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Banks That Shun Risky Borrowers Offer Rosy View of U.S. Consumer

  • Loan books are ‘pristine’ as delinquency rates plummet
  • Lending shifts favor wealthy debtors, top-shelf credit scores
Shoppers Inside The Fashion Outlets Of Chicago Mall For Black Friday Sales
Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg

With most U.S. households spending more and paying their bills on time, their creditors are feeling more confident than ever. To hear the CEOs of the nation’s largest banks tell it this week, rarely has the American consumer been in better shape.

But look deeper and it’s clear that view of the broad U.S. economy has its limits. They’re basing their assessments on clients lucky enough to bank with eight of the biggest lenders, with a combined $11 trillion in assets.