While we all hope an end to the pandemic is on the horizon, we’ll be dealing with its impact on the economy for some time. As businesses plan for 2022, it’s important to recognize the major factors at play in the macro environment. Here are the trends businesses must consider:
Supply chain issues are pervasive, and the impact is significant causing widespread price increases and difficulties in obtaining products. With cargo ships unable to dock and a lack of delivery drivers, many companies are unable to get key materials. For example, the automotive industry is struggling to source semiconductor chips, causing a shortage of new cars and skyrocketing prices for used cars. Additionally, construction companies are having trouble acquiring the lumber they need delaying projects.
Shortages in the labor market exacerbate the supply chain issue. Many companies have open positions they are struggling to fill, and resignations are at an all-time high. Businesses have to be strategic while also considering the impact of the expense associated with offering increased compensation and improved benefits to attract and retain talent.
Inflation is another key challenge that businesses must consider. Originally expected to be transitory, data released in December shows inflation hit 40-year highs. Businesses will need to pay close attention to their pricing to ensure they are accounting for inflation to maintain their margins and profitability. In the current climate, it’s very important for business owners to maximize efficiency through improved processes and technology.
Fraud targeting businesses is on the rise. Another unfortunate impact of the pandemic is a marked increase in schemes such as ACH/Wire Transfer fraud, counterfeit checks, email compromises and data breaches. Businesses must be vigilant and consider various treasury management solutions that mitigate fraud while also increasing efficiency.
With all that said, the economy is still very strong and consumers are flush with cash. To help ensure a successful 2022, businesses need to plan for these ongoing trends. It is vital to work with a team of professionals such as accountants, attorneys and bankers to help your business create a plan for long-term success and stability.
How Univest Can Help
Univest is always adapting to best serve our customers and meet their ever-changing needs, especially given the unique challenges presented by the current environment. While we already had many online and mobile solutions in place, the pandemic spurred increased demand for these easy-to-use digital platforms. We’ve made significant progress and continue to focus on improving our digital client experience.
When the SBA implemented the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) early in the pandemic, Univest quickly developed an online application and portal to support our business customers applying for PPP loans. Univest is proud to have successfully secured PPP funding for 98% of applicants resulting in more than 3,800 loans totaling more than $705.6 million.
The resources and solutions our customers need have evolved, so we are adapting our offerings accordingly. After seeing the benefits provided by the Paycheck Protection Program, we expanded our lending team that specializes in helping businesses utilize SBA financing. We want our customers to be competitive in the current environment and Univest is ready to help with a full range of financial solutions including lending, insurance and investments.
Our customers are at the heart of everything we do. These are unprecedented times, and the accompanying uncertainty can make it difficult to run a business or manage your personal finances. At Univest, we prioritize understanding what is impacting our customers from a professional and personal standpoint, so we can provide the best assistance possible. As we head into 2022, there may be many unknowns, but you can trust that Univest is here to help.
Univest Bank and Trust Co. is Member FDIC, Equal Opportunity and SBA Preferred Lender.