Lending activity weakened a bit, and several Districts reported less-favorable conditions than in the preceding reporting period. Most Districts indicated no better than modest growth. Loan growth in the Atlanta, Chicago, St. Louis, and San Francisco Districts was slower than in the previous reporting period. Kansas City reported a decline in lending, reversing slight growth earlier in the summer. Several Districts characterized business lending as largely flat. Chicago reported that recent interest rate increases likely were depressing commercial investment. However, Kansas City noted that expectations for better economic conditions and stronger profit growth had offset any effects of rate increases on business loan demand.
Demand for mortgage refinance loans declined in the New York, Philadelphia, Cleveland, and Richmond Districts. By contrast, purchase mortgage lending continued to grow moderately in most Districts, although San Francisco noted that applications have dropped a bit in some areas of that District. In the Atlanta District, increases in home values generated a surge in second mortgages, and Philadelphia and Cleveland reported modest increases in demand for home equity lines of credit.
Lending standards were largely unchanged, while credit quality improved. Reports indicated little change in standards across all lending categories. However, a few Districts commented that stiff competition for high-quality commercial borrowers was eroding loan volumes at banks that maintained prudent interest rates and terms. New York reported widespread declines in delinquency rates, especially for consumer loans and home mortgages, while Philadelphia, Cleveland, Richmond, and Kansas City all reported general improvement in loan quality.
Reports from the twelve Federal Reserve Districts suggest that national economic activity continued to expand at a modest to moderate pace during the reporting period of early July through late August. Eight Districts characterized growth as moderate; of the remaining four, Boston, Atlanta, and San Francisco reported modest growth, and Chicago indicated activity had improved. Consumer spending rose in most Districts, reflecting, in part, strong demand for automobiles and housing-related goods. Activity in the travel and tourism sector expanded in most areas. Demand for nonfinancial services, including professional and transportation services, increased slightly on net. Manufacturing activity expanded modestly. Residential real estate activity increased moderately in most Districts, and demand for nonresidential real estate gained overall. Lending activity was mixed.
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