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2017 business outlook

The good, the bad and the (sometimes) ugly truth about the year ahead By Alison Bailin Batz

T

o say that 2016 is going out with a bang is an understatement. But now, with the presidential election behind us, it is time to look forward. We sat down with business leaders from across the Airpark to discuss critical issues facing businesses and individuals in Arizona in the coming year.

Banking

Wa s h i n g t o n Federal reports that Arizona Banks are in good shape with capital ready for lending to commercial, business and consumers. “Real estaterelated lending will Mike Brown continue to be a big driver in 2017, in new multi-family apartments, residential housing developments and commercial and industrial,” says

46 | Scottsdale Airpark News January 2017

Washington Federal’s Mike Brown, an Airpark resident. “The middle market had robust growth in 2016, and we expect the same this year. “There is capital and equity coming in from investors already here in Arizona and from out of state, as well, to continue looking for opportunities.” It should be noted, however, that the regulatory and compliance environment has raised the cost of doing business dramatically. “To keep pace with the ever-increasing rules and new interpretations, we needed to hire more compliance and legal staff and set up more thorough reviews of our practices to ensure that we stay in compliance,” said Brown. “Hopefully, we will see some relief with the new administration.” And what about the never-ending talk about automation in banking? “We believe that automation isn’t a bad thing, as long as it is to support and enhance the delivery of services in a personable way, particularly when that service is delivered

via our smart phones,” Brown says. “We have recently overhauled our entire core system, thus allowing us to offer a new level of service and enhanced delivery. The conversion was not without some pain, but it sets us up very well for the future.”

Labor and employment/human resources

The biggest legal issues facing the human-resources industry continue to be from wage and hour compliance. “More and more of these lawsuits are filed each year f ro m e i t h e r t h e misclassification of Stephanie Quincy workers as ineligible for overtime when they actually should be getting paid time-and-a-half for hours worked over 40, or not correctly calculating

Scottsdale Airpark News - Jan. 2017  
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