Growth in middle market commercial lending

Recent articles in the Wall Street Journal and American Banker both discuss growth in U.S. banks’ commercial and industrial (C&I) lending.  This growth in business lending has come at a time when banks are striving to find ways to catalyze revenue growth.

Banks’ first quarter financials shows particularly strong growth rates in lending to mid-sized commercial clients.  The following table shows that for some leading U.S. banks (who break out C&I loan portfolio), middle market lending was stronger than overall C&I lending in the most recent quarter (the exception to this was at U.S. Bank).


4Q10-1Q11 Change in Average Loan Portfolio

Middle Market











U.S. Bank



In addition, banks reported growth in credit line utilization rates in 1Q11, in some cases for the first time in many quarters:

  • Bank of America reported that its middle market revolver utilization rate rose to 35%
  • Wells Fargo announced that its wholesale line utilization rate rose by 50 bps in the quarter to 33%
  • Chase middle market line utilization increased 100 bps in the quarter to 35%