It looks like the retail banks will begin lending more in the near future. There are a few reasons for this idea. The banks' last quarter's earnings showed a lessening of loan losses. The banks' trading gains have also come back to earth now, eliminating that outlier. Companies also will be looking to expand their business as their balance sheets are cleaned up and their efficiencies are almost at an all time high.
The banks loan loss totals are getting smaller. This is obviously a positive for the banks in a couple of ways. Primarily, the banks can lessen the amount of money they hold back in order to cover loan losses. Last quarter, the banks used this money to pad earnings. But this is a bad long term strategy and can not be used for very long. The banks also have to replenish the amount of actual loans that were dramatically lessened in the last three to four years to their balance sheet. Consumer credit is increasing, allowing banks to feel more comfortable lending. Businesses have straightened out there balance sheets and set up their businesses to grow.
The ridiculous trading profits that were provided by the government funding through TARP is basically over. The market will not increase 50% like it did in the last two years. This will force the banks to find other forms of revenue in order to keep their shareholders happy. Lending is something that the banks are rumored to do from time to time.
Companies will have to expand their business in order to grow their profits. The ability to cut more is almost over. Production is quite high right now. Their balance sheets are set up to handle loans. They will be looking to the banks in order to provide loans to expand their business.