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NR 2007-108
Contact: Kevin M. Mukri
(202) 874-5770

OCC Survey Finds Bank Underwriting Standards Continue to Ease

WASHINGTON — The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency released today its thirteenth annual Survey of Credit Underwriting Practices and reported that commercial and retail underwriting standards continued to ease for the fourth consecutive year.

The 2007 survey reflected a divergence of commercial underwriting standards by institution size. Large banks continued to ease standards, especially for leveraged and large corporate products. Midsize banks eased standards modestly, while community banks tightened standards.

Examiner assessments found that the easing of underwriting standards results in commercial credit risk increasing, which is expected to continue during the current annual survey period.

In contrast to the easing of underwriting standards reported, the changes in market conditions since the survey was completed led to underwriting standards tightening for various residential real estate products.

The 2007 survey included the 78 largest national banks and covered the 12-month period ending March 31, 2007. The aggregate total of loans was $3.2 trillion, which represented over 85 percent of all outstanding loans in the national banking system.

The survey can be found on the OCC's Web site at: http://www.occ.gov/publications/publications-by-type/survey-credit-underwriting/pub-survey-cred-under-2007.pdf.

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