Wells Fargo’s returns fared somewhat better, which is mostly due to the nature of banking versus more volatile capital markets. Even with this advantage, returns still didn’t live up to those from the year before, which were almost a whole point higher. J.P. Morgan, on the other hand, has hit a plateau at a 10% return rate, casting a more negative shadow on the recent numbers. Conversely, Citigroup looked strong in many areas. They even registered profits through legacy holdings and downsizing, but still only managed a 6.5% return.
Analysts have pinpointed several reasons for this lackluster performance. J.P. Morgan and Citigroup both still face legal challenges in the midst of the global slowdown. Also, interest rates have remained extremely low while demand for loans has remained steady. All this as regulations and the required amounts of capital have gone up.
Some experts cite these facts as proof that this reflects a permanent shift in returns that investors can expect in the future. Of course, banks also have to conform to stress tests performed by the Federal Reserve, which makes them less flexible than firms in other industries. Other macroeconomic factors don’t seem to bode well either, as new mortgages issued at J.P. Morgan, Citigroup and Wells Fargo fell by 14%, 51%, and 40%, respectively.
Trading in certain commodities and currencies has generated some growth. But these mostly signify slightly less anemic banks as opposed to strong ones. Some hold out hope for increased rates in the near future, although many investors have become restless due to the impact of current low rates on net interest margins.
Banks are still finding growth opportunities hard to come by without higher returns. Price-to-book multiples for J.P. Morgan and Citigroup have averaged 1.07 and .076 times, respectively. So, for the time being, the only solution for banks is to rely on cutting costs and looking for gains elsewhere. Despite the initial appearance of the numbers, they really just show that sometimes silver clouds have dark linings.
Under the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial law, the nation’s too-big-to-fail banks are required to run themselves through stress tests designed to ensure that they can weather another financial crisis. They do this by determining if they have sufficient liquid capital to handle some hypothetical worst-case scenarios. The “stress tests” are the Fed’s way of mitigating against another dismal performance by the banking sector in response to a financial calamity.
Citibank, Goldman Sachs Group Inc., J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. and others have been war gaming in preparation for the official Federal Reserve stress-tests. This round of tests is particularly important for Citigroup, which has had two requests for approval to return capital to shareholders rejected by the Fed. While Citigroup met the Fed’s capital requirements this year, the central bank expressed concern about the company’s competence in measuring the risks facing its global operations.
The Fed uses the so-called Tier 1 common capital ratio as its measure of a bank’s ability to buffer itself against another severe economic downturn. Federal regulations require that banks maintain a minimum of 5% common capital. Citibank chose a hypothetical sharp decline in emerging-market currencies as its doomsday scenario. Defaults by its sister banks in the Far East, and weaker housing markets throughout the region, it assumed, would subsequently occur. It predicted that its ratio would fall to 8.4% under that scenario. The bank’s projected ratio was 9.1% under the stress-test it conducted last year.
J.P. Morgan Chase and Morgan Stanley passed their own midterms with solid results. J. P. Morgan Chase predicted its capital levels under a hypothetical economic downturn would be 8.4%, down from 8.5% a year ago. Morgan Stanley projected its ratio would fall to 8.9%, down from a 9.5%. Bank of America Corp. said it would have the same capital level – 8.4%- that it had last year under a stressed scenario, but said it took on tougher hypotheticals on some fronts.
Goldman Sachs and Wells Fargo & Co predicted they would be in a better position to navigate strong financial headwinds than they were. Goldman pegged its estimated ratio at 10.1%, up from 8.9%, and Wells Fargo predicted its ratio would be up from 9.6%to 9.9%. The Federal Reserve’s annual stress-testing process typically concludes sometime in spring.
Bank Profits Up
According to recently released figures by the FDIC, outstanding construction loans for both residential and commercial projects increased to $223.2 billion in the second quarter. That is a 4% increase over the first quarter.
According to economists, the increase is due to the fact that lenders appear to be growing more comfortable extending credit, and the demand for credit is improving. Based on this, both residential and commercial construction should increase steadily moving forward. This is because the level of construction still remains low historically and vacancy rates are falling.
Vacancy rates have been declining in recent years. Since 2010, office building vacancies in the top 79 U.S. metropolitan cities have dropped slowly from their recent high of 17.6%.
Despite the small increase, construction lending has a ways to go to even approach half of its highs during the real estate boom. Homebuilders and lenders seem to agree the boost is slight, staying optimistic, as they have seen more banks of all sizes entering the construction lending space in the past 12 months.
It seems evident that one factor needed to revive the stalled home construction business is an increase in lending to builders. Home construction accounts for 5% of the U.S. gross domestic product but remains at 3.1% for the third consecutive year in this year’s second quarter.
Several factors which have impacted the new home market have been:
Nevertheless, the construction market seems to continue to gain steam, albeit slow, and according to some, banks seem to be a bit more aggressive at chasing the right deals which has helped loosen overall loan terms. According to Scott Laurie, chief executive of California builder the Olson Co. “It’s a good world today, the best it has been to be borrowing and building since the recovery started.”
With construction lending on the rise, it appears evident that more and more constructions jobs are slated to increase this year as well. Thus the need for invoice factoring by contractors, sub-contractors, and construction companies has never been greater. It is common knowledge that in the construction industry, customers are slow to pay contractors, sub-contractors, and construction companies for their work. Now these individuals and companies can get immediate cash for their invoices.
With Capstone Capital Group, LLC’s single invoice factoring program, we can help you move on to the next phase of your project right away. You can even take on new projects without worrying about additional working capital requirements.
We have been helping small to mid-sized businesses for years to obtain the necessary working capital they need to sustain and grow during uncertain economic times without all the red tape you typically get from most banks. Capstone Capital Group, LLC specializes in Single Invoice Factoring (“Spot Factoring”) for firms in need of immediate cash. Spot Factoring provides flexible, no contract invoice selling in exchange for working capital from Capstone Capital Group.
To learn more what we can do for you and your business, visit us on the web at https://capstonetrade.com/, or give us a call today at (212) 755-3636.
Despite the recent surge in construction spending in New York, recent reports indicate the number of permits issued are down compared with prior years. The building congress which promotes the construction industry in New York estimates that while construction spending will increase this year, only 20,000 residential units will be created. This number represents a mere 9% increase in the total number of units built since 2013; this figure is still relatively low since more than 30,000 units were constructed annually during the period between 2005 and 2008.
Although some might see this uptick in residential development spending as a major step in the right direction, others believe there are still some significant challenges which need to be overcome. Particularly in the area of affordable housing. Mayor Bill de Blasio has been pushing for more affordable housing, however experts point to certain challenges including, high cost of land, rezoning issues, and city bureaucracy which makes it difficult for developers to build anything other than luxury condominiums.
According to Richard Anderson, president of the Building Congress, “While the luxury residential market is booming in Manhattan and in parts of Brooklyn and Queens, we have our work cut out for us in terms of achieving Mayor de Blasio’s plan to create or preserve 200,000 units of affordable housing over the next decade.”
The good news coming out of all of this is that the number of jobs created as a result of this surge in construction spending. Experts estimate construction jobs to reach 122,700 in 2014. With construction jobs slated to increase this year, the need for invoice factoring by contractors, sub-contractors, and construction companies has never been greater. It is common knowledge that in the construction industry, customers are slow to pay and contractors, sub-contractors, and construction companies for their work. Now these individuals and companies can get immediate cash for their invoices.
With Capstone Capital Group, LLC’s single invoice factoring program, we can help you move on to the next phase of your project right away, or you can even take on new projects without worrying about additional working capital requirements.
We have been helping small to mid-sized businesses for years obtain the necessary working capital they need to sustain and grow during uncertain economic times without all the red tape you normally get from most banks. Capstone Capital Group, LLC specializes in Single Invoice Factoring (“Spot Factoring”) for firms in need of immediate cash. Spot Factoring provides flexible, no contract invoice selling in exchange for working capital from Capstone Capital Group.
To learn more what we can do for our and your business, visit us on the web at www.capstonetrade.com, or give us a call today at (212) 755-3636.
Critics fear that if banks have to post every new loan as a potential loss, then banks that are having a bad quarter will simply cancel or postpone loans they might otherwise make in order to avoid negative perception. Some banks might do so even in a strong quarter simply to increase the appearance of profitability. The result might be less trustworthy reports and lower transparency in lending. Ironically, profits would look higher, but long term economic growth would be hurt by less available financing. This could be especially harmful during an economic downturn.
Effective in 2018
These new accounting rules would affect over a hundred countries, but would not take effect until 2018. The need for the new loan loss rule was considered necessary due to the financial crisis of 2007-2008, in which banks were criticized for failing to recognize loans that were going bad earlier, thereby making it impossible for investors to protect themselves from bad lending policies.
Treating every loan as a potential loss at the outset makes that kind of fiscal blindness impossible. However, it also makes granting each new loan a threat to a bank’s bottom line, at least on paper and in the short term. The fear is that this will result in delaying or denying loans in order produce artificial profits on paper.
Some members of the Accounting Standards Board are suggesting alternative rules, such as a rule that would force a portion of the interest earned on each loan to be held in reserve in case the loan goes bad. This would accomplish the same goal of getting banks to keep more in reserve to cover their losses, but without creating incentives to deny loans or manipulate the books by strategic delays. It will be interesting to see if that or other alternatives to the currently planned loan loss rule are successfully introduced between now and 2018.