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Wisconsin bankers say state's economy getting worse

Nine of every 10 Wisconsin bank executives say the state's economy is getting weaker.

That's according to the latest survey by the Wisconsin Bankers Association.

None of the 139 chief bank executives who responded said businesses in their markets would be hiring people in the next six months. And more than half expect local firms to cut employees.

Kurt Bauer, the head of the bankers' association, calls it ominous, distressing and a sign of the times.

About half the Wisconsin bank CEOs said they've tightened their lending standards to preserve their capital, or because of federal regulations.

The main reason for denying business loans in the last six months was a reduction in cash flow by the prospective borrowers.

The bankers said the housing- nd construction industries are the hardest hit by the recession.

Non-restaurant food businesses and agriculture appear to have held up the best so far.