Loan growth and loan quality: some preliminary evidence from Texas banks
Robert T. Clair
Following the failures of depository institutions in the 1980s, many analysts concluded that the rapid growth of lending activity and the deterioration of loan quality were related. Robert T. Clair tests this relationship after separating loan growth by its source: increased lending to new or existing customers, bank mergers, and acquisitions of failed banks. The preliminary evidence suggests that additional lending to new or existing customers beyond what might be normal at a given stage of the business cycle lowers loan quality after a three-year lag. This relationship, based on evidence from Texas banks, was especially strong at banks with below-average capitalization. ; Not all loan growth, however, will lead to lower loan quality. Loan growth during an economic expansion is to be expected as loan demand increases. Furthermore, well-capitalized banks were able to grow very rapidly and maintain loan quality. ; One method of increasing lending while maintaining loan quality was through the purchase of failed banks with the assistance of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). Of course, these purchases increased lending only for the acquiring banks and did not reflect an increase in total lending for the banking industry. Furthermore, it is possible that FDIC resolution procedures have discouraged the acquisition of weak but still solvent banks by stronger banks and are thereby slowing the rate of needed consolidation in the banking industry.
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