Businesses are being cautious about buying new equipment or hiring, as the economic recovery languishes amid an environment of political uncertainty.
Meanwhile, if European monetary woes lead to a Eurozone collapse, it could drag the United States into a renewed recession — a worst-case scenario that has a 20 percent probability. In the best case, Europe will “keep muddling along,” stabilizing over the next 10 years, yet still slightly negatively affecting the U.S. economy in the short term.
Such were the musings of Kelly King, chairman and chief executive of BB&T, who offered his economic take Wednesday as guest speaker at the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce trustee luncheon.
Two months ago, King’s bank, based in Winston-Salem, N.C., acquired Fort Lauderdale-based BankAtlantic, elevating BB&T to the fifth largest bank in Florida, and taking over the naming rights at the arena in Sunrise now called BB&T Center. It is also the bank used by the chamber, said Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce Chairman Phillis Oeters.
“We love Florida; we love Miami,” said King, who recently bought a condo, along with his wife, in Longboat Key near Sarasota. “We’re very excited about the merger with BankAtlantic. It’s going extremely well. We love the clients. The associates are very happy. We’re enthusiastic about the area and this combination.”
During his keynote speech, titled “Implications of the Financial Crisis and a Look Forward,” King discussed the U.S. recession, current global economic turmoil and the sluggish recovery, linking it to political uncertainty.
“We’re in a very precarious position, to be honest with you,” he said, saying much hinges on the upcoming presidential election.
If there is a change in leadership, “we’ll have a spurt in the economy in the beginning of next year,” said King, who started his career at BB&T as a management trainee in 1972.
He ended his presentation on an optimistic note, outlining the five characteristics of outstanding achievers:
• “They believe completely and to their toes that they can and will be successful.”
• “They commit time and energy and resources to make it happen.”
• “They train themselves to have the best skills and to have what it takes to accomplish.”
• “They enjoy the journey,” which gives them “a sense of purpose and passion.”
• “They have an enthusiastic, positive attitude about life.”
“Life can bring you so much negativity; life will tend to drag you down,” King said. “But outstanding achievers know not to concentrate on that.”