Foreign Banks Retreat from Lending to U.S.

Lending in the U.S. by foreign banks has started to contract. Total loans and leases by foreign-related banks fell at an annual pace of about 0.75% in the first week of March, according to the most recent data from the Federal Reserve. It was the third week in a row in which loans contracted — and the first contraction since 2013. The contraction of foreign loans comes at a time when loan growth by U.S. banks has been slowing. Year over year loan growth by the 25 largest U.S. banks fell to around 3.35% in early March, down from 7.18% a year earlier. Overall loan growth by commercial banks has fallen to around 4.28%. For most of last year, foreign banks were growing loans at a faster pace than their U.S. counterparts. That changed in the final weeks of 2016, when foreign bank loan growth began declining rapidly.