Thursday, July 30, 2009

Minnesota: Lenders Gone Wild

by Bill McBride on 7/30/2009 12:26:00 PM

The Star Tribune has a series on small banks in trouble: Lenders Gone Wild

There are three parts:

Part 1: Minnesota’s small banks on the brink

In Minnesota, regulators have seized and closed two banks since 2008 and have ordered 16 others to clean up their balance sheets. Another 65 of the state's 430 banks and thrifts are on a secret watch list, and state banking officials expect more to fail as they are pulled down by bad real estate loans.
...
Foresight Analytics estimates that the nation's 8,000 community banks will suffer losses of $60 billion related to commercial real estate in the next two to three years, and that about 713 banks across the country will fail. Under that scenario, about 19 banks in Minnesota will fail and commercial real estate losses could total more than $2 billion.
That is more than the rumored (and denied) comment about 500 bank failures attributed to FDIC Chairman Bair.

And this is a great warning:
Bank consultant Robert Viering, principal of River Point Group Inc. in Monticello, had that lesson drilled into him when he was a regional credit officer at the former Norwest Bank. A credit manual, circa 1990, warned him and his colleagues: "The pivotal issue in CRE lending is knowing when to stop. Restraint must be initiated by bankers because historically borrowers have been unable to recognize the warning signs. Commercial real estate lending should not be viewed as the cornerstone of a loan portfolio."
Absolutely. The CRE developers just go crazy at the end of every boom; restraint must be initiated by bankers.

Part 2: Credit unions: where the credit flowed too freely

And Part 3 tomorrow: As loans grew, regulators shrank