Question: What is the state of the consumer?
Linda Duessel: The consumer is extremely strong, I really would emphasize that, and the first thing that we do to look at the strength of the consumer and their ability to fight the headwinds on rising interest rates and rising prices and an inflationary problem, is whether or not they have jobs. I have this overarching view that there's still a lot of stimulus out there in the system. It is still a very, very strong job market, and we can look at inflation as peaking basically in the summertime and through the early fall of last year and say it peaked and it's coming down and I can feel better about inflation coming down, but inflation remains. So for the consumer, what really hit the hardest was the housing sector and mortgage rates doubling in the course of one quarter. The first quarter of 2021 really priced out a lot of first-time home buyers, just as the millennial generation is surging in its demand for buying homes. So even with affordability levels, with prices of homes as high as what they are, and with mortgage rates still as high as what they are, the demand for housing hasn't been this strong for 40 years. It's very powerful. So what you're seeing here, lately, is a slowing in the increase of the price of homes, maybe even a reduction, slightly, depending upon where you are around the country, that is bringing back people into the housing market. So yes, rising interest rates are a headwind for anyone who is a borrower and we're watching that very, very closely. They've been able to get the rising wages to go with that. That is a very, very strong consumer and only made stronger by the fact that you had lots of people leave the workforce in through Covid. That means those people who are out there and working are able to demand and get those higher salaries and that still remains in place. Those are excellent tailwinds for the consumer as they face the headwinds of rising interest rates.