A BMO Harris Bank survey suggests many Indiana business leaders are upbeat about their companies' prospects for 2014. The bank says nearly all respondents believe their companies will grow this year, or stay the same. The research also shows nearly half think the state economy will maintain current levels, while only 34 percent have the same opinion about the national economy.

January 16, 2014

News Release

Indianapolis, Ind. — BMO Harris Bank released a study today that found that business owners in Indiana are optimistic for the prospects for success of their own businesses for the coming year. Ninety-seven percent of Hoosier business owners surveyed feel that their business will either grow or stay at the same level in 2014. Their outlook on the state economy as a whole is also positive, but their outlook on the U.S. economy is mixed.

“More and more, we're seeing Indiana business owners looking to the future for growth and expansion,” said Andrew Cardimen, Managing Director and Head, Commercial Banking, Indiana, BMO Harris Bank. “While some caution still exists about the economic environment, businesses are feeling confident that they have weathered the worst and are stronger for it.”

When asked about the state economy, nearly half of the Hoosier business owners surveyed expected to see the economy hold at current levels and more than a quarter believe it will improve:

• 29 percent of respondents feel that Indiana's economy will improve in 2014.

• 49 percent believe it will stay the same.

• 23 percent believe it will worsen, which is a bit more pessimistic than the 15 percent average of business owners around the U.S.

Respondents were also asked to identify what they felt was the biggest advantage to doing business in Indiana compared to elsewhere in the United States. Answers were varied, but the top six were:

• Talent Pool/Skilled Workers/Work Ethic (11 percent)

• Good/Central Location (6 percent)

• Good Government/Governor/Politicians (6 percent)

• Good/Stable/Growing Economy (6 percent)

• Lower Taxes (6 percent)

• Good Business Climate/Environment (6 percent)

“There are many advantages to doing business in Indiana and that is probably one of the reasons our state has fared relatively well during the economic recovery,” added Mr. Cardimen. “Our strong Midwestern work ethic, great location and good business environment continue to prove an asset to Indiana businesses.”

Indiana Business Owners Mirror National Results from the Survey

When asked about expectations for the national economy, Indiana business owners and business owners throughout the country voiced exactly the same responses:

• 37 percent expect the economy to improve.

• 34 percent expect it to stay the same.

• 29 percent expect the economy to worsen

Survey findings can be found at the BMO Harris Commercial Resource Center.

Positive Forecast for 2014 from BMO Economics

A recent report from BMO Economics on U.S. economic prospects for 2014 was considerably upbeat, given a combination of record levels of household wealth, lower debt, lower gas prices and improved prospects for employment.

“The clouds are parting, and therefore we're forecasting GDP growth of 2.9 percent for the coming year,” said Michael Gregory, Head of U.S. Economics, BMO Capital Markets. “We foresee increased consumer spending and business investment along with export growth and improved household finances all playing a part in creating strong growth in 2014.”

The survey was conducted by Pollara with an online sample of 601 American business owners (including an oversample of 50 Indiana owners) in November, 2013. A probability sample of this size would be accurate to +/- 4 percent, 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 $537 billion in assets (as of Oct. 31, 2013).

Source: BMO Harris Bank

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