What Credit Crunch? Total Bank Credit Growing Fast

by: Mark J. Perry

According to Federal Reserve banking data (via the St. Louis Fed) released yesterday, "weekly bank credit of all commercial banks" hit an all-time record high of $9.49 trillion on March 19, 2008. What's even more impressive though is the growth in total bank credit measured as the "percent change from a year ago" (see chart above). Compared to the same week a year ago, bank credit in the third week of March (the most recent week available) increased by 12.62%, the largest annual percent increase in bank credit in more than a quarter century!

You would never know from media reports on the "credit crisis" (1.81 million Google hits) and "credit crunch" (3.61 million Google hits) that total U.S. bank credit is higher in absolute terms than ever in U.S. history, and is growing at the fastest rate in percentage terms since 1979!