Businesses are sitting on record amounts of unused credit from U.S. banks, another quirk in the economic recovery that bankers say could help unleash pent-up spending in the coming months.
Bank executives said their business clients have in recent months ramped up requests for credit lines that can be drawn quickly for spending on inventory, labor or expansions.
Companies aren’t actually drawing the money into their bank accounts just yet. Businesses are already stuffed with cash, and supply-chain issues and labor shortages have crimped their ability to spend it. But bankers say the activity in recent months is evidence that businesses are planning to turn on the spending spigot. That could help the economy shoot higher.
JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Bank of America Corp. , the two biggest banks in the U.S., together had nearly $1 trillion in unused corporate credit at the end of June. That is up 20% from a year ago and a quarterly record at both banks.
“This virtuous circle of hiring workers and meeting customer spending will help drive the economy, and hopefully will result in more line usage on our loans,” Bank of America Chief Executive Brian Moynihan told analysts last month.