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Banking & Finance

FEATURE: SunTrust: Small and Mid-market Businesses Bullish on Economic and Company Growth; High expectations for Health care and Tax reform

SBJ SPECIAL REPORT
March 22, 2017 - According to the annual Business Pulse Survey by SunTrust Banks, Inc. (NYSE: STI), nearly two-thirds of business leaders expect the global and U.S. economy to improve through 2017. Even more optimistic about their own companies, as 75 percent of middle market (annual revenue of $10-150 million) and small business (annual revenue of $2-10 million) leaders feel their business outlook is strong. Both segments have high expectations for healthcare (46 percent) and tax reform (44 percent) as a catalyst for growth. Mid-market leaders also cite reducing regulations (39 percent) and investments in infrastructure (37 percent) as ways to spur business momentum.

“This year, business leaders are feeling very prepared to take advantage of growth opportunities, 75 percent believe they have access to the critical capital needed,” said Allison Dukes, Commercial and Business Banking executive at SunTrust. “Three out of four have a goal-setting process linked to long-term growth strategies and are comfortable that they will achieve their goals.”

In 2017, the short term priority for 31 percent of mid-market companies is profitability, a 29 percent increase since 2016; while 34 percent of small businesses are focused on revenue, a 54 percent increase from last year.

Looking out five years, introducing a new product or service is still the top long-term strategy to stimulate growth for both mid-market (40 percent) and small business leaders (31 percent), while making a major capital investment (31 percent) and acquiring another company (17 percent) is a greater priority for the mid-market. To undertake these initiatives, common strategies include using cash on hand, reducing costs, obtaining a bank loan and reinvesting corporate earnings.

“Over the past four years, businesses in the small and mid-markets have taken incremental steps toward growing their companies, including M&A, hiring, and improving cash flow. At SunTrust, our purpose is to Light the Way to Financial Well-Being for our clients, and we have been working with them to ensure they have the tools and capabilities to grow their business in a smart way. Now, they see an opportunity for significant structural changes in taxes and regulations to unleash additional business growth,” added Dukes.

Decision-makers representing more than 500 small and mid-size businesses participated in the SunTrust/Radius Global Market Research survey. Survey results have a maximum margin of error of +/- 5 percentage points at a 90 percent confidence level.

Headquartered in Atlanta, SunTrust operates an extensive branch and ATM network throughout the high-growth Southeast and Mid-Atlantic states.  As of December 31, 2016, SunTrust had total assets of $205 billion and total deposits of $160 billion. 

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