Dec
14

Are Banks Approving Riskier Loans?

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risk knobA survey of 95 national banks and federal savings associations revealed overall on average, those institutions have eased their underwriting standards for the third consecutive year, according to a report from the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC).

The 21st annual Survey of Credit Underwriting Practices conducted by the OCC showed that underwriting standards at those 95 institutions had not only eased during the period of 2013 to 2015, but reflected trends similar to those seen from 2005 to 2007 immediately prior to the crisis. The survey results cover the 12-month period ending June 30, 2015, and covers loans totaling $5.1 trillion, or about 94 percent of all loans in the federal banking system, according to the OCC.

The survey found that due to the easing underwriting standards, the level of credit risk that came with the loans had increased significantly. A significant share of commercial and real estate loan products reflected increased risk from 2014, according to the OCC—and examiners expect both portfolios to see increased levels of risk over the next 12 months.

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