This article made the front page of the Wall Street Journal today:
Apparently, bank lending fell in the 4th quarter last year among the 20 largest banks. Noticeably deviating from the pack was one of my favorite firms, BB&T. (Get used to that company if you don't know me well. I mention it a lot. Also, in the interest of full disclosure, I own some of their stock.) While the top 20 banks averaged a 1.4% decrease in lending, BB&T managed to increase their lending 2.1%. Then the Journal produces this snippet:
Huh, imagine that. This King guy just took over as CEO this month from god-among-men John Allison, but so far I think I'm going to like him. "Not going to make a bunch of bad loans." Too bad Wamu and Wachovia didn't have crack business acumen like that at their disposal back in 2006.
At BB&T, a Winston-Salem, N.C., bank that got $3.13 billion from TARP, fourth-quarter lending volume rose about 2%, or $2 billion. While BB&T is making new loans, Chief Executive Kelly King said the bank invested much of its taxpayer capital as a way to earn a decent return while shunning risk.
"We parked it there, and will redeploy it as quickly as we can, not in a panic," Mr. King said last week on a conference call with analysts. "We're not going to make a bunch of bad loans."