For entrepreneurs still feeling the sting of global supply chain turbulence, there is a new tool coming to market. Amazon Web Services is delving into supply chain management with a new cloud-based application to help businesses manage their inventory and coordinate their networks of manufacturers, suppliers, distribution facilities, and transportation providers.
The machine learning-powered software, which is now available in preview, offers a real-time visual map of a company’s entire supply chain network and aggregates data from other enterprise applications and suppliers into a single system. Based on that information, the application offers automated alerts and recommendations about inventory rebalancing, lead times, and potential risks, such as backlogs or stocks that are running low.
AWS CEO Adam Selipsky announced AWS Supply Chain during the AWS re:Invent conference in Las Vegas last week. “The past two years have highlighted the importance of supply chain resilience. From baby formula shortages to ships circling ports unable to unload, the disruptions have been widespread and deeply felt,” said Selipsky during his keynote speech. “AWS Supply Chain helps you mitigate risks and lower costs.”
While congestion in the global supply chain has improved from the worst levels seen during the height of the pandemic, managing logistics remains a pressing problem facing entrepreneurs. In November, the global supply chain pressure index increased for the second straight month. The New York Federal Reserve, which calculates the measure, said that China was the biggest contributing factor.
The manufacturing superpower, which produces nearly 30 percent of products worldwide, spent much of the past month under strict Covid-19 lockdowns, and that nationwide halt has slowed the global supply chain’s march back to normal. Small-business owners have felt the impact. Nearly a third of business owners report that supply chain disruptions have had a significant impact on their business, according to the most recent monthly report from the National Federation of Independent Business.
Of those surveyed, only one out of 10 said that their business had not been impacted by recent supply chain disruptions. Fixing that pain point has become a major opportunity for the B2B market, and AWS is not the first company to make a leap into the sector. Logistics and supply chain management grew into a $20.24 billion industry this year, according to the research and consulting firm Gartner–making it the fastest-growing market within enterprise software applications.
Even Selipsky’s rollout at the AWS re:Invent conference came less than a month after Microsoft unveiled its own supply chain management platform in mid-November. Still, Amazon, which ships 1.6 million packages a day, could be uniquely situated to solve the supply chain crunch for other businesses, because the homegrown tool harnesses Amazon’s own expertise and data.
“It combines nearly three decades of Amazon.com’s innovation and learning and experience with its own supply chain as we’ve modeled and built it over the years,” said Tariq Choudry, manager of new products and strategy for AWS. He spoke during a breakout session at the conference that discussed applying machine learning to the supply chain and detailed more of the functionality of AWS Supply Chain.
Be warned: Business owners should prepare to keep dealing with logistical problems in the new year, because the AWS CEO made it clear that its foray into supply chain management is a long-term play. “This is just the beginning,” said Selipsky in his keynote speech. “We’re going to continue to invest here.”
Existing home sales fell for the seventh straight month in August as rising interest rates continued to sideline potential home buyers, and prices are finally starting to fall from record highs as experts project that the next few months could help ease the housing sector’s long-standing affordability crisis.
Existing home sales ticked down 0.4% from July to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.8 million in August, down from 6 million one year ago after declines across the U.S., according to data released Wednesday by the National Association of Realtors.
In a statement, NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun called the housing sector “most sensitive to” the Federal Reserve’s interest rate hikes and said the softness in home sales reflects this year’s escalating mortgage rates, which peaked at 6% last week and have driven up the cost of monthly payments on new mortgages by more than 55%, an average of hundreds of dollars each month.
Amid the falling demand, the median existing home price has tumbled from a record high of $413,800 in June to $389,500 in August, down for a second straight month to the lowest level since March after breaking a five-month streak of gains.
The 7.7% yearly uptick in August home prices was the slowest year-over-year increase since June 2020, and NAR projects the median existing home price could fall more than 5% to $380,000 by the end of this year.
Others are eyeing steeper losses: In a Wednesday note, Pantheon Macro chief economist Ian Shepherdson said he expects a “sustained decline” in the sector through next spring, with prices falling as much as 20% from their peak by the middle of next year and in time helping rent inflation, which climbed 7% year over year last month, come down next year.
“Sales lag mortgage applications, which continue to fall and point to further significant declines,” Shepherdson said, predicting sales are on course to drop by another 10% or so within the next two months and adding that “even that might not be the low,” depending on what happens to mortgage rates over the next few weeks.
“Inventory will remain tight in the coming months and even for the next couple of years,” Yun says. “Some homeowners are unwilling to trade up or trade down after locking in historically low mortgage rates in recent years, increasing the need for more new-home construction to boost supply.”
On Wednesday, real estate brokerage Redfin reported that the ten regions where housing is cooling the fastest are almost all either costly West Coast markets, or places that drew scores of relocating home buyers during the pandemic and became significantly less affordable. They include San Jose, San Diego, Las Vegas, Phoenix and Denver.
“Housing, in short, is in recession, and everything connected to housing either is in recession now or soon will be, but the rest of the economy is not in recession because a regular housing downturn is not enough to crash the 90% of [gross domestic product] that is not housing,” says Shepherdson.
Fall has arrived and if you think your home needs a little upgrading after the summer, you’re probably right. But while most people associate fall decor with pumpkin spice, the color brown, tacky statement pillows, or home fragrances that smell like food, a fall refresh doesn’t have to mean any of this. We’re not quite ready for the holidays, so there is plenty of time to focus on spaces such as bedrooms, kitchens, and bathrooms by adding fresh bedding, chic accessories and luxurious home fragrances. From new launches to old favorites, here’s everything your home needs right now.
Still working from home? Say farewell to ordinary office chairs. Why not upgrade your comfort and style at the same time with a chic office chair from Elizabeth Sutton Collection? After all, you need to sit somewhere. With several styles available and a choice of gold or silver casters, and a white or black frame, these add a true pop of fun to any workspace.
Trying to manifest more this fall? It’s easy when you’re burning a Jill & Ally The Elements Crystal Candle. The brand is owned by everyone’s favorite New York Housewife Jill Zarin. Choose from blue agate (water), red agate (fire), green fluorite (earth), or clear quartz (air). Whether you use this candle as part of a manifestation ritual or just as decor, it’s a great way to add color or change the vibe of a room instantly. When the candle is finished burning, keep the crystal.
With the passing of Queen Elizabeth, this cool yet stylish portrait is the perfect way to pay tribute to Her Majesty in a living room, bedroom, or even dining room. Available in two sizes, it has been selling like hot crumpets. If you’re the only queen in your home, Cheery Designs has a great selection of unique pieces that might be more suitable.
Got too much sand in your sheets this summer? Treat yourself to something new. Boll and Branch recently launched a super luxurious Reserve Sheet Set. Made from the longest staple 100 percent organic cotton available, it’s impossible to go wrong with these sheets. Get ready for the silk-like feel to help lull you to sleep.
Those with more modern tastes will appreciate The Citizenry’s Stone Washed Linen Sheet Set. Available in a variety of colors and styles, including White, Olive, and Gingham, these sheets are a great way to warm up a modern bedroom. Don’t forget a linen bathrobe to match.
Launching on September 21st, Weezie Shower Curtains are the ideal bathroom accessory in a traditional to contemporary style bathroom. They complement the brand’s signature monogrammed towels instantly elevating the space to new levels of sophistication. Choose from two sizes and blue or grey scalloped edges.
However, if it is your kitchen that needs a little something extra, the L’Avant Collective Marble Dish Soap Kitchen Counter Tray will automatically boost your sink space. Made from the finest white Banswara marble and featuring brass accent details, it’s a chic way to display all of your favorite L’Avant Collective products.
Jenni Kayne’s cookware collaboration with Staub couldn’t possibly be any more stylish if the designer tried. Made in France, the White Truffle hue is the epitome of magnifique. Choose from an Oval Gratin or a Round Cocotte dish in a choice of two sizes. Each one has an exclusive nickel steel knob. It’s the perfect marriage of understated and jaw-dropping.
This topaz tumbler from curated online marketplace Berner and Co is a sleek way to serve everything from sparkling water to cool cocktails at your Fall soiree (or just to make any meal feel a bit more festive). Take your tablescape to brand new heights with these fabulous drinking vessels.
Speaking of tablescapes, there’s no easier way to create one than with The Bouqs new fall flower collection. Whether you prefer white arrangements, something with crimsons and oranges, or perhaps plants instead of flowers, there is something for every aesthetic. Better yet, with a subscription, you can send a monthly arrangement to yourself or to someone else and change it up each month.
But if you want to buy an arrangement and have it last for up to a year, it’s impossible to go wrong with Venus Et Fleur. The new stone collection is a welcome upgrade from the brand’s signature packaging. While the marble vessels are undeniably luxe, the sandstone vases are a great complement to a minimalist room. Choose from a variety of roses and other arrangements.
Forget books of matches and disposable plastic lighters, Seth Rogen has figured out a way for matches to go upscale with the Houseplant Pebble Match Strike. It looks like two stones, but open up this modern objéct to find a stash of matches. Keep it on a bar cart, side table or to decorate a bookshelf.
But sometimes fires aren’t always welcome, which is why it’s important for every home to have a fire extinguisher within reach. Fortunately, Weston Table makes decorative and functional ones. Choose from a variety of styles from constellations to whale and dog designs. This also makes a smart housewarming gift. Ten percent of sales are donated to the National Parks Foundation.
Fable recently launched a gorgeous collection of dinnerware perfect for any fall table. Cool and modern, the green color is a simple way to add a rustic hue to your table, whether you’re having a dinner party or just want to make things look nicer every day.
But those with more traditional tastes will absolutely fawn over Dondolo’s tabletop collaboration with dress designer Sue Sartor. Choose from Peony White or Peony Pale Blue Dinner Plates and Salad Plates. Each item is handcrafted and unique. Don’t forget to add the matching placemats and napkins. What a dreamy way to bring a touch of the south to any table.
Neon Lace’s Drink Dresses serve the same purpose as wine charms without looking hideous. Available in linen or lace, these decorative accessories make everything from wine to coupe glasses look all dressed up for the party.
Why shouldn’t your fridge have a designer touch? These cute Kate Space food containers are the perfect way to store leftover food. The Floral Fields pattern has a lively vintage vibe with a bamboo top that reads “Anything is possible.” Far nicer to eat from on the go than a standard glass food container, it makes any leftover meal taste just a little bit better.
But if your pantry shelves or refrigerator are in desperate need of a makeover, Home+Sort’s line of organizers with mDesign will check every box. From airtight jars perfect for rice to lovely lattice baskets made for holding snacks or boxes of pasta, you will wonder how you ever lived without this indispensable product line.
If you like to display olive oil in the kitchen or on the table, why not choose a delicious one with a stylish bottle such as Branche Olive Oil? This farm-to-bottle extra virgin olive oil is made with olives from the south of Spain. With clean, modern packaging and a wood stopper, design is key here. No 1 has a bolder flavor and features a green bottle while No 2 has a milder flavor and has a white bottle.
Looking for an environmentally friendly way to clean up? Arbour Every Day Spray is the perfect way to do it. This fragrance-free spray works hard to clean up grease, grime, and everyday dirt quickly. Best of all, it is totally safe, non-toxic, and antimicrobial.
If you’re trying to cut down on plastic, live a more eco-friendly lifestyle, or simply dislike those cumbersome bottles of detergent or messy powders— you will love Ecos Plastic-Free Dishwasher Detergent Sheets. Just put a sheet in the soap compartment (you need to fold it a few times) and turn it on your desired setting. Your dishes will come out sparkling clean.
Traditional devotees will love the Coley Porter Side Table. It’s so versatile that it can work as a bedside table, a desk for smaller spaces, or even as a petite bar in a living room or dining room. Available through the brand’s quick ship program, it can be customized with a selection of fabrics and shipped in just ten days.
Why just grab some ice from the refrigerator when you can display it in a beautiful ice bucket from Katie Kime? The ultimate bar cart accessory, this bucket is available in lucite, gold and silver as well as more than 37 patterns and colors. Don’t forget to add a monogram. This also makes a very thoughtful gift, especially for someone who frequently entertains.
Make this lucite dish from ArtSugar the true star of your coffee table or nightstand. Perfect for jewelry, tiny candies or just to be decorative, it’s a great accessory for any surface that needs a touch of fun.
Looking for some extra inspiration for your renovations this fall? Interior designer Anne Hepfer’s book Mood has all the inspiration you need. They say not to judge a book by its cover, but this book’s bold royal blue cover is showstopping. Just wait until you see all the beautiful projects featured inside the pages.
Want your home to smell like heaven all the time? Inspired by the scent of exotic white flowers, the Kai Reed Diffuser gets pretty close. With a modern square bottle and brown reeds, it’s a truly decorative accent that also makes a very thoughtful gift. Better yet, it’s free of parabens, sulfates, phthalates, and phosphates. Not into reed diffusers? Candles and room spray are also available in the brand’s signature as well as Rose scents.
But if you prefer to diffuse an essential oil, opt for the Aroma Om Stone Diffuser in stone. Clean and minimalist looking, it features a matte finish and ceramic cover. It mists for up to three hours and shuts off automatically. It can also light up and be used as a nightlight.
34 boulevard Saint Germain is the newest fragrance from famed perfumer Diptyque. The chic candle is packaged in an opaline glass vessel and features notes of black current leave, moss, and florals. It has a spicy woodsy scent that’s undeniably sophisticated. Make any room feel perfectly on brand this fall.
Pets are great, but the odors they create leave much to be desired, especially on carpets and upholstery. Fortunately, Zoop is amazing at getting rid of pet odors and stains. Best of all, it has a fresh scent (not a chemical scent) and each bottle lasts for months. Stock up before it gets sold out again.
Are your knives feeling a little dull? Upgrade this season with a set of highly functional knives that just happen to be sleekly designed. Material knives are made from Japanese stainless steel and high carbon. This set includes a bread knife, paring knife, and chef’s knife. The sage handles simply stun.
There’s nothing that feels like a fresh, new tea towel. Magic Linen Ruffle Trim Linen Tea Towels are just so pretty and classic. Whether you’re drying off plates every day or a platter post-dinner party, these tea towels are a must. Match any kitchen with twelve different colors and prints from neutrals to shades of blue and stripes.
It’s no secret that e-commerce has skyrocketed in the past few years. Fueled by the global pandemic, a study from US Census Bureau showed that ecommerce grew 43% in 2020. Two years later, it’s still going strong — and likely never to return to pre-pandemic levels despite some near-term signs of economic slowing.
Today, online shopping accounts for 20% of total retail globally, and that number is expected to hit 30% by the end of the decade. But the digital economy doesn’t operate in a silo. It includes a massive web of packaging, shipping, warehousing, and distribution systems that deliver on the digital promise. This physical infrastructure is what keeps the digital e-commerce world operating.
But along with the growing popularity of buying online, the e-commerce segment has also experienced some growing pains. For instance, consumer demands are — well — never-ending. Traditional peak buying cycles like back-to-school season and holiday season have been supplanted by an “every day is a holiday” mentality.
An increasingly savvy consumer market means that buyers are putting major pressure on retail companies to deliver more, at a faster rate, more reliably, and more socially conscious than ever before. Expedited shipping is no longer enough.
At the same time, the global supply chain has been anything but reliable. And while it is improving, according to the Global Supply Chain Pressure Index, companies are still dealing with the pressure of extended delays. Added to consumer pressures and supply chain challenges, companies have been navigating talent shortages — struggling to staff not just their retail stores but warehouses, as well.
The ongoing issues have left many retailers to wonder how to keep up with the increasing demands of the e-commerce segment while remaining profitable at the same time. For an increasingly growing number of businesses, an investment in warehouse automation may be the right place to start.
Transforming the Traditional Warehouse Setting
Traditionally, warehouses and distribution centers have been labor-intensive operation centers with a large number of employees moving inventory to the right place. Typically located in rural areas — although Amazon is slowly changing that with their distribution centers — these centers have played a huge role, albeit hidden role, in keeping our economy up and running.
And while supply chain challenges and issues from the pandemic have definitely changed things, we were starting to see an increasing number of businesses turn to other technologies to lessen the risk of their supply chains, prior to 2020.
From autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) that help grab, sort, and pick items from the warehouse floor to aerial drones that help with inventory, these options will be in warehouses everywhere in the coming decade, I’m sure.
Other companies are investing hundreds of millions into their own proprietary bots. Even for smaller businesses, the economics of investing in warehouse automation are clear. Robots are reliable and cheaper than humans.
Benefits of Warehouse Automation
Regardless, what form it takes, warehouse automation offers many benefits, and businesses around the world are buying in. According to our recent report, some of the key benefits include:
A more efficient workplace. With warehouse automation solutions like autonomous mobile robots (ARMs), drones, and automated storage/retrieval systems, businesses can fulfil orders more quickly, more safely, and more predictably than with human workers. This means not just that customers are more satisfied but that businesses are working more efficiently — and with less risk — overall.
A more agile “workforce.” Given the many any issues impacting the retail segment, companies need to be agile and ready to change on a dime. For instance, during the pandemic, many businesses shifted to a purely online, direct-to-consumer (DTC) model to create a stronger bond with their customers. While humans may need lengthy training after such a major business model change, robots do not. This allows businesses to be more flexible and responsive to the current environment.
Less reliance on humans. Given that many people left the workforce during the Great Resignation, a move toward warehouse automation means less disruption and fewer shutdowns when humans are unavailable to work. Indeed, the warehouse sector used to be a human intensive industry. But with bots, there’s no training, no need for breaks, and no staffing shortages. Bots can even work 24 hours a day to keep up with demand.
A more accurate inventory. Human error is an issue for every company, but using warehouse automation and AI can help create more accurate numbers overall, be it for inventory counts, production location, shipping details, etc. Again, this is a huge bonus when it comes to customer satisfaction, as buyers want to know that the products they order are available as promised, rather than receiving an “out of stock” notice or unexpectedly delayed shipment after an order has already been placed.
Data-rich Environment. This is a data-driven economy. And because warehouse automation is AI driven, it allows for the acquisition of data throughout its life cycle. This could be used for asset tracking, quality assurance, or any number of processes associated with the Internet of Things (IoT).
Augmented staffing. Lastly, warehouse automation can be used not just to replace, but to augment the capacity of current staff so that they can focus on more important things, be it business strategy, customer service inquiries, or sales.
Warehouse Automation and the Future of E-commerce
While right now some warehouse and distribution centers might be operating in survival mode, I fully believe we will see an expansion of warehouse automation in the future. Though some might argue that fully autonomous warehouses would be the ultimate goal, I think that automation technologies and humans will work in conjunction, driving the future of e-commerce forward—
This symbiotic partnership between humans and machines (automation, robots, AI) was the thesis of the book “Human/Machine” that Olivier Blanchard and I wrote in 2019, and we are seeing this come to fruition today with warehouse automation being a good example.
I think in the next decade we are going to see a greater reliance on warehouse automation to be more resilient and agile. Right now, forward-thinking organizations need to understand the opportunity to take their current automation plans and push them further, building a foundation that will meet the needs for the future of e-commerce. Those that don’t might struggle to exist by the end of the decade.
“Peak euphoria is behind us. We are giving back some of the euphoria [home] pricing that was rolling over every housing market,” says Rick Palacios Jr., head of research at John Burns Real Estate Consulting. Existing home inventory will continue to rise, and homebuilding will continue to slow. At least that’s the view at John Burns Real Estate Consulting, which does consulting work for both builders and investors. As it does, the ongoing housing recession (i.e. a contracting housing market) could push home prices lower in bubbly regional housing markets.
Indeed, many bubbly markets, Palacios says, are barreling toward price cuts in both 2023 and 2024. That includes markets like Phoenix, Nashville, West Palm Beach, Las Vegas, and Austin. In Boise, Palacios says, home prices could go negative on a year-over-year basis as soon as December. “Builders are already [deciding] to not pour slabs in certain markets. Which is the technical trigger for a start for a home. In certain markets it will feel like [a housing bust],” Palacios says.
Soon after mortgage rates spiked this spring, the housing market slipped into a “housing correction.” It’s easy to see how those higher rates priced out many would-be buyers. If a borrower in December took out a $500,000 mortgage at a 3.1% rate, they’d owe a monthly principal and interest payment of $2,135. If a borrower took out a $500,000 mortgage at today’s average 30-year fixed mortgage rate (5.51%), they’d get a $2,839 payment.
While this housing recession has hit markets coast to coast, it’s hardly even. It’s delivering a particularly hard blow to housing markets in the Mountain West, West Coast, and Southwest. Just look at the shift in inventory levels: Over the past six months, housing inventory has spiked 247% in Denver compared to just 18% in Pittsburgh. Not too far behind Denver are Austin (220%); Colorado Springs (195%); Stockton, Calif. (175%); and Boise (161%).
What’s going on? These Western housing markets also happen to be among the most “overvalued” markets in the country. As the pandemic housing boom raged over the past two years, many of those markets—which were more constrained supply-wise—saw staggering home price appreciation. In Boise, home prices jumped 53% over the past two years. That took home prices there well beyond what economic fundamentals in the market would historically support. In fact, Moody’s Analytics deems it the most “overvalued” market in the country.
However, as housing markets in those boomtowns begin to contract, investors are the first ones who run for the exits.
“Investors sometimes move in a herd. If Phoenix real estate isn’t the cool investment anymore in 2022, it could have a big and quick impact on home sales. If a lot of investors decide to sell…yikes,” John Wake, an independent real estate analyst based in Phoenix, told Fortune.
Earlier this year, the Federal Reserve flipped from quantitative easing (i.e. buying bonds) to quantitative tightening (i.e. selling bonds). Immediately, financial markets pushed up both the 10-year Treasury and mortgage rates. That’s exactly what the Fed wanted: If mortgage rates rose, it would cause the pandemic housing boom—which helped fuel higher inflation—to fizzle out.
“I’d say if you are a homebuyer, somebody or a young person looking to buy a home, you need a bit of a reset. We need to get back to a place where supply and demand are back together and where inflation is down low again, and mortgage rates are low again,” Fed Chair Jerome Powell told reporters in June.
According to Palacios, that Fed housing “reset” actually means “falling home prices.” While the Fed didn’t directly say it, Palacios says many in the industry believe that’s exactly what’s coming next.
That ongoing housing contraction coupled with a determined Fed, Palacios says, is the perfect recipe for a recession. Historically speaking, Fed-induced recessions begin in rate-sensitive sectors like housing. It usually goes something like this: Spiking mortgage rates quickly translate into fewer home sales. Then inventory rises sharply and homebuilders scale back. Next, demand for both commodities and durable goods falls. Of course, a housing recession also brings with it layoffs.
“The lesson learned in reading [Paul] Volcker’s piece, that’s where [the Fed] messed up [in the 1970s]. If you have this red-light, green-light mentality around inflation, then you’re going to allow the psychology of inflation to get out in front of you…If you listen to the Fed over the last month or so, that’s what they’re so freaked out about,” Palacios says.
After more than a decade of declining interest rates, the Federal Reserve announced a quarter-point rate hike last month, the first since 2018, and signaled more to come in 2022, as many as six, in order to combat inflation.
This should improve banks ability to earn net interest margin, the lifeblood of most banks from an earnings standpoint and could be mimicked in other large economies at a time when inflation is causing damage to global economies and other central banks look to take similar action.
Mike Mayo, managing director and head of U.S. large-cap bank research at Wells Fargo Securities, says that 2021 was a strong year for large investment banks that could aggressively take advantage of a bull market and tailwinds of a soaring stock market.
However, Mayo says 2022, with its troubled markets, will produce headwinds for those financial titans and serve as a “passing of the baton in the banking industry” to Main Street banks that will thrive amidst the pandemic recovery that brings along more volumes of deposit and loans along with the aforementioned rising interest rates.
As the world emerges from two difficult pandemic years, the U.S. the economy has improved dramatically at a breakneck pace. Gross Domestic Product grew at 5.7% in 2021. However, the pandemic has left behind supply chain challenges and outsize inflation that keeps hitting new highs, the latest being a 8.5% measurement for March, the highest since 1981.
Despite runaway inflation, economists think inflation will soon recede. Swiss banking giant UBS is predicting that inflation for the rest of 2022 will drop to as low as 3.4% by December.
“The US economy is coming online faster and stronger than other parts of the world,” Mayo says. “As a result we will likely see a pickup in Main Street banking in terms of companies increasing their buildup of inventory and their capital expenditures and consumers drawing down their excess savings to spend and travel.”
Bank stocks have had an underwhelming run in early 2022. While there have been marketwide struggles, the S&P 500 is down nearly 6.7% year to date, financial stocks have suffered even greater losses with the iShares U.S. Regional Bank ETF down 9.18% year to date. This comes on the heels of a strong year for bank stocks, with that same iShares ETF up 38.9% last year, outpacing the S&P 500 at 26.89% in 2021.
“We are facing challenges at every turn: a pandemic, unprecedented government actions, a strong recovery after a sharp and deep global recession, a highly polarized U.S. election, mounting inflation, a war in Ukraine and dramatic economic sanctions against Russia,” said Jamie Dimon, CEO of the largest bank in the U.S. JPMorgan Chase JPM , in his annual letter to investors.
Looking forward, Dimon said he does not envy the Fed because it is likely to have to raise rates significantly higher than expected. While Dimon struck an optimistic tone that “if the Fed gets it just right, we can have years of growth, and inflation will eventually start to recede,” he conceded that the road to those greener pastures will be paved with consternation and volatility.
“The Fed should not worry about volatile markets unless they affect the actual economy. A strong economy trumps market volatility,” he added.
Outside the U.S., the economic recovery from the pandemic has not been as rapid, particularly in the world’s second largest economy, China, where a policy of “zero Covid” and less effective vaccinations than Western nations has led to a seemingly unending pandemic and shutdowns as recently as this month in Shanghai.
In the midst of global turmoil and a naggingly persistent pandemic, Forbes’ fourth annual list of the World’s Best Banks, which is published in partnership with market research firm Statista, surveys more than 45,000 customers in 27 countries to determine its ranking. Survey participants were asked their opinions on both their current and former banking relationships, defined as all financial institutions that offer a checking and/or savings account.
Banks were rated on overall recommendation and satisfaction which were weighted the most as well as five other subdimensions: trust; terms and conditions; digital services; customer services; and financial advice.
The results yielded between 5 and 75 banks per country with a minimum score of 70 out of 100 and selected depending on the score achieved, the number of evaluations collected, the number of active banks in the specific country as well as the respective population in the country and number of banks with enough evaluations.
The U.S. has the largest number of awarded banks at 75, followed by Japan with 45 and Germany with 35 while 7 countries had the lowest number of 5. There were 27 countries with awarded banks.
The top five banks from the U.S. were Lincoln, Nebraska based Union Bank & Trust, Fargo, North Dakota-based Gate City Bank, Georgia-based United Community Bank UCBI , USAA, a lender open to members of the U.S. military and their families, making the cut as well as Boston-based Eastern Bank Corporation, a sign of the strength of regional banking with all but USAA having less than 2500 employees.
In Japan, SBI Sumishin Net Bank, an internet bank founded in 2007 by SBI Holdings and Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank, which was also listed, took the top spot showing the strength of upstart banks leading into the fintech space.
The top German bank was Sparda-Bank Hessen, a subsidiary of a series of cooperative banks known as Sparda-Banken that has a small employee count of 254 and was founded in 1897.