WASHINGTON – Lending continues to improve overall across the Federal Reserve’s regional banks but the level of demand varies significantly across the country, according to the Fed’s most recent Beige Book released Wednesday.

Nine out of the 12 regional banks reported an expansion in economic activity since the previous Beige Book, which the Federal Reserve releases eight times a year. At a regional level, Dallas was the only district to report a “softening” in loan demand while Philadelphia, St. Louis and San Francisco reported growth on balance. Cleveland, Richmond, and Kansas City reported “stable” loan demand.

“Overall, most districts reported that loan demand grew, credit quality improved, or loan delinquencies fell, with credit standards changing little,” the report said.

Growth in auto loans was particularly strong in districts like Philadelphia, San Francisco and Chicago. Meanwhile, struggles in the energy sector also lowered loan demand for those companies in areas like Cleveland, Richmond and Atlanta. Similarly, the Dallas region also noted that there’s been a rise in delinquencies of loans made to oil and gas companies.

Still, credit quality has continued to improve nationwide, with the New York, Philadelphia, Richmond and San Francisco districts reporting improving quality and/or fewer delinquent loans.

The Fed said that seven of the districts reported that competition is increasing, including from nonbank online entities.

Overall, the districts to report a “mostly positive” outlook for future economic growth were Boston, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Chicago, Kansas City and Dallas.


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