The fall and fall of bank lending
Banks are taking in record deposits — they now have a record $16.8 billion, as of the most recent Fed report — but they're not doing a good job of turning around and lending them out.
By the numbers: Total bank loans and leases are now just 61.5% of the American deposit base. For the biggest banks, as Bloomberg's Shahien Nasiripour reports, that number falls to 53.7%, a new all-time low.
The big question: What are the banks doing with the rest of the money?
- Simple: They're either keeping it in cash on deposit at the Fed, or they're buying public securities.
The big picture: Part of the idea behind the government's stimulus checks was that they would either be spent or saved — and that if they were saved, they would become bank deposits which would then get loaned to individuals and businesses, thereby further boosting the economy.
- That didn't happen: Bank loans have been falling even as deposits have been rising.