The trend of shrinking loan books has reached those in charge of them.

Last year, loans to insiders at the nation's biggest banks fell 31% from a year earlier, to $5.48 billion, according to call report data compiled by SNL Financial. Banks are generally tight-lipped about such loans, often citing customer confidentiality. Observers are wondering if banks are reining in such loans due to regulatory scrutiny or whether insiders, like many other borrowers, are simply deleveraging.

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