Magazine article American Banker

Holiday-Season Growth Chronicled in Fed Survey

Magazine article American Banker

Holiday-Season Growth Chronicled in Fed Survey

Article excerpt

WASHINGTON -- Between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day, the economy continued its climb as loan demand increased at banks across the country, the Federal Reserve reported Wednesday.

In its periodic economic survey -- the Beige Book -- the Fed found that banks in most of its 12 districts reported stronger commercial as well as consumer loan demand.

Commercial Loan Demand Up

Banks in the Atlanta, Cleveland, Dallas, Kansas City, Philadelphia, Richmond, and St. Louis districts said commercial loan demand was stronger. But commercial loan demand was sluggish at banks in the New York district and weakened at San Francisco district banks.

Banks in Atlanta, Cleveland, Dallas, Kansas City, Philadelphia, St. Louis, and New York said consumer loan demand had increased.

During the survey period, businesses experienced little upward pressure on wages or prices. And holiday shopping boosted consumer spending beyond retailers' expectations, the Fed said.

Strength in Home Building

Eight districts reported substantial improvement in residential construction, with five of those districts also reporting an increase in home sales.

However, the San Francisco district, which includes Southern California, said residential real estate markets remained weak.

Mortgage Refinancings Off

Commercial real estate improved in the Richmond, Va., Dallas, and Minneapolis districts.

Mortgage refinancings were off sharply in states covered by the New York, Philadelphia, and Richmond districts, the Fed said. …

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