A weaker than expected economic recovery and historically favourable conditions in corporate bond markets are moderating demand for bank credit among Fortune 500 companies. With major banks starting to compete aggressively to make loans to these creditworthy borrowers, the largest US companies find themselves in an enviable position in terms of funding.
Every year, Greenwich Associates asks the Fortune 500 companies participating in the firm’s US Large Corporate Banking Research Study to name the banks they use for credit and other banking services, and to rate these providers according to a series of detailed criteria. In 2009, on average only 23% of the customers of the top 10 corporate banks in the United States gave these banks an “excellent” rating in terms of “willingness to extend credit in amounts and at terms that meet expectations.” In 2010 that share proportion jumped to 43%, with another 37% ranking their banks as “above average” in this category. (See figure 1) Client ratings improved along similar lines in the categories of banks’ “commitment to long-term, sustainable relationships,” and to companies’ overall levels of satisfaction with their current providers. (See figure 2)