Forbes writers don't read Forbes

Apparently, the only financial people not reading Forbes are those who write in Forbes. This article, from October 2, refer several times to the drop in interbank lending (but extends this to include “lending to other banks and to customers of banks”).

On the other hand, this article, from October 1, makes it clear that bank loans to businesses are actually up from last year while interbank lending is in fact down by ~12%. Interestingly, that 12% is about a tiny fraction of the amount of commercial loans, and the increase in commercial loans alone, over $200 billion, from last year is 3x bigger than the total amount of interbank loans.

Now, I don’t purport to know whether the interbank number is so critical to the economy. I do know that when I start looking for problems, I start with the biggest numbers. In this case, the commercial loan portfolio is about $1.5 trillion, vs. $72 billion for interbank. Where would you look first to see what’s going on? A source of change chart would be much more useful to put the issue in perspective — unfortunately, I don’t have time to put that together just yet. Maybe the Forbes.com editorial board will solve the dilemma for us.

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