Federal Reserve Chairman Powell had a dinner meeting with President Trump at the White House this week, joined by Fed Vice Chair Clarida and Treasury Secretary Mnuchin. (Meetings between a president and a Fed Chair are rare, but not unprecedented.)
Powell reportedly reiterated that monetary policy was aimed at supporting the Fed’s mandate of maximum employment and stable prices, and that decisions were “based solely on careful, objective and non-political analysis.” The meeting followed repeated public criticism of Powell by the President over Fed rate increases, and on the eve of Powell’s first anniversary as Fed Chair.
Meanwhile, according to the Federal Reserve’s survey of senior loan officers, banks tightened standards for commercial real estate loans in January as demand for business loans generally weakened. Banks reported weaker demand for loans to households and said standards were basically unchanged, except for tighter standards on credit cards. Banks also expect to tighten standards for all categories of business loans, credit card loans and jumbo mortgages in 2019.