Final Guidance Issued on Concentrations in Commercial Real Estate Lending
December 7, 2006
Circular No. 11827

To All Bank Holding Companies, State Member Banks
and Others Concerned in the Second Federal Reserve Distric

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation have issued final guidance on sound risk management practices for concentrations in commercial real estate lending. The guidance is intended to help ensure that institutions pursuing a significant commercial real estate lending strategy remain healthy and profitable while continuing to serve the credit needs of their communities.

The agencies have observed that commercial real estate is an area in which some banks are becoming increasingly concentrated. This trend is particularly evident among small- to medium- sized banks that are facing strong competition in other business lines. The agencies support banks serving a vital role in their communities by supplying credit for business and real estate development. However, the agencies are concerned that rising commercial real estate loan concentrations may expose institutions to unanticipated earnings and capital volatility in the event of adverse changes in commercial real estate markets.

The final Interagency Guidance on Concentrations in Commercial Real Estate Lending (CRE), Sound Risk Management Practices reminds institutions that strong risk management practices and appropriate levels of capital are important elements of a sound lending program, particularly when an institution has a concentration in commercial real estate loans. The final guidance reinforces and enhances existing regulations and guidelines for safe and sound real estate lending. The guidance provides supervisory criteria, including numerical indicators to assist in identifying institutions with potentially significant CRE loan concentrations that may warrant greater supervisory scrutiny. These criteria do not constitute limits on CRE lending.

Press release OFFSITE
SR 07-01 January 4, 2007 OFFSITE

Public Information
(212) 720-6130