RCU tops Forbes list of Wisconsin credit unions

Eau Claire-based Royal Credit Union took the top spot in Wisconsin on a new Forbes’ list of the best credit unions in every state.

The financial magazine released its list of top U.S. credit unions in late June, ranking them based on customer surveys and other measures.

“We are honored to be named by Forbes as one of the best credit unions in America,” Brandon Riechers, RCU’s president and CEO said in a news release.

Market research form Statista polled more than 25,000 Americans to get their opinions and current and former banking relationships. Along with overall satisfaction, the institutions were also scored on trust, terms and conditions, branch services, online services and financial advice.

Other credit unions that made Wisconsin’s list were Educator’s Credit Union (Racine), CoVantage Credit Union (Antigo), Blackhawk Community Credit Union (Janesville) and UW Credit Union (Madison).

CVTC launches website featuring alumni businesses

Chippewa Valley Technical College recently launched a website featuring businesses started by its alumni.

An effort of CVTC’s alumni association, the website is intended to give exposure to the college’s graduates who have established their own companies.

The website can be found at cvtc.edu/alumni/alumni-market.

Report says state less competitive than neighbors

A new UW-Madison report ranked Wisconsin 21st in the U.S. when it comes to economic competitiveness, putting it behind its neighbors in the Midwest.

Researchers in the university’s Center for Community and Economic Development did reconsider the idea that lower taxes and business costs are paramount when it comes to growing a state’s economy.

“It suggests the traditional view of a positive business climate and competitiveness is wrong: higher taxes are not necessarily bad for economic performance,” the report stated.

Focused on innovation, the research’s rankings instead looked at the number of patents awarded, broadband coverage and the amount of PhDs earned in states. Crime rates and measures of public health were also considered.

Using its methodology, the report ranked Minnesota as fifth in economic competitiveness. Other Midwest states and their rankings were: Michigan (13th), Illinois (16th) and Iowa (20th).

Wisconsin firms hurt by tariffs, but back them

Tariffs imposed by the Trump administration are hurting half of the Wisconsin companies that responded to a recent survey, but a larger amount still support the policy.

The semi-annual economic survey conducted by Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce found that 67% of the 204 respondents “strongly” or “somewhat” support tariffs on China.

That was greater than the 47% who said tariffs are having a negative effect on their businesses.

“Wisconsin business leaders demand fairness in our trade relations with other nations,” WMC president and CO Kurt Bauer said in a news release.

The U.S. opens its markets to foreign companies expecting reciprocal treatment, Bauer said, adding that doesn’t always occur, especially when it comes to China.

President Donald Trump’s approval rating in the survey was 80% — unchanged from when businesses leaders were polled six months ago.

Economic optimism had gone down slightly in the last six months in the survey. Exactly half of respondents said they will add staff during the last six months of 2019 — down from 55% in December’s survey.

The U.S. economy was rated as “strong” to “very strong” by 77% of respondents in the latest survey, down from 81% six months ago.

This survey was the first since Democrat Tony Evers took office as Wisconsin’s governor and most opposed his work so far. Of those who took the survey, 55% strongly disapproved of Evers’ job performance and about 22% somewhat disapproved of it.

From staff reports