Unsurprisingly, industry consolidation was one of the main themes discussed during the Wisconsin Bankers Association's annual conference in Milwaukee Feb. 6-8. Hundreds of bankers from around the state attended the event, which included speakers such as Rich Karlgaard of Forbes magazine, Patrick Wilder of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, and Ron Feldman, executive vice president and senior policy adviser at the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.

Several key issues were discussed regarding the outlook of the Wisconsin banking industry:

  • Like elsewhere in the nation, consolidation of the state's banks is expected to continue, while the pace of that consolidation is unknown.
  • Banks in Wisconsin will remain heavily focused on real estate-related lending.
  • The smallest banks, those with less than $50 million in assets, have sharply declined in number over the past 30 years and are in danger of disappearing altogether in Wisconsin. In 1985, there were 68 of these banks; in 2000, there were 27; and in 2016, six. If trends continue, Feldman projected that, by 2025, banks of this size could cease to exist in Wisconsin.
  • Banks with $100 million to $150 million in assets, along with banks with $150 million to $500 million in assets, are expected to grow their market share.

Read the original article from the Milwaukee Business Journal.