It's no secret that the financial services industry has undergone vast changes in recent years. What can consumers expect to see in 1989?
The Consumer Bankers Association, a trade group of retail banks, savings and loans and credit unions, asked its board of directors to look into the crystal ball and share ideas of what will happen in the coming year.Among the questions considered:
What are the major decisions faced by the new administration and Congress that will affect retail financial services?
- Congress and the administration must address two major decisions that will affect retail financial services: the federal deficit and the insolvent thrift industry. Solutions to both will require restraint in overall government spending programs and perhaps even increased taxes. - Allen Lastinger, Barnett Banks.
- FSLIC, FSLIC, FSLIC!
Anyone who isn't in a coma has to acknowledge this as the major, dominating issue. The crisis dimensions will lead to a solution of the obvious financial issues. The longer term impact on retail banking will be how that solution affects confidence in the system.
The second major issue for the administration is aggressive support for comprehensive restructuring of the industry. It cannot happen without strong, visible support from the (U.S.) Treasury.
The second priority for (those in) Congress is to prove that they are capable of legislating. If they cannot pass a major banking bill in the first session of this Congress - and I don't think they can - they run the risk of being left out of the game forever. The industry should simply turn to the regulators, the courts and the states. - Jack Kolesar, Ameritrust Development Bank, and chairman of CBA's Government Relations Council.
Are consumers retrenching, or are they changing their patterns of holding loans and deposits? Could this affect the economy in 1989?
- Consumer loan demand appears to have weakened in the second half of 1988 and will probably continue into 1989.
There is some glimmer of hope that the consumer savings rate has increased. We should encourage this higher savings rate via legislation. - Jack Kopec, Wells Fargo Bank and CBA chairman.
- I believe that in 1989 we will see a general slowdown in consumer borrowing, particularly in the areas of home equity loans and lines of credit. Consumer lenders will have to work smarter and harder to obtain and maintain their anticipated market share of next year's new consumer loan business. - Joseph L. Grabowski, Carteret Consumer Credit Co. and chairman of CBA's home equity lending committee.
- Savings rates are continuing to be a little stronger. Banks are getting their share of CDs but are continuing to have problems with demand deposits and regular savings. Brokerage houses are able to offer better products.
Consumer loan demand should continue fairly strong, although less so than in 1987 and 1988. Credit card debt might decline as some institutions pull out of the national card market because of losses.
I don't see this as having a major effect on the 1989 economy, which should still be fairly strong. There is a potential impact in 1990. - William E. McDonald III, National City Bank.
- Consumers seem to be somewhat more "deposit-conscious" at this time. They are following the interest rates more carefully; considering "term" more thoroughly and using more of their dollars for savings than a year ago. On the credit side, consumers are certainly still borrowing. They are borrowing more selectively for real needs rather than extras - home improvements loans rather than vacations, consolidation of debts rather than vacation homes. - Donald C. Frueh, First Pennsylvania Bank.
What new financial products and services can consumers expect in 1989? What are the trends?
- I think we are less likely to see new products and services, and more likely to see refinements in their pricing and marketing. - Jack Kolesar, Ameritrust Development Bank.
- Financial deregulation has probably run its course for the time being. Deposit deregulation has already occurred, and the regulators and Congress have too many unresolved problems to be initiating new products. - Allen Lastinger, Barnet Banks.
- I see more investment-oriented prod ucts, as they are permitted. We must find a way to compete with brokers. I expect to see more proprietary mutual funds, and more bond department products marketed to the consumer through the retail bank distribution system.
I also expect to see bet ter mortgage products, to lessen cash flow problems and respond to higher priced homes. William E. MacDonald III, National City Bank.