PeerIQ released their Q4 2018 Lending Earnings Insights Report which points to a number of themes showing the economy is strong but CEOs are striking a cautious tone. Delinquencies and defaults continue to be low as consumers have seen their wages rise and taxes drop. Lenders are increasing reserves as they anticipate credit to renormalize in the near future, saying the economy right now was too good to be true.
The report covers earnings reports from big banks and fintech lenders. Stock performance was mixed with the flattening yield curve causing banks and card issuer stocks in particular to suffer. Companies covered include Enova, LendingClub, One Main Financial, OnDeck, GreenSky, Bank of America, Citibank, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase, Morgan Stanley, Wells Fargo, Capital One, Discover, Synchrony and American Express.
One of the growing trends has been the pull back by banks lending directly to consumers and small businesses. Banks are instead increasing funding lines to non bank lenders, credit facility volume has grown 6x since 2010. The growth in originations from non bank lenders has forced regulators to look at them more closely, while the FDIC is considering granting ILC charters to non banks.
Broadly across the credit spectrum fintech lenders have seen delinquencies and charge offs remain at near record lows. All the companies in this segment saw double digit revenue and origination growth YoY. Lenders have started to raised borrowing rates, though not at the same pace as the Fed Funds Rate. The flattening yield curve has raised the cost of borrowing on credit facilities, causing margins for lenders and investors to be compressed.
Big banks experienced another strong earnings quarter as all covered in the report saw double digit increase in earnings. Revenue drivers vary from bank type to bank type. Big banks covered within the report saw deposits rise due to a better digital banking experience, an integration between wealth and banking products and a retail branch expansion. As a group the banks are growing, albeit slower than in the past, through digital means and are focused on the long term potential of products they are currently building.
Credit card issuers all saw their earnings grow by more than 20 percent YoY. Most card issuers also saw growth in revenue and their loan books. Growth in total allowances for losses outpaced loan growth, pointing to the fact that most card issuers see a credit normalization coming. Card issuers have used the partnership model with stores like Walmart, JC Penney and Lowes to grow revenues.
Overall economic health, low delinquencies and low charge offs show that the credit space is doing quite well. Though the report points out that most of these companies do not expect this environment to last forever, they are in the midst of preparing for a change while they keep growth humming along.