Daily News: November 5, 2014

Survey: Lender Economic Optimism Falters

From the third quarter Phoenix Management “Lending Climate in America” Survey, results show that lenders are concerned with U.S. housing market and the stability of the stock market. When asked to choose two factors that could have the strongest potential to negatively affect the economy in the next six months, 55% chose a sluggish housing market and 45% chose the stability of the stock market, representing meaningful increases from the prior quarter.

This less optimistic view is further reflected in a drop in the lenders’ sentiment towards U.S. commercial lending, which fell from last quarter’s strong reading of 45% to 21%. The drop in lenders’ sentiment may indicate that banks believe the current economic environment in the U.S. will not improve or that banks are beginning to be wary of the domestic effects of the increasingly negative international economic environment.

This quarter’s diffusion index, which measures lenders’ sentiment, displayed sharp increases in lenders’ negative views towards loan losses, bankruptcies, and unemployment, and to a lesser extent — bank failures. In fact, loan losses and bankruptcies posted diffusion indices of 0% or greater for the first time in three years, demonstrating lenders increasing cautious and pessimistic view towards the economy.

“Our lender respondents are providing neutral to negative messages regarding the current state of the economy and the short-term prospects,” says Michael Jacoby, senior managing director and shareholder of Phoenix. “Identical expectations for near-term economic growth versus Q2 survey, combined with a slight reduction in expectations for the following six-month period and sharp uptick in expectations of higher loan losses and bankruptcies all point to an economy that we consider to be less than robust.”

To see the full results of Phoenix’s “Lending Climate in America” Survey, please visit http://www.phoenixmanagement.comsurvey.