Big U.S. Banks Cut Loans to Record Low, Again, as Deposits Jump

The 25 biggest U.S. banks collectively reduced their loan holdings by 8% in the year through March, according to the Federal Reserve’s latest weekly survey.

Total loans fell by $447 billion to $5.45 trillion, Fed data show. Meanwhile, total deposits, which provide the funds that banks lend out to borrowers, jumped 16% to $10.13 trillion. Their combined loan-to-deposit ratio now sits at 53.9%, the lowest reading in 36 years of weekly Fed data.

Had the largest U.S. banks maintained their lending level of this time last year, they’d have an additional $1.37 trillion of loans on their books today.

Some highlights of all U.S. banks’ holdings:

The share of safe assets — virtually risk-free investments such as cash, Treasuries and securities effectively guaranteed by the U.S. government — slipped to 35.6% in the week that ended March 31 from 36.0% the previous week.Total assets ticked down slightly to $20.91 trillion from $21.04 trillion.Loans across the U.S. banking industry comprise less than half of their total assets, continuing a post-pandemic trend.

The Fed also reported the assets of large, small and foreign-related U.S. lenders. Here’s how their balance sheets compare on selected parameters:

Here’s how big banks’ balance sheets have changed since the Fed’s previous weekly report:

Here’s how smaller and foreign-related banks’ balance sheets have changed since the previous report:


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