In January 2023, US banks gave out over $1 trillion in loans to non-regulated shadow banks. This marks a significant increase from the previous year, with outstanding loans to non-depository financial entities reaching $1.0024 trillion, representing a roughly 12.16% year-over-year surge. This rapid growth in lending to shadow banks has raised concerns among regulators about potential systemic risks.
Shadow banks are often less regulated than traditional banks and may lend money to enterprises with higher returns but also much greater risks. Regulators worry that these so-called shadow banks could pose a threat to the stability of the financial system if they default on their loans or if their lending practices lead to widespread losses for banks and other financial institutions.
To mitigate these risks, several major banks including Citigroup and Wells Fargo have strengthened their ties with alternative asset lenders. By partnering with these less regulated lenders, these major banks can share risk and reduce their exposure to higher risk debt. However, some experts warn that such loosely regulated financial institutions could still expose banks to lower-quality loans and other risks.
Since 2010, when banks were first required to report the volume of loans made to non-bank lenders, the share of financing to shadow banks has reached 6% of all bank lending, more than auto lending and not far below credit card debt. As such, regulators continue to closely monitor the activities of shadow banks and work to ensure that they operate within safe parameters that protect both consumers and the broader financial system as a whole.
In conclusion, while US banks’ increased lending activity towards non-regulated shadow