Bank lending

Lending and credit help drive our economy, and both took big hits during the recession. But where does lending stand now? N.C. State University economist Mike Walden responds.

“As Ben Bernanke, the chairperson of the Federal Reserve, once said — and I am paraphrasing — lending can build the modern economy, but lack of lending can actually devastate that economy.

“And it’s really true: The financial system and the ability of businesses and households to borrow money, really, sets the core of our economy. So where the lending market is, I think, is a telling feature how strong the economy is.

“Obviously during the recession we had a big drop in the lending market. The good news is that the numbers indicate that that is back. For example, if you look at all lending, we have gone from lending going down during the recession at a 10 percent annual rate to now it’s going up at a 10 percent annual rate.

“It is still not fully recovered, but we are seeing improvements in areas like obviously homebuying, lending for homes, consumer lending, particularly for cars and commercial lending. And actually commercial lending has had the strongest improvement.

“So to have a recovering market, to have a recovering economy, we have to have landing. And it looks like lending is going in the correct direction.”

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