Steve Clingen, SVP/C&I Group Head, at Republic Bank in Oak Brook was recently asked to weigh in on the nation’s economic future and how that affects the Chicagoland area. Steve puts his 35 years of banking experience to work every day leading our commercial banking division.

Article written by Richard Klicki
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If things are so good, why are we still so worried?

Business, in general, made it through 2019 in better shape than prognosticators had predicted. Inflation remained in check, unemployment was at record lows, stocks hovered at record highs and consumer confidence remained strong.

But despite all the good economic news, many industries remained challenged on several fronts, from the fallout of trade wars and unusually harsh weather to a continued shortage of qualified employees. Sectors from manufacturing to agriculture bore the brunt of the downturn.

On top of that, the specter of a recession continues to hover as the nation prepares to enter its most contentious presidential election in memory. Throw in the impeachment of President Donald Trump and the potential threat of war with Iran, and economic angst for the new year continues to grow.

How will the national economy and suburban business fare in 2020? We talked to three local experts — Gus Faucher, Chief Economist for PNC Bank in Chicago; Jeffrey Korzenik, Chief Investment Strategist at Fifth/Third Bank in Chicago; and Steve Clingen, Senior Vice President, C & I Group Head, at Republic Bank in Oak Brook — to get their take for the upcoming year.

There has been a lot of talk about a recession occurring this year. Do you believe we are heading into a recession?

The economy remains healthy, despite predictions of a recession for more than a year. Respondents have grown weary of talk of an impending recession and prefer to focus on their customers and staying ahead of the competition. A few of the business owners indicated 2018 and 2019 were among the best years in their company’s history. And even if the economy cools down, they feel it does not mean a recession is imminent; a cooling down period is actually common. They remain optimistic going into 2020.

  • Steve Clingen, senior vice president, C & I Group Head, Republic Bank in Oak Brook

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