Return of Lending
Obama's meeting with the "fat cat" bankers made news yesterday. Apparently, Obama pressed the bankers to make loans. This is all well and good, but talk can only go so far. There have been glimmers of hope that lending is going to return without presidential prodding. As I have noted before, the CMBS market is re-emerging. Now I see this article on Bloomberg discussing the return of Collateralized Loan Obligations (CLOs).
The idea of traditional banking exists on a limited level - i.e. making loans and collecting interest until the loans mature. This is portfolio lending and it limits banks' capital because they cannot recycle and grow capital until the loans mature. Bankers now want to originate loans, package them into CLOs or CDOs or CMBSs, and then sell these groups of loans to third parties. The collapse of the packaged loan market and the inability to price these securities sparked the financial crisis of 2007 through 2009.
In an ideal world, the bankers now know how to price these securities and they surely know how these loan packages perform in down markets. The collateral backing the loans will be more realistic now due to the drop in asset prices over the past two years. A return of securitized lending will help the economy. It will also help companies that need to refinance debt.