Last week’s scheduled economic news included the Federal Reserve’s survey of loan officers and the University of Michigan’s report on consumer sentiment. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and new jobless claims were also released.
Fed Survey of Loan Officers Finds Banks Tightened Lending Standards
The Federal Reserve’s survey of financial institutions found that lenders tightened standards for credit card and other consumer loan approval. Lending officials said that concerns over the economy drove decisions to tighten standards for new credit cards, auto loans, and personal loans.
Lenders also tightened lending requirements for new borrowers in January and March. January’s revision to lending requirements was the strictest since 2009.
Lending officials surveyed said that less tolerance for risk and concerns over new borrowers’ ability to repay loans drove decisions to tighten loan approval requirements. Growing concerns over student loan debt may have influenced lenders’ reluctance to extend credit to new borrowers.
Survey respondents said that they did not tighten requirements for residential real estate loans, but did increase restrictions on commercial real estate loans. Survey participants included 76 domestic banks and 22 foreign banks and agents of federal banks.
Mortgage Rates, New Jobless Claims Fall
Freddie Mac reported lower average mortgage rates last week after the prior week’s spike. Rates for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages fell nine basis points and averaged 3.69 percent. Rates for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages fell six basis points to an average of 3.13 percent.
The average rate for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages fell four basis points to 3.39 percent. Discount points averaged 0.50 percent for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages and 0.40 percent for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages. Discount points for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages averaged 0.30 percent.
Initial jobless claims fell to a one-month low of 211,000 new claims filed; analysts said that last week’s reading approached a 50-year low and proved the staying power of the strongest job market in decades. In other news, the University of Michigan’s Consumer Sentiment Index rose to 95.70 in November as compared to October’s index reading of 95.50. Analysts expected consumer sentiment to fall to 95.00.
This week’s economic releases include reports on inflation and retail sales. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and initial jobless claims will also be released.