Mad Money

Cramer rebels against Wall Street's 'downbeat' outlook on the banks

Key Points
  • "Mad Money" host Jim Cramer pushes back on theories that the big banks aren't performing as well as they should be.
  • Cramer says the banking business is the healthiest it's been in years.
Cramer disagrees with Wall Street's 'downbeat' bank outlook

CNBC's Jim Cramer sees a thesis building that loan growth is stagnant, loan demand is collapsing and the banks are unwilling to lend — and he isn't buying it.

"That's the downbeat consensus investors have cobbled together over the last few days after hearing from all the big banks and no one's bothering to dispute it," the "Mad Money" host said on Wednesday. "That's why the bank stocks have stalled and are going lower."

This is happening despite the pervasive narrative that the U.S. economy is growing, stimulated by the government's tax overhaul and increasing consumer spending, Cramer said.

And in the latest earnings reports from Citigroup, Bank of America and J.P. Morgan, the big banks forecast low-single-digit loan growth, which Cramer saw as steady and responsible.

"But when you overlay what was supposed to happen with tax reform, you end up with a narrative that says something like, 'Is that all there is? Business isn't picking up despite a trillion bucks in tax cuts?'" Cramer explained.

"And then you get the killer: 'No wonder the yield curve is flat,'" Cramer continued, still quoting the bears. "'There's no real demand. It's not picking up or the 10-year Treasury [yield] would be north of 3 percent by now. All of this when the Fed is raising rates? Look out, recession, here we come.'"

Instead of following blindly, the "Mad Money" host said that his analysis showed the banks acting disciplined in a more competitive lending environment.

"My response? Please stop being so melodramatic," Cramer said. "The banks are making so much money off of your deposits that they've been able to generate huge, risk-free earnings. That's great. It makes the banks not just investable, but pretty darned cheap down here selling at roughly 12 times earnings."

All in all, Cramer found the banks to be "open for business," with big profits and large deposit bases at their disposal. He saw them as disciplined and selective in their lending, not struggling.

He also suggested investors take a 30,000-foot view at the banks' business lines, where auto loans, mortgages, construction and the credit card business are all improving.

"The banks are not sending a signal that the economy's slowing, or that tax cuts have failed to bring about growth, or that we're headed into recession, either. Not at all," the "Mad Money" host said. "Instead, I think they're saying, 'Things are good, not amazing, not overheated, but good and responsible,' and the financials are the healthiest they've been in years."

"If that makes you want to bet against the U.S. economy, you might want to seek some professional help," Cramer concluded.

WATCH: Cramer goes against Wall Street's bank consensus

Cramer rebels against Wall Street's 'downbeat' outlook on the banks

Disclosure: Cramer's charitable trust owns shares of Citigroup and J.P. Morgan.

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