment advisory services in offices throughout Washington, Oregon, California and Nevada. Umpqua's Wealth Management Division serves high net worth individuals and nonprofits by providing customized financial solutions and offerings. Umpqua Holdings Corporation is headquartered in Portland, Ore.