Increased Lending Coming from Non-Bank Sources

Lightly regulated, non-bank lenders collectively referred to as the “shadow-banking system” continue to benefit from the Federal Reserve’s low interest rate policy. Investors have poured money into vehicles that provide higher returns on the back of financing riskier loans. Assets held by US Business Development Companies (BDC), such as real estate investment trusts (REITS), have increased from $779 billion in 2008 to $1.22 trillion in 2013. REITs borrow in the short-term financial markets to make investments in longer-term assets. While yield-hungry investors have found investments to meet their mandate, global financial risk has also increased. REITS and BDCs have experienced rapid growth in recent years, leading to greater competition and lower underwriting standards. Increased capital requirements and regulations make it more difficult for traditional money center banks to loan to non-prime customers, leading consumers to source credit from non-bank entities. While the Financial Stability Board has proposed a package of measures to regulate lending standards, it is estimated that 25 to 40 percent of bank customers will have to seek loans from non-bank entities, potentially driving further growth in the shadow-banking sector.