Lending, With Exceptions, Is Rising

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NEW YORK, Oct. 18 (UPI) — Lending in some categories is slowly increasing at some of the largest U.S. banks, data from quarterly records show.

Generally, the exception is mortgage and home equity loans, which dropped 6.2 percent since a peak in late 2007, Federal Reserve data shows. However, Timothy Sloan, chief financial officer at Wells Fargo, said, “The narrative that banks aren’t lending is incorrect,” The New York Times reported Tuesday.

“Lending is strong and based on what we’re seeing, it will continue to grow,” Sloan said.

Wells Fargo’s third quarter report shows lending up 8 percent for small businesses and up for 14 consecutive months for corporations, the Times said.

From October 2010, corporate lending is up 7.2 percent.

At Citigroup, lending is up from a year ago in most categories and up in each region is serves around the world.

Revenue has fallen at the nation’s largest banks due to regulations that now cap how much bank’s can charge on debit card use in retail stores and laws changing rules on overdrafts fees.

About 70 percent of revenue at banks, however, is derived from lending, which means, essentially, “Banks want to lend,” said Gerard Cassidy, an industry analyst at RBC Capital Markets.

Deemed critical to economic expansion, however, for some the increase in lending is still not quick enough.

“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,” said Bernard Baumohl, the chief global economist at the Economic Outlook Group.

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