National Penn Bancshares Inc., like its Philadelphia-area rivals, suffers from "no loan growth," writes analyst Frank Schiraldi at Sandler O'Neill + Partners, NY. "As we continue to see from others in the footprint, loan growth was nil in the quarter" ended March 31 and newly reported last week.

Commercial lending was actually up 1.1% since the quarter ended Dec. 31 (core deposits also rose), but the gain "was offset by continued declines in residential mortgages" as many southeastern and central PA homeowners keep paying down their loans as soon as they can afford to, Schiraldi told clients in a report..
Bank managers say "competition is heating up on both structure and pricing," making for a borrower's market, Schiraldi added.
He said Nat Penn won't compete on structure (implying a refusal to go back to the bubble-years practice of reducing down payments, for example).
But Nat Penn bosses said they may have a little "wiggle room" on loan pricing, even with today's low rates, for commercial real estate loans.