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Majority of Businesses in Wisconsin Plan on Investing in Their Business in 2014 - BMO Harris Bank Study

MILWAUKEE, WI -- (Marketwired) -- 03/13/14 --

  • 56 percent of respondents in Wisconsin plan on investing in their businesses in 2014
  • Upgrading or purchasing new equipment the most comment investment (28 percent), followed by expanding operations and hiring new employees

BMO Harris Bank released a study today that found the majority of business owners/executives in Wisconsin plan on investing in their business in 2014. Upgrading or purchasing new equipment, along with adding to their work force were cited as the primary expenditures planned.

"The economic recovery that has been taking place over the past few years has been driven by businesses of all shapes and sizes," said Jeff Ticknor, Managing Director and Head, Commercial Banking, Wisconsin, BMO Harris Bank. "With that in mind, it is promising to note that, in the coming year, a majority of business leaders in Wisconsin have plans to invest capital back into their businesses in pursuit of further growth."

When business owners/executives were asked where they would make those business investments:

  • 28 percent said they would upgrade or purchase new equipment
  • 20 percent plan to hire more employees
  • 20 percent were planning to expand operations

Nearly half (44 percent) of respondents in Wisconsin are not planning business investments in 2014, with the current economic climate (28 percent) and a lack of capital on hand (20 percent) cited as the primary reasons.

National Results from the Survey

When business owners/executives nationwide were asked where they would make business investments:

  • 42 percent said they would upgrade or purchase new equipment
  • 26 percent planned on hiring more employees
  • 25 percent were focused on modernizing technology and systems
  • 24 percent planned on expanding operations

"These numbers shouldn't come as a surprise," added Jud Snyder, Managing Director and Head, BMO Harris Equipment Finance Company. "They reflect what we've seen over the past 18-24 months, with companies making more investments in capital expenditures for both maintenance and expansion."

Notably, business executives and owners of companies with revenues of over $20 million per year were particularly bullish, with over 80 percent planning on investing in their business in 2014.

Financing Options Vary

As for funding, the majority (58 percent) nationwide plan on making their business investments with cash reserves. 11 percent plan to fund the investments entirely through borrowing, while 31 percent plan on doing a combination of both.

"These findings display continued conservatism with the use of debt for funding growth -- a conservatism that stems from lessons learned during the recent recession," said Snyder. "However, with interest rates still at historically low levels, intermediate-term borrowing should still be strongly considered as an option for financing future growth."

For more commentary on the survey findings, visit the BMO Harris Commercial Bank Resource Center:

The survey was conducted by Pollara with an online sample of 601 American business owners in November, 2013. A probability sample of this size would be accurate to +/- 4%, 19 times out of 20.

About BMO Harris Bank
BMO Harris Bank's commercial banking team provides a combination of sector expertise, local knowledge and mid-market focus throughout the U.S. BMO Harris Bank provides a broad range of personal banking products and solutions through over 600 branches and approximately 1,300 ATMs in Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana, Kansas, Missouri, Minnesota, Arizona and Florida. For more information about BMO Harris Bank, go to the company fact sheet. Deposit and loan products and services provided by BMO Harris Bank N.A. BMO Harris® and BMO Harris Bank® are trade names used by BMO Harris Bank N.A. Member FDIC. BMO Harris Bank is part of BMO Financial Group, a North American financial organization with approximately 1,600 branches, and approximately CDN $593 billion in assets (as of January 31, 2014).

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