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Financial Services Law Insights and Observations

Fed releases third quarter SLOOS survey on bank lending practices

Bank Regulatory Federal Issues Agency Rule-Making & Guidance Loans Banking

On November 6, the Fed released its quarterly survey of Senior Loan Officer Opinion Survey (SLOOS) on bank lending practices. The report is administered to mostly domestic banks but includes some international banks.

The findings are summarized based on each type of loan: commercial, real estate, and consumer. Regarding business loans, the Fed finds banks reported “tighter standards and weaker demand for commercial and industrial loans.” For commercial real estate loans, banks reported “tighter standards and weaker demand” as well. For household loans, banks reported that “lending standards tightened across all categories of residential real estate loans (other than government residential mortgages),” but demand weakened for all residential real estate loans. Similarly, but for HELOCs, banks reported “tighter standards and weaker demand.” For consumer loans, such as credit cards, and auto loans, among others, “standards reportedly tightened, and demand weakened on balance.”

The Fed also asked questions related to banks’ comfort level in approving applications based on FICO scores; the Fed found that banks were “less likely to approve such loans for borrowers with FICO scores of 620 and 680 in comparison with the beginning of the year, while they were… about as likely to approve auto loan applications for borrowers with FICO scores of 720 over this same period.” Finally, the Fed inquired about reasons why banks tightened their lending standards in the third quarter. Banks explained that economic conditions created a “reduced tolerance for risk; deterioration in the credit quality of loans and collateral values; and concerns about funding costs.”