A new Federal Reserve report noted that banks continue to get nervous overall and in particular about commercial real estate.
“Regarding loans to businesses, survey respondents reported, on balance, tighter standards and weaker demand for commercial and industrial (C&I) loans to firms of all sizes over the second quarter,” the report said. “Meanwhile, banks reported tighter standards and weaker demand for all commercial real estate (CRE) loan categories.” The reactions to CRE lending was similar levels of tightening by large banks and others.
The July Senior Loan Officer Opinion Survey on Bank Lending Practices, or SLOOS, got responses from 66 domestic banks and 19 U.S. branches and agencies of foreign banks. Surveys went out on June 15, 2023, and were due back June 30, so all the data is more than a month old. It may be that conditions aren’t changing quickly enough to reduce the information’s meaning.
That said, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), as of the first quarter of 2023, there were 4,672 FDIC-insured institutions and 3,006 FDIC-supervised, so even though a concentration of the largest banks responding to the Fed’s survey might well be descriptive of that segment, the remainder isn’t nearly large enough for a comprehensive look at the banking industry.
The survey included two special sets of questions. One was about current lending standards compared to the midpoint of a range they have been in since 2005. The other question was bank expectations for changes in their standards in the second half of the year and the reasons for any change.
In the second quarter, “major net shares of banks” said they had tightened their standards on all categories of CRE loans. The same degrees of tightening were reported by large banks and other banks, though, again, without a representative sample, it’s impossible to say whether a majority of all banks were doing so.
Additionally, banks were largely reporting that there was weaker demand for all CRE loan categories. This was more pronounced in banks that were not the largest. Foreign-based banks reported similar responses on both questions.
According to the sample, standards tightening isn’t over. Major net shares of banks said they expect to tighten standards on construction and land development loans as well as on nonfarm, non-residential loans.
A moderate net share of banks said they would tighten standards on all residential real estate loan categories, including those that are GSE-eligible.
Also, the number of FDIC-insured and -supervised institutions in the first quarter of 2022 were 4,796 and 3,100 respectively. In the first quarter of 2021, there were 4,978 and 3,209. And in the first quarter of 2020, 5,116 and 3,303. While not a survey, the progression offers a partial different view of how the industry might be doing.