Fourth Quarter 2018: Bank Profits Strong amid Waning Growth and Weaker Sentiment

February 28, 2019

First Glance 12L provides a quarterly look at banking and economic conditions within the 12th District. Short-term interest rate increases and tax reform benefitted full-year bank profits. Earnings-fueled capital accretion helped to buoy community bank capital ratios. Annual growth in District bank assets, loans, and nonmaturity deposits continued to ease. Some banks turned to borrowings and time deposits, adding to funding cost pressures. Loan delinquency and net chargeoff ratios continued at low levels; however, on average, annual growth in the volume of past due and noncurrent loans accelerated. On the employment front, District job growth slowed, but continued to outpace the nation and fed demand for commercial and residential real estate. Notably, rising interest rates dampened existing home price growth in some states and price tiers and contributed to increasing housing affordability strains. Surveys indicated weakening sentiment about prospective credit performance, loan demand, economic conditions, and real estate values. This quarter’s report includes a new Spotlight feature, which explores the decade-long decline in bank branching.