Credit Crisis Hits Worst Level Since Great Recession As Millions Of Americans Go Bankrupt

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Bankruptcies are hitting average American families, and U.S. businesses really hard in 2024, according to data from the U.S. Courts. Higher consumer prices are making Americans take on massive loads of debt just to get by, while businesses are being impacted by decreased sales and falling profits at a time costs continue to climb. The credit crisis is now reaching levels last seen during the Great Recession, with big banks tightening their lending standards to prevent further losses and more failures in the months ahead.

In fact, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System reported that bank credit levels have fallen for three quarters in a row, marking the first sustained contraction since 2010. This is only the second such decline in more than half a century. The last one was witnessed during the years of 2008 and 2009, when the world was grappling with the repercussions of the Global Financial Crisis.

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The extended slump in bank lending comes as many Wall Street analysts continue to project a pessimistic outlook for the U.S. economy. “Bank credit is contracting for only the 2nd time in 50 years,” stressed Tilo Marotz, head of liquid assets at German insurer Continentale Versicherungsverbund. The credit contraction means that companies and consumers will have to borrow less, with higher interest rates making it more expensive to take out loans, he explained.

When it’s harder to raise debt, businesses are less likely to go on with spending projects, and consumers are forced to delay big purchases, including cars and homes, which can further drag on economic growth. Record-high interest rates only add assault to injury. Still, the central bank has signaled that it’ll not start loosening monetary policy until it reaches its 2% target. Until then, it will be tougher for households and businesses to access credit, experts say.

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Late last month, the Federal Reserve’s Senior Loan Officer Opinion Survey revealed that most banks in the U.S. tightened their lending standards during the past quarter. For businesses, 51% of banks tightened their lending standards for commercial and industrial loans to large and middle market firms, while 68% tightened standards for commercial real estate loans. Since February, commercial real estate loans held by banks have declined by $33 billion due to rising delinquency rates and high exposure to the sector’s ongoing crisis.

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