While the growth has been modest, banks are starting to make more loans again, The New York Times reports. Yet, the lending does tend to favor the strongest corporate and consumer borrowers, the article notes.
With more stringent underwriting criteria the last few years, many borrowers have expressed concern over the increasing trouble in qualifying for a loan today.
But “the narrative that banks aren’t lending is incorrect,” Timothy J. Sloan, Wells Fargo’s chief financial officer, told The New York Times. “Lending is strong, and based on what we’re seeing,” it will “continue to grow.”
Citigroup, for example, recently announced loan growth in the third quarter compared to a year ago in nearly all of its businesses.
The growth in loans is likely due to record-low interest rates and more borrowers seeking cash on their credit lines, experts say.
However, home lending still remains down. Mortgage and home equity loans have dropped more than 6.2 percent since peaking in late 2007 and early 2008, according to Federal Reserve data.
“I don’t think the lending window is open near enough to what you need to see to get the economy growing, businesses expanding, and to bring the unemployment rate down,” Bernard Baumohl, the chief global economist at the Economic Outlook Group, told The New York Times.
Source: “Banks Start to Make More Loans,” The New York Times (Oct. 17, 2011)