January 7, 2019
19 on '19

Banking: An economic downturn could be lurking

Photo / Courtesy KeyBank
Photo / Courtesy KeyBank
Chip Kelley, Maine market president for KeyBank

Chip Kelley took over last summer as Maine market president for KeyBank, which has 49 Maine offices and nearly $2.5 billion in deposits. He has broad experience in commercial banking in Maine, at Bank of America and, since 2005, at KeyBank. Kelley's outlook for 2019 is mixed, he says.

On the plus side, he points to land-based projects, the Chinese paper company Nine Dragons' commitment to the re-start of the Old Town mill and continued growth in Greater Portland. He's hopeful the new administration in Augusta will be able to work in a bipartisan way.

He expects that public-private economic development partnerships will continue to proliferate. "There are a lot of great examples of the success of this," he says, citing the state Department of Economic and Community Development, Finance Authority of Maine, Maine & Co., Maine Technology Institute, Maine International Trade Center, FocusMaine.

"Whether through a Maine Technology Asset Fund grant provided to a startup by MTI, a site selection project led by Maine & Co. or strategic direction charted by FocusMaine-led analysis, there are a myriad of organizations working together to grow and strengthen the Maine economy," he says.

But his views are tempered by the threat of an economic downturn. "While I believe this year will see growth, I also believe we will face a contraction/recession in the not-too-distant future," he says.

"Despite all this good news, I believe we will face a contraction/recession in 2019 or 2020. Fortunately, the deeper, broader and more rooted our economy becomes the better we'll be able to withstand the impending contraction/recession."

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