In Depth Analysis: CalculatedRisk Newsletter on Real Estate (Ad Free) Read it here.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Bank Failures and Commercial Real Estate

by Calculated Risk on 1/23/2009 02:44:00 AM

As I've noted several times most regional banks avoided the residential real estate market (because they couldn't compete) and instead focused on CRE and C&D (construction & development) lending. This exposed many regional banks to excessive CRE and C&D loan concentrations, and now that CRE will implode in 2009, many of these banks will be in serious jeopardy.

Eric Dash at the NY Times has some details: Smaller Banks’ Losses Expected to Bring Mergers

Most of these banks were never big players in credit cards, subprime mortgages or credit-default swaps. But they were major lenders to commercial real estate developers, home builders and small corporations. As the recession tightens, losses have started to surge.

“There will not be the shock and awe factor” of the big bank losses, said Nancy A. Bush, a longtime banking analyst. But “small and midsize banks are up to their eyeballs in commercial real estate related to residential development and business loans. We are going to see a reckoning with how bad that got” in 2009.
Gerard Cassidy, a veteran banking analyst, projected that 200 to 300 small banks might fail or be forced into mergers over the next year or so. While that is still a fraction of the industry’s 8,400 banks, it is up sharply from the 25 bank failures in 2008.
Sounds like Bank Failure Fridays will be busy this year.