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What's happening with residential loans this quarter?

Commercial lending offsets real estate

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Residential loans are off to a weak start in the first quarter, with real estate loans down a full $10.2 billion for the week ending Feb. 19, according to the latest weekly report from Keefe, Bruyette & Woods.

The large drop in residential loans was offset by gains in commercial lending, which saw $15.3 billion gains for the week. Net loans increased $5.6 billion.

Overall consumer lending was up a modest $500 million, with small increases in both credit card receivables and other consumer loans.

Trends KBW is seeing for the first quarter include mid-single-digit growth in commercial lending, continued declining residential mortgage loans, strong CRE growth at both the large and small banks; and an increase in consumers paying down credit card debt.

After a 5.6% annualized decline in January, commercial loans have rebounded and are now up $27.3 billion for the quarter to date.

On a related note, consumer spending rose a seasonally adjusted 0.4% for January while personal income gained 0.3%, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce. The personal savings rate remains flat at 4.3%.

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