State Credit Managers Optimistic on Economy

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Optimism for business growth through the fourth quarter is running high nationally and even higher in Oklahoma.

That is the conclusion of the National Association of Credit Management and its Oklahoma division following a third quarter survey, said Michael Brittain, president of the state division.

"The indicators we are seeing in the Oklahoma area, between Tulsa and Oklahoma City, is that the general trend of the turn of receivables is a little faster," Brittain said.

"There isn't as much delinquency and there isn't as much that the creditors are dealing with in terms of past dues. Business bankruptcies seem to be down fairly well in the Oklahoma area.

"I think we are a little ahead of the median of the national survey."

Bankruptcies have slowed in the past 12 to 24 months and are having less disastrous effect on creditors, he said.

"I am not saying we don't have bankruptcies," he noted, "but there seem to be some different trends now. When they happen now there doesn't seem to be much warning. It seems like companies, especially the large ones, are filing Chapter 11 bankruptcies to protect the assets they have.

"While they still have assets, still have cash, but know they are headed for trouble because they have lost their market or lost a big customer, they will file bankruptcy. We don't see this very often, but when we do there hasn't been any red flags that we are used to looking for _ no slow trends, no excuses or problems."

On the other side of that, he said some of the creditors aren't being hurt nearly as badly.

"They get the temporary shock of getting a bankruptcy notice," he added, "but they still come out pretty close to whole on those bankruptcies now, while they didn't used to come out with anything at all.

"Comparing us with the national averages, Oklahoma creditors are, we believe, ahead of the game. …