Business & Finance Finance

Consumer Lending Bank Survey

Residential and consumer financing are tight as a tourniquet.
You'll need excellent credit and a considerable down payment to take advantage of lower home prices.
If you already own a home and want to tap into the equity, prepare for a rough ride.
And, if you already have a home equity credit line, don't be surprised to discover that your equity isn't what it used to be, and your existing line of home equity credit may be diminished.
The Federal Reserve's second quarter lenders survey quantifies the current economic conditions for residential and consumer lending.
Residential mortgages and home equity loans:
  • More than 20% of the survey respondents said they tightened standards for prime mortgages.
  • More than 46% said they tightened credit standards for non-traditional mortgages.
  • No statistics are available regarding availability of the riskier sub-prime mortgages because fewer than three of the respondents now offer them.
  • More than 35% of lenders said they made it harder for homeowners to tap into their equity; more than 35% said they decreased the limit on existing home equity lines of credit.
Consumer loans or credit cards:
  • 10% of the lenders reported they were less willing to make consumer installment loans.
  • Roughly 35% said they raised their standards for approved loans.
  • More than 50% tightened terms and conditions on new and existing credit cards.
  • Almost 50% said they decreased limits of EXISTING credit card account limits.
Predicting the future Now you know how much consumer and residential financing has changed in the past few months, but what about the future? The Federal Reserve survey asked lenders to predict the future for residential and consumer lending.
Prime mortgages or home equity credit lines:
  • Only 2% expected to make money any easier to come by for homeowners--or prospective homeowners--this year.
  • 6% said they'd probably be more willing to lend beginning in the first half of 2010.
  • Of those who predict easier days for real estate borrowers, 27% look to the second half of 2010 for the change.
  • 12% predicted money to flow more freely in 2011.
  • 40% said they don't expect to loosen their hold on residential lending anytime in the foreseeable future.
Credit cards and consumer loans:
  • Only 3% said they'd be more generous with credit card loans this year.
  • Roughly 10% said their banks would be more likely to allow credit card loans early next year.
  • Almost 13% said credit card loans would be easier to get during the second half of 2010.
  • Almost 30% predicted they'd loosen up on credit card loans in 2011.
  • More than 30% said their banks' tight standards would remain the same for the foreseeable future.
Other consumer loans:
  • 2% said they'd be more amenable to granting consumer loans later this year.
  • Just over 6% said consumer loans would be easier to acquire in the first half of 2010.
  • 23% predicted their banks would be more likely to approve consumer loans in the second half of 2010.
  • 19% said there would be no easing of consumer loan standards until 2011.
  • 25% said their banks' lending standards would remain tight for the foreseeable future.
What does all this mean for consumers? If you already have a mortgage or home equity loan, count yourself lucky, even if the terms or limits on your equity loan change; others who were counting on their home equity for things like a child's college education might not be as fortunate.
If you've been thinking of taking out a loan to finance a car, buy new furniture or take a vacation, prepare for an uphill battle, or delay your plans until at least the end of 2011.
If you already have credit card debt, you might have already seen increases in interest and decreases in limits.
If so, it might be time to find an unsecured loan with better terms before your credit card debt buries you.

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