News & Resources

Survey finds optimism in consumer lending

Feb 23, 2011 Brian Bradley

Consumerism drives the majority of the U.S. economy, so how much consumers borrow will weigh heavily on the financial viability of the country. The good news, according to a survey from Wolters Kluwer Financial Services, is that consumer lending is expected to grow in 2011. In a survey of more than 1,000 banking professionals from the largest lending institutions, the information services company found that approximately 80 percent forecast lending to expand this year. Institutions that handle more than $250 million in assets were among those expressing the greatest positivity. Meanwhile, only 5 percent of respondents expect that figure to decline, while 16 percent said they weren't sure which way lending would go. "It's encouraging to see financial institutions optimistic about their consumer lending businesses in 2011," said Craig Focardi, senior research director for consumer lending at TowerGroup. "Job growth will play a large role in the ability of consumer lending markets to recover this year." Despite the optimism, the respondents are still wary about factors that stall lending, including a soft economy (30 percent), stricter compliance regulations (24 percent), reduced loan demand (18 percent) and increased competition (17 percent).