OCC Survey Shows Easing in Banks’ Underwriting Standards


The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency has released its 17th annual Survey of Credit Underwriting Practices. After three years of broad tightening of underwriting standards, this year’s survey showed some signs of easing especially in commercial products. Even so, numerous banks made no changes or continued to tighten underwriting standards especially in products with poor performance.

Underwriting standards remain in transition as banks continue to react to economic conditions and changing risk in their portfolios. For certain products, banks are once again easing standards in response to competition, an improvement in credit market liquidity and a desire for more market share. On the other hand, an uncertain economic outlook, changing risk appetite and continued poor product performance were key influences where standards were unchanged or continued to tighten.

The survey is a compilation of examiner observations and assessments of credit underwriting standards. The 2011 survey included 54 of the largest national banks, covering the 12-month period ending Feb. 28, 2011.

The survey can be downloaded from the OCC’s website HERE

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