(Washington) Lending volumes by banks in the United States ‘decline’ in March and early April, that is, since the banking crisis caused by the bankruptcy of SVB bank, according to a survey of the American central bank (Fed) published on Wednesday.
“Loan volumes and borrowing demand have declined for personal and business loan types,” the Fed noted in its “Beige Book,” a barometer of activity conducted across 12 regions. of the US central banking system.
“Several regions noted that banks have tightened lending standards amid heightened uncertainty and liquidity concerns,” the document details.
In early March, Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) and Signature Bank went bankrupt after massive cash withdrawals from customers.
In the San Francisco area, where SVB is headquartered, these withdrawals “would have leveled off since late March,” the Beige Book details.
But “lending activity has dropped significantly,” the regional office of the Fed said, quoted in the beige book.
“Lending standards have tightened significantly and several institutions have opted to reduce lending volumes, especially for new customers, despite ample liquidity,” it said.
This tightening of credit conditions has also been observed on the other side of the country, in the Philadelphia area, south of New York, where “bank lending to businesses has declined”.
“Most contacts within the banking sector confirmed a tightening of lending standards […], following the failures of Signature Bank and Silicon Valley Bank,” the report further states.
And “several contacts indicated that they are focusing on lending to existing customers and have become more cautious in lending to new customers,” it says.
U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen agreed on CNN on Sunday that U.S. banks could become “a little more cautious” in their operations, which could lead to to tighter credit conditions.
A few days earlier, however, she said she had “not seen evidence, at this stage, of tighter credit conditions, although that is a possibility.”