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Expand chart
Data: FactSet; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

An index that tracks the major banks is underperforming the broader market. And not just in light of the stock market rout — it's underperformed for most of the past year.

Why it matters: The higher interest rate environment that's spooking investors is supposed to be good for banks. They can charge consumers more for lending, boosting profit. But the advantage is not showing up in these companies' stocks.

Why the slump in bank stocks? Analysts are pointing to banks' loan businesses, which has not been as strong as expected in a booming economy.

  • Last quarter, embattled Wells Fargo reported declining loan growth and recently warned at an investment conference that this quarter probably would not be any different.

What's going on: It isn't just that consumers are taking out fewer loans for fear of higher interest payments. There is more competition for lending from companies like Quicken Loans to private equity firms.

  • Banks are facing probably the "largest threat" from non-bank loan originators, Mark Doctoroff of MUFG's Financial Institutions Group told Axios.
  • Yes, these non-traditional lenders are backed by traditional banks, but it's not showing up as typical loan growth as it has in the past.
  • Another factor: post-financial crisis, banks have been more disciplined and diligent about the quality of loan and origination, Doctoroff points out.

What's next: A clearer picture of the health of the banks' loan business. J.P. Morgan, Citigroup and Wells Fargo report third quarter results today.

Go deeper

Axios-Ipsos poll: Confidence in Biden COVID recovery tumbles

Expand chart
Data: Axios/Ipsos poll; Chart: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

Confidence in President Biden's ability to rescue the economy from COVID-19 has dropped since January, even as Americans' faith rises in his ability to make the vaccine widely accessible, according to the latest installment of the Axios/Ipsos Coronavirus Index.

Why it matters: It's Democrats and independents driving the declining economic confidence, from 52% of all U.S. adults at the start of his presidency to 44% now. Their softening faith could hinder Biden's ability to lead and hurt Democrats' position heading into the 2022 midterms.

Attacks rise on houses of worship

Woven Stars of David hang along the fence at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh on the 1st anniversary of a mass shooting at the synagogue. Photo: Jeff Swensen/Getty Images

Houses of worship — across a variety of faiths, including Jewish synagogues to Buddhist temples and Catholic churches — are experiencing high amounts of vandalism, arson and other property damage.

The big picture: 2021 is on track to be a record year for hate crimes in the U.S., and many of those attacks are linked to religious bigotry.

18 mins ago - Health

Crunch time for Democrats' competing health priorities

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

As Democrats try to reach a deal on a massive social policy bill, its health care measures are emerging as key sticking points.

Between the lines: Moderate members have successfully reduced the amount of new spending that the party is aiming to pass, amplifying the tug-of-war between different factions of the party over which health policies to prioritize.