Several weeks ago, Janet Yellen boldly declared “I don’t believe we will see another crisis in our lifetime.” For the rest of us who live in reality there is little doubt that the latest Fed-fueled credit bubble will eventually burst in epic fashion and once again lay waste to the personal balance sheets of millions of Americans. And while the timing of market collapses can never be predicted, UBS strategist Matthew Mish says there is one thing that is certain about the next credit unwind, it will be unlike anything we’ve seen before.
To summarize, Mish notes that unlike previous credit expansion cycles, this current one has been dominated not by traditional banks but rather by non-bank lending entities and government backed loans, especially in riskier subprime residential, auto and student loans. Moreover, unlike traditional lenders, Government debt tends to be much slower to react to things like rising delinquency rates…you know, because it’s just taxpayer money so who cares.
First, non-bank lending (as a share of net loan growth) has accounted for about two thirds of the total expansion, akin to prior cycles. However, the non-bank share has been elevated in residential real estate (at 101%), but depressed in commercial real estate (30%) versus history. Second, the role of federal credit support has been very material, with a significant 45% of net loan growth this cycle coming from government (or government guaranteed) loans. In particular, government backed loans (as a share of the debt stock) now comprise a record 63% of residential and 29% of consumer loans, respectively, up 9% and 18% from 2010. In nominal terms, non-government related net debt growth has been negative for retail loans in aggregate. Third, while the share of non-bank lending has held steady, their share of higher risk debt has increased substantially across many loan categories. Non-banks account for 58% of outstanding adversely rated (leveraged loan) commitments, roughly 75% of recently originated FHA mortgage loans, and over 85% of subprime student and auto loans. With some exceptions (think auto and student loans), Mish notes that overall non-financial debt growth has roughly mirrored past credit cycles.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Aug 11, 2017.