- The overall index rose to highest level since July 2015.
- Almost one in four bank CEOs said the Federal Reserve should raise short-term interest rates at June meetings.
- Agriculture equipment-sales index jumped to its highest level in more than two years.
- Approximately 28.9 percent of bankers named rising regulatory costs as the biggest challenge to banking operations over the next 5 years.
- Approximately 11.1 percent of bankers reported farm foreclosures represented the greatest risk to banking operations, more than double the 4.5 percent who identified such foreclosures as the greatest risk in May 2016 survey.
Overall: The index, which ranges between 0 and 100, climbed to 50.1 from 44.6 in April. May’s reading was the highest recorded reading since July 2015. The last time the overall index was at or above growth neutral was August 2015.
“Stabilizing and slightly improving farm commodity prices helped push the overall index into a weak but above growth neutral for May,” said Ernie Goss, Jack A. MacAllister Chair in Regional Economics at Creighton University's Heider College of Business. “The U.S. Department of Agriculture is projecting that net U.S. farm income will sink by 8.7 percent to $62.3 billion for 2017, the fourth consecutive year of declines after reaching a record high in 2013. This downward trend has weighted on our survey results for almost two years.”
This month, and in May 2016, bank CEOs were asked to name the biggest economic challenge to their banking operations over the next five years. The largest share of bankers, or 28.9 percent, named rising regulatory costs as the top challenge or risk. This is almost the same percent as 2016. More than one in five, or 26.7 percent, detailed government subsidized competition from Farm Credit and credit unions as the greatest challenge, or almost double the 13.6 percent reported in May 2016.