The biggest U.S. banks reduced the portion of their collective balance sheets they're dedicating to loans to a new low, extending a trend that's seen the largest lenders put less and less of their firepower behind everyday borrowers.

Total loans at the 25 biggest U.S. banks comprise less than 46 percent of their combined assets, down from 54 percent this time last year, according to weekly Federal Reserve data made public on Friday. At 45.8 percent, the share of total assets devoted to loans is the lowest figure in nearly 36 years of weekly data.

The figures provide a fresh reality check for an industry that's been playing up its support for businesses and households as the Covid-19 pandemic ravages the economy. While the total amount that banks have loaned out has stagnated, the nation's biggest lenders have rapidly expanded other parts of their businesses, such as their holdings of Treasuries and government-backed mortgage securities.

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