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Inside Washington (09/06/2010)
* WASHINGTON (9/7/10)--There are signs that banks’ loan standards are loosening, according to a report released Thursday by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. That’s good for credit markets, provided banks have sound underwriting and don’t compromise their standards because of competitive pressures, said Dave Wilson, deputy comptroller for credit and market risk. Examiners noted that risk in commercial and retail portfolios increased for the third consecutive year, and they expect portfolio risk to increase over the coming year. The increase was due to the combined effects of loans previously underwritten with more liberal standards and continued economic weakness. This year’s survey also indicated that most banks use the same underwriting standards regardless of whether they intend to hold or distribute credits. The OCC’s survey is a compilation of examiner observations and assessments of credit underwriting standards at the largest national banks. The 2010 survey included 51 of the largest national banks and covered the 12-month period ending March 31. The aggregate total of loans was $4 trillion, which represented more than 93% of all outstanding loans ... * WASHINGTON (9/7/10)--Members of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission challenged Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke and Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Chairman Sheila Bair over whether the regulatory reform law will eliminate future government bailouts. Both Bernanke and Bair said there will be no more government bailouts. Bair said that the Financial Stability Oversight Council, created by the regulatory reform law, which was enacted July 21, will be held accountable. Some panelists were not convinced that there would be no more bailouts, and asked if the stability council was any different than the President’s Working Group. Bair said the group is different and will be a more “robust, comprehensive” effort (American Banker Sept. 3). The group also has the authority to break up a risky institution and order that an institution without a living will be divested, Bernanke and Bair said ...

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