Banking industry activity flattened off in the month of October as financial institutions and their customers both seemed to hit the pause button ahead of this month's elections.
American Banker's Index of Banking Activity (IBA) edged down to 54.3 in October after mounting a bit of a rally in September when it reached a 56.1 reading.
As in September, nearly all of the IBA's subcomponents held to expansion territory (the IBA is a diffusion index, and readings above and below 50 signal expansion and contraction, respectively). However, in many cases — primarily those involving components linked to lending activity — the rate of expansion indicated by the index declined month-over-month.
In verbatim responses to open ended questions that are part of the monthly IBA survey of banking executives, many respondents pointed specifically to the election as an event that had essentially put business decisions within their institutions and at their customers on hold. November presumably will offer a read on just how the results of the vote are perceived by banks and potential borrowers.