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U.S. commercial bank lending through 2008:Q4: new evidence from gross credit flows

  • Silvio Contessi
  • Johanna Francis

How have U.S. commercial banks responded during the current financial crisis? What was hiding behind the dynamics of aggregate commercial bank loans through the end of 2008? We use balance sheet data for the entire population of commercial banks to construct quarterly gross credit flows (credit expansion and credit contraction series) for the U.S. banking system during the period 1999:Q1-2008:Q4 and provide new evidence on changes in lending. We show that credit expansion, as defined in this paper, began declining during the first half of 2008 while credit contraction began steeply increasing only between the third and fourth quarters of 2008. Until then net credit growth was below trend but positive and not dissimilar to the 1980 and 2001 recessions. However, between the third and fourth quarter credit contraction grew larger than credit expansion across all types of loans (real estate, individual, commercial, and industrial loans) and for the largest banks. On the contrary, smaller banks continued to display positive net credit growth. Once we include 2008:Q4 data, the cyclical properties of our series most resemble the beginning of the 1991 recession and the intensification of the Savings and Loan crisis.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis in its series Working Papers with number 2009-011.

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Date of creation: 2009
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedlwp:2009-011
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  1. David C. Wheelock & Paul W. Wilson, 1995. "Why do banks disappear? The determinants of U.S. bank failures and acquisitions," Working Papers 1995-013, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
  2. Eric Van Wincoop & Cedric Tille, 2007. "International Capital Flows," NBER Working Papers 12856, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Contessi, Silvio & De Pace, Pierangelo & Francis, Johanna L., 2013. "The cyclical properties of disaggregated capital flows," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 32(C), pages 528-555.
  4. Steven J. Davis & John C. Haltiwanger & Scott Schuh, 1998. "Job Creation and Destruction," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262540932, June.
  5. DellAriccia, Giovanni & Garibaldi, Pietro, 2000. "Gross Credit Flows," CEPR Discussion Papers 2569, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Richard G. Anderson, 2008. "Paying interest on deposits at Federal Reserve banks," Economic Synopses, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
  7. Ricardo J. Caballero & Takeo Hoshi & Anil K. Kashyap, 2006. "Zombie Lending and Depressed Restructuring in Japan," NBER Working Papers 12129, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Ethan Cohen-Cole & Burcu Duygan-Bump & José Fillat & Judit Montoriol-Garriga, 2008. "Looking behind the aggregates: a reply to “Facts and Myths about the Financial Crisis of 2008”," Risk and Policy Analysis Unit Working Paper QAU08-5, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
  9. Herrera, Ana Maria & Kolar, Marek & Minetti, Raoul, 2011. "Credit reallocation," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(6), pages 551-563.
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