M&T survey shows greater optimism among mid-market managers

Lambrow

(See full report below)

A report from M&T Bank shows a higher level of optimism among managers of mid-market businesses in the region.

Gary Keith, vice president and regional economist, said the survey saw a “swing in business sentiment,” following the election.

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The survey covered the M&T region, which extends from New York to the Baltimore-Washington area. In such a large sample, responses from Delaware would be statistically insignificant.

Also, a part of the survey is the commercial real estate industry.

Keith and Nick Lambrow, Delaware regional president for M&T, said results for Delaware reflected the regional outlook.

According to Lambrow, observations “on the ground” show at least a moderate degree of confidence, an improvement from the cautious optimism reported earlier.

The M&T loan pipeline is also strong, according to Lambrow, who believes the confidence is leading to investments.

Keith

“We had one customer buy ten trucks,” Lambrow noted.

Lambrow also sees larger developments aiding the state, pointing to the Delaware Turf athletic complex now being built near Dover and the University of Delaware STAR Campus, the former site of the Newark Chrysler plant.

Other pluses for the longer-term future of the economy come from DuPont spin-off Chemours staying in Delaware and a decision by DuPont to invest $200 million in its experimental stations while inviting other companies to use the site.

Delaware Turf will capitalize on the boom in weekend soccer, baseball, and other athletic events and bring more tourism dollars to central Delaware.

Highway construction has also been a plus for the state, with expansion work on Route 1 and the Middletown bypass project, Lambrow added.

Another plus for the economy is the stability of the poultry industry, according to Lambrow. The industry has invested in new equipment, with growers upgrading their chicken houses.

Keith said mid-market companies are looking for relief from regulations and health care costs. Company owners and managers surveyed stated that health care costs are a factor in stagnant growth in wages.

.Both Keith and Lambrow caution that the current mood also has a wait and see element with those surveyed waiting for infrastructure, health care reform and regulatory packages that might aid their businesses.

“The next surveys will be interesting,” Keith said.

M&T is a leading commercial lender in Delaware and typically finishes at the top of the list in Small Business Administration loans.

Serving mid-market companieshas long been a priority for M&T, a Buffalo, NY based company that once went under the name Manufacturers and Traders Trust. M&T entered the Delaware market several years ago with the acquisition of Wilmington Trust.

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