Banking industry shows increase in borrowing, lending

January 19, 2012

Banks are lending more money in response to more demand from consumers and businesses. As KJZZ's Terry Ward reports, experts say it's another sign that the U.S. economy is rebounding.

TERRY WARD: The top U.S. banks have been criticized in recent years for stifling economic growth by keeping a tight grip on cash. But that appears to be changing with the major lenders reporting strong loan growth. Both CitiBank and Wells Fargo report double-digit increases in loans from a year ago. Frank Keating of the American Bankers Association says banks have always been willing to lend. He says borrowers are just now showing a willingness to take on debt.

FRANK KEATING: what concerns small business is the uncertainty of the economy (poor sales), taxes and govt regulations. So bankers are ready to lend and we are beginning to see that taking shape in 2011.

TERRY WARD: Keating says consumers still are concerned about jobs but he says there's also a lot of pent-up demand for things like cars, appliances and homes. He says new federal regulations also are playing a role in consumer loans.
FRANK KEATING: You're not going to see a willingness to loan to people who don't have the assets. There's more prudence driven by regulators and more prudence by borrowers who know there is no free lunch.

TERRY WARD: ASU economist Dennis Hoffman says federal regulations aimed at shoring up the banking industry should have the desired effect in the long run.

DENNIS HOFFMAN: It’s a natural reaction on the part of regulators coming off this era of excess - a natural reaction that shouldn't be surprising.
TERRY WARD: The Federal Reserve reports that household borrowing on credit cards, car loans, and other types of installment loans rose nearly 10 percent in November. That’s the biggest increase since 2001.


Listen to the story here.