Looking for a loan these days? You’ve got a one in four chance of finding a Middle Tennessee community bank working hard to put new money to work.
An analysis of newly released Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. data shows that just seven of the almost 30 banks headquartered in the Nashville area or doing a large part of their business here grew their loans portfolio by more than 3 percent in the third quarter.
On the flip side, a dozen banks shrank their loan portfolios during the quarter, resulting in net loan growth of just $4.2 million on a base of more than $13 billion. As a percentage of assets, outstanding loans fell more than 70 basis points during the quarter.
Banks are retrenching and spending more time on managing the problem assets that are causing plenty of headaches and losses: As a group, the 28 banks in our database lost almost $20 million in the three months that ended Sept. 30, their third collective loss in four quarters.
Among the ‘notable’ details in that headline number are $12.3 million loss posted by The Bank of Nashville, which charged off almost 7 percent of its loans and took a $13.3 million loan loss provision during the quarter. Also contributing to the red ink were Community First Bank & Trust, MidSouth Bank and Sumner Bank & Trust.
On a positive note, Volunteer State Bank earned more than $2 million during the quarter after barely breaking even in the spring, while Gallatin’s Farmers Bank lifted its profits to $1.2 million from $854,000 on the back of higher fee income and lower expenses.
Farmers is one of just seven area banks that have posted a profit each of the last four quarters. The others are Wilson Bank & Trust, First Farmers & Merchants, First Federal, Community Bank & Trust, Bank of Dickson and TriStar.
Local banks’ shrinking risk appetite mirrors a national trend that had the FDIC’s boss haranguing the sector earlier this week.
“We need to see banks making more loans to their business customers,” Bair said Tuesday. “This is especially true for small businesses that rely on FDIC-insured institutions to provide over 60 percent of the credit they use.”