US banks eased restrictions on lending to businesses and consumers in the second quarter, which led to an increase in demand for a number of categories of loans, the Federal Reserve System. According to a recent survey of senior managers in the credit departments of American and foreign branches of US banks in the last three months, 13% of respondents said the creation of favorable conditions for commercial loans to large and medium-sized companies and 7% – for small.
In particular, the exemptions have touched many consumer loans, including mortgages, car loans and credit cards. As noted by James Chess, chief economist at the American Bankers Association, the study shows that the situation in the financial sector continued to improve, albeit slowly. Access to credit in the US has worsened and consumers and to business during the crisis, with most blamed for the sluggish economy in the tight fiscal policy. Now the banks are pretty strong competition, which forces them to offer better credit conditions for businesses, he said. This is due to some improvement in the economy as a whole, which makes lenders more willing to take risks. “When the economic situation improves, banks are more willing to risk”, – says Chess.
As noted by the Fed, this is the second consecutive quarter during which the banks indicate that they eased lending standards for borrowers with high-quality low-risk mortgages. This, in particular, reported 7% of executives surveyed credit institutions. At the same time about 10% of banks said they would ease the conditions for the issuance of consumer loans over the next three months. Those 10% of respondents have lowered the standards for car loans. However, the regulator says, borrowers with bad credit history it is still difficult to get a loan.
Thus, the tendency of weakening of standards in lending – is good news for the economy to massive cuts in federal budget expenditures that America will, if the law of sequestration will not be canceled or at least modified. The total volume of loans in US banks rose about 3% to 7.3 trillion in June YoY. And, according to the regulator, and the trend continued in July, mainly due to the greater availability of credit refinancing. This allows borrowers to reduce their cost of debt.
At the same time, not all experts share this optimism. For example, Christopher M. George of the CMG Financial, who heads the department of mortgage lending in the company, said that he sees little evidence of improvement in the sector. Moreover, according to the expert, he sees an increase in pressure on the sector due to the high unemployment rate and an increase in bank claims on borrowers after the crisis. “I do not think many people are interested to take loans these days with a greater risk of default, – says George. – We do not expect the weakening of lending standards in the near future. We follow the same standards … selling a quality product. “
Although the banks say about the growth in demand for all types of loans, the speaker is actually mixed. The volume of retail lending is growing, and in the last month the publication of data – higher than the average of expectations (19.6 billion US dollars in May against the expected 12.5 billion), which takes place in the background including the growth of consumer confidence (index from March shows a steady positive trend ). Last impact on the demand for both of consumer and durable goods, purchased on credit, and growth driver remains the retail auto loans. At the same time, demand for mortgages in fact reduced, as evidenced by the dynamics of the mortgage market index halved in May.
Meanwhile, the situation on the labor market in the US is slowly but changing for the better, it points out the head of the bank in the financial markets “Interkommerts” Andrew Kharinov. So, one of the major economic events of the last week was the publication of data on the state of the US labor market: the unemployment rate in July 2013 was 7.4%, down from 7.6% the previous month. Moreover, the July data are best for 4.5 years, but they are still far from the targets set by the Federal Reserve. And that is the consequence of improvements in the economy, coupled with the high level of competition is unwinding nuts American banks – Credit standards were tightened sharply in the years 2007-2009 – the years of economic recession.
And credit growth, which is happening and will happen in view of the abolition of the severe restrictions that have been applied earlier, positive impact on the dynamics of the US economy, agrees Head of asset management Absolut Bank Ivan Fomenko. And this is important right now, when the world’s largest economy is gaining momentum. According to preliminary data, the growth rate of US GDP in the second quarter amounted to 1.7% against the expected 1%. The increase in lending is happening on the economic recovery, will give a multiplier effect. This is due to the fact that the availability of financial resources comes at a time when consumer confidence and business is improving, and therefore, there is a desire to use credit for personal use and for business development.
Over the past few years, the debt load of US citizens gradually decreased, that is, now there is an opportunity to increase the volume of lending that would be positive both for economic agents and for banks as the representatives of the financial system. At the same time, the expert, the growth of the availability of credit will not be able to create real conditions for the formation of a new “bubble” in the lending market in the medium term. Themselves as subjects of the American economy, namely households and business have become very careful in the use of credit resources, on the one hand, is the result of significant constraints on the part of banks, and the other – care consumers.
Outside the ease of obtaining credit – an important, valued by professionals in the comprehensive analysis of the situation, said the Head of investment management and analytical support of IFC “Solid” Michael Koroljuk. Now the dynamics of this index indicates an increase in the stability of US banks – the easier they make loans, the better they’re doing, the cleaner their balance sheets. This is not surprising in a negative value of the real interest rate – the banks get the money from the Fed at an interest rate below the inflation rate. Secondly, it is an indicator of how banks assess the prospects of the economy. If they mitigate credit standards, so do not expect growth ahead of defaults, which always takes place on the background of falling economic growth. Thus, an increase in the availability of bank lending – is another positive signal, indicating that the US economy in the next two to three quarters will function normally.