C. Myblog

When Will Loan Demand Pick Up?

January 20, 2011

This is the question at the forefront of many people’s minds—particularly as loan balances continue to decline and deposit costs move closer to their floor.  It’s a great question but impossible to answer with certainty.  Since our crystal ball is as cloudy as the next, perhaps a better way to approach the question is to ask it a little differently:  What will it take for loan demand to pick up?

Think back to 2004 and 2005.  What was the economy like?  Where were interest rates, GDP and consumer sentiment?  What was the inflation rate, unemployment rate and personal saving rate?  Finally, what was driving loan growth and the economy during this period?

The housing market was a major driver during this time period.  Unemployment was low, personal saving was negligible (even negative), credit was free flowing and housing construction was rising, all while housing values were rapidly increasing.  Now, let’s consider the housing market today using the graphic below (2010: Housing Recuperates, Celia Chen, Sr. Director, Moody’s Analytics).

Source: Fiserv, FHFA, Moody’s Economy.com

While some areas are in the midst of regaining their value, many others are not and likely won’t be for a long time to come.  As a result, housing may not be the driver of loan growth it once was and could remain a drag on loan growth as consumers continue to deal with the aftermath of the housing bubble.  So we circle back to the question:  What will it take for loan demand to pick up?

This question is a great scenario test drive for management teams to answer together.  The small piece discussed here is just one of the many aspects to consider when discussing this question.  Furthermore, answers to this question will vary depending on your credit union’s community and structure.

However, the objective of this discussion is not just to answer the question.  Rather, it is to consider the implications of the answers with regard to your current strategic objectives and even your tactical, day-to-day decisions.  You may find your direction and outlook to be inadequate in light of the discussions you are having.  If so, now is the time to address those inadequacies and position your institution to be successful in the future.

Start typing and press Enter to search