Real Activity Forecasts Using Loan Portfolio Information
58 Pages Posted: 27 Jan 2016 Last revised: 1 Dec 2020
Date Written: January 27, 2016
To extend and monitor loans, banks collect detailed and proprietary information about the financial prospects of their customers, many of whom are local businesses and households. Therefore, banks’ loan portfolios contain potentially useful information about local economic conditions. We investigate the association between information in loan portfolios and local economic conditions. Using a sample of U.S. commercial banks from 1990:Q1 to 2013:Q4, we document that information in loan portfolios aggregated to the state level is associated with current and future changes in statewide economic conditions. Furthermore, the provision for loan and lease losses contains information incremental to leading indicators of state-level economic activity and recessions. Loan portfolio information also helps to improve predictions of economic conditions at more granular levels, such as at the commuting zone level. We discuss relevance of these findings for economic analysis and forecasting, and the relation of our study to prior work on the informativeness of accounting information about the macroeconomy.
Keywords: Banking, coincident index, economic growth, forecasting, loans
JEL Classification: D82, E02, E32, G01, G21, M41
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