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WSJ: Railcar Leasing Becomes Headache for Lenders

December 27, 2019, 07:30 AM
Filed Under: Rail Transportation

Banks including Wells Fargo & Co., Citigroup Inc., PNC Financial Services Group Inc. and CIT Group Inc. own hundreds of thousands of railcars that carry coal, grain and other commodities through North America. It is an unusual line of business for lenders, which typically focus on more traditional loans and deposits. Now the niche has become a headache, the Wall Street Journal reports. Tepid railroad demand and changes in commodity markets have made it a rare weak spot in commercial lending.

Banks got rid of many of their esoteric business lines after the financial crisis but largely hung onto their railcars, leasing them out for a variety of commercial purposes. In return they get a steady stream of revenue, though that has taken a major hit.

"The industry is suffering, there's no two ways about it," said David Nahass, President of Railroad Financial Corp., which advises railroads and lessors, told the Wall Street Journal. "Lease rates are down and there's not a source of hope about when it will start to improve."

Read more of the article here.

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